Navigating Study Spaces — a UX case study

View on Medium >


This is a user experience case study based on my experiences of designing a concept platform for students to navigate study spaces. I was the team lead on the project within a team of engineering and psychology students. Everyone worked on the project, my most notable parts were developing the user flow, lo-fi and hi-fi designs. These opinions are my own and may not reflect the opinions of other members.


Google Forms Survey

For this project we conducted many forms of research, we conducted a broad multiple choice survey online, which you can see here: Survey


The last question was a written response where users could write down the struggles they’ve had finding a good study space which was useful in identifying common pain points users had. These questions helped us to identify what areas we wanted to discuss with users in our user interviews.

User Interviews

We conducted user interviews, discussing how the user would select a study environment, their past experiences and what information they thought would be useful to help them decide on a study space.

We were able to conduct 4 lengthy user interviews within the user's study environment:

Job Stories

We tested two tools so that all members of our group had a common idea of the user's goals and motivations. We used Clay Christensen’s job framework based on situation, motivation and outcome. Framing “every design problem in a Job, focusing on the triggering event or situation, the motivation and goal, and the intended outcome”.

  1. When I’m looking for a study location, I want to find a place that suits my needs quickly, so that I can increase my productivity & so that I don’t have to spend ages looking for a location.
  2. When I study in the ADM building, I want to know the peak times, so that I can plan ahead.
  3. When I’m looking for a study location, I want to know how crowded it will be, so that I can tell if there will be space for me there.
  4. When I’m working on a group project, I want to find a place that suits everyone’s needs, so that it’s fair for all.

Empathy Mapping

After a visit to IBM iX Singapore, we conducted empathy mapping using IBM’s toolkit. We used our knowledge of our user observations to write down what they would say, do, think and feel.



Overall both tools worked well with the consensus within the group being that it’s down to personal preference which one they would rather use in the future. Currently, I lean more towards using job stories as being able to read a sentence out clearly helps me to understand and remember the points better.

Pain Points

From the research we conducted we determined the most important pain points within the user's journey to identify and select study spaces which are:


MVP Features


To gain an indication of how busy a study location is the google maps popular time data can be used. To discover new study spaces the community can constantly add new locations they find to our database and filter all study spaces to find something that meets their needs. To find information on what amenities are within a study location users can view the study location page which is constantly updated by the users and to find an area suitable for group study the user can apply the group study filter. Our ideation was inspired by digital platforms that thrive on interaction from other users like Waze and Wikipedia.

Account Creation

The initial step is the account creation where we ask the user for the following data:

The data that is supplied by the user, where they study and what they study can be used to further understand the study patterns of students within that department to improve the overall experience. By determining where students within different degrees study we can provide thoughtful recommendations to the user. The user selects how far they are generally willing to travel and will set their general filter preferences including the amenities, seating and location types they prefer. These preferences are saved and are always applied unless the user changes this.

Location Selection

The location selection screen shows a users current location and offers a list view and a map view of potential study spaces based on the general filter preferences that the user selected in the account creation. The study spaces name, location type, crowdedness level now and predicted, star rating and distance roughly in km is displayed with an image.

Results list & map view

The bottom bar can be pulled out showing the filters available, the user can reset the filters to their general account preferences and can clear all filters applied. The location filter is used to determine if the user is looking for a study space at their current location, a location they’re going to be or a location anywhere en route to a destination, for example, if a user would like to study somewhere on their way to or from their university campus. The time filter is used to determine what study locations will be open. The distance filter is used to determine how far the user is willing to travel. The amenities filter is used to determine what amenities the user would like including, wifi, power access and whether the location is suitable for group study etc. The seating type filter is used to select seating options that they would like available. The location filter is used to determine the type of location the user would like to study in like an educational institution, cafe and park etc.


Study Space Page

The study space page displays the location type, name, multiple images of the space, a small about section, reviews, distance, crowdedness, opening hours, amenities, seating type and user reviews. We wanted our application to focus on community engagement and interactivity, there’s a button which anonymously asks another user who is currently at the study space whether there is room. There’s also a map view showing the location of the study space in relation to the user.

Study space screens

Community Interaction

The community interaction is further supplemented through adding reviews, update page information and reporting issues. The report issue button provides the user with a channel to report an issue within the study space to the location owner or caretaker, for example, if there is a plug socket not working, a desk broken or suggestion to be made. The update information allows the user to update the page information if new amenities are added or amenities are removed or not provided. Through my testing, I found users wanted to add information like the wifi password or the number of plug sockets to the study space page. The app also relies on users to add their own new study locations, filling in the name, address, amenities and photo prior to submitting for review.

Add review, update or report issue


Determining group study areas can be done by applying the group study filter. However, we think more can be done in this area and aim to develop this further.


Thanks for reading!

Additional Group Members

Akshat Khanna, Alice Rosberg, James Burgess and Martin Lunde

Made with 🤍 + 🍺 + 

Email   Medium   LinkedIn   Résumé