An app designed to help students find study spaces on campus.
Students do not know where most study spaces on campus are or how to find them, resulting in overcrowding of the main libraries and underutilization of other spaces.
StudySpot is an app that enables students to find study spaces that meet their needs. At a glance, they can see the location of spaces on campus, noise-level and amenity information, and estimated occupancy levels based on our QR code check-in system.
User Research, Research Analysis, Ideation, Low & Medium Fidelity Prototyping, Storyboarding, Usability Testing
From our observation of students working on uncomfortable benches while other spaces remain vacant, we focused on the Access for Every Student theme, specifically how students use study spaces.
With a problem space in mind, we wanted to investigate what issues students are currently having by creating a survey and conducting interviews.
We used convenience sampling to find survey and interview participants since the target user group was our fellow students.
We performed quantitative analysis on our survey data and organized our qualitative data into an affinity diagram.We initially assumed the main problem would be related to booking study spaces, but the biggest issue was finding spaces that meet students’ specific needs.
Study spaces are used for a variety of activities (group work, individual activities, online class, etc.)
Commuters and students who live close to campus face similar issues
28/38 of students who use bookable spaces dislike the process
It is hard to locate information about study spaces 59/68 respondents use study spaces
Using the information from our survey and interviews, we created a persona called Seth the Studious, a Master’s Student who needs to study on campus.
In reference to our early observations, our driving question became: How can Seth avoid studying on a bench?
Empathy Map & As-Is Experience Map
With Seth created, we organized his quotes, thoughts, feelings, and actions into an empathy map, based on the information we gathered from our research.
His thoughts, feelings, and actions were then mapped onto an As-Is Scenario and each team member voted (represented by the pink dots) to identify the main pain points we wanted to focus on.
Once we voted on which parts of Seth’s current scenario are most important to focus on, we developed Needs Statements that our solution must address to be considered successful.
With Seth’s needs in mind, we came up with some big ideas, grouped them by theme, and voted on how impactful and feasible each theme would be to identify the ones we wanted to move forward with.
Finalized Key Ideas:
Ability to filter by amenity
Map of study spaces
Quiet level information
Prototyping & Lean Usability Testing
With our key ideas in mind, each group member drew their own low-fidelity prototype. Then, I synthesized our ideas into a single prototype for usability testing and helped arrange it into a storyboard.
To evaluate the design, we conducted lean usability testing with 4 University of Toronto Students.
There should be a home screen before users see the map
The labels for certain buttons, icons, and filters were not clear
Users should be notified if a space fills up while they are on their way to it
Medium Fidelity Prototype
With the feedback from usability testing, we iterated and improved our design, using Balsamiq to create a medium-fidelity prototype.
Medium Fidelity Prototype
For further testing and review, I created a storyboard for our prototype and made each of the flows fully clickable
We conducted one final round of usability testing. Seven University of Toronto students were given the following prompts and asked to verbalize their thought processes while we observed them navigate the clickable prototype:
How would you find a walk-in study space in the Bahen Building?
How you would book a room at the Robarts Library?
Having arrived at the space, you see a QR code on the desk. How would you check in?
We followed the observation with a short interview.
We asked participants to rate the usefulness and how easy the app is to use on a five-star scale.
Overview of Constructive Feedback
Finally, we used the results of our evaluation to identify areas of improvement that we would address in the next iteration of the design and assigned severity levels.
Technology beyond QR codes to enable real-time availability metrics
Engage other stakeholders to get buy-in
Libraries and managers of other study spaces
Continue to improve functionality
Improve usability of ‘Set as Destination’ button
Create high fidelity-prototype
Conduct In Situ usability testing
See how likely people are to use the QR code system
Reflecting on my work, if I were to complete this project again, I would want to put greater emphasis on evaluating the QR code system in our usability testing. Getting more input from users on whether or not they think they would use the system, or what type of incentive could be built into the app to encourage them to scan the QR codes would have been useful and made our user-centred design more robust.