Spot On Prototype

Spot On

A college app that makes it easy to find a place to study during peak exam times

My Role
Product Designer
Researcher
Project
Educational App
Redesign
Timeline
7 Months (2023)
Tools
Figma, Qualdratics, Maze


Today, many students find it difficult to find places to study on campus during peak exam times. It can be a challenge to be disrupted from your normal flow and have your favorite spots taken.

Our goal is to help students feel empowered by letting nothing get in the way of studying. This app will provide tools such as a studying with friends, reserving spaces (such as labs, business rooms, audio rooms etc), and inputting live feedback. By reserving a spot and giving feedback, you are rewarded with points (Studybucks) to get a campus coffee.

View prototype here.

Reserve a quiet place to study

  • See what places are taken when searching the map
  • Schedule ahead of time to lighten the mental load
  • Study with friends while holding them accountable

Give real-time feedback

  • Input factors of current study location to notify current and future students
  • Feedback will change over time when students have specific requests
  • Information and trends come directly from students

Earn rewards for studying

  • Reward yourself with a beverage by studying with or without friends
  • Use rewards for on campus or off campus partners such as local coffee shops
  • Scan QR code with campus partners for easy transfer

This is an exciting implementation on imagining how college students can secure their favorite study spot with ease, without worrying if they will have time to study.

The Issue

What are we really looking at?

Looking back on when I first created the concept with two other students, we had a lot of great ideas starting out, but they weren’t nearly finished. Spot On has three main functions: feedback, map, and reserve.


After understanding the app lacks navigation labels, fully thought out flows, and general context, it was time to take it into my own hands again.

I took to testing 10 users between the ages of 18-23 and in college, on Maze, for the old design.

Notable usability testing insights:

Out of 10 students, 100% of were unable to make a reservation

Out of 10 students, 50%
of could give feedback successfully

The User

I decided to go to Facebook with a survey for High Point University Alumni to determine how past peers’ habits impacted their studying.

This data is based on these open ended questions:

Popular Locations

Study Habits

Study Spots During Midterms and Finals

Key Takeways so far:

I decided to go to Facebook with a survey for High Point University Alumni to determine how past peers’ habits impacted their studying.

The Design

I went through many iterations and flows with all of the tabs. I wanted to flush out my ideas entirely before conducting a flow to test.


Below are Feedback and Reservation iterations.

Feedback Iterations

Feedback idea 1

Visual representation of what you're choosing was the direction I was going for.

Feedback idea 2

Keeping everything on one slide while not trying to overload you was a challenge in this iteration. I kept the options as dropdowns to try to minimize mental load. I used Google Material for this iteration.

Final Idea

I finally came to this idea. Knowing to use feedback while you're currently at at your location was important to me to differentiate. I also split up the feedback options so it wasn't a lot all at once. Having an immediate snackbar with StudyBucks was important to drive incentive to receive a coffee!

Reserve Iterations

Reserve Idea 1

I took inspiration from Mobbin with reservation features. Starting to split up time, place, and details made sense to me.

Reserve Idea 2

Using Material guidelines, I had a solid structure going with place, time, and details. Working with Google/Android standards didn't make sense for my iPhone (for now) app though!

Final Idea

Finally working with iPhone standards, I was getting somewhere. Showing a list of places as well as having a search bar gives the most support. I added a calendar and iPhone features to make the flow familiar.

What the students are saying

After testing 11 college students between the ages of 18-23 on the new prototype, here’s what I found:

Out of 11 students, 70%
of could see themselves
using the app regularly

Out of 11 students, 75%
of made a reservation successfully

"If my university used the app, it's a super convenient way to reserve study spaces"
"I am someone who takes studying very seriously, and having a nice comfortable spot that I could reserve and plan to have would be nice"
"It is convenient to book a study spot without having to go there and see if spots are taken up already. I like to go out and study."
"It would be helpful to reserve rooms throughout campus on one interface and be able to add other students to it too."
"It seems like something that could be useful for me in my academic life. I do a lot of studying when I'm in school, so this would be great to have private reserved areas with friends that is so easy to access with an app."
"I like making reservations for things so I know I'll have my own spot."

Make the books consistent

With unfamiliar features, I wanted to keep the design and UI as simple as possible. I used a font called Pally, (almost reminiscent of Comic Sans) to add more playfulness and readability.

Wait, what does this app do again?

For users to understand in the beginning how to use the app, I constructed an onboarding flow for users to get a full grasp.

Good luck on your exams!

Ultimately, I filled out the important flows so the logic makes sense for a student to use it. I have added a small quiz (coming soon) so students can connect more with each other. The quiz an archetype for the different ways students study:

Not only would this incentivize more connection, this quiz would give more insight on what factors students care about while studying that I haven’t covered in feedback.

Click for high fidelity prototype here.

Next Steps

I understand many campuses are under a lot of change, all of the time, but this app could be one more way students can take control of their schedule in their busy world. Ideally, this app could be implemented on many other college campuses!

As a designer with a strong enthusiasm for UI and learning, it was really rewarding to fill in the gaps from the first iteration. Going back to the basics, while keeping visual interest is a challenge I find exciting.

If I were to keep working on this app, I would:

What I would do differently

This is my first time going through the entire UX process! Completing and going through many iterations was eye-opening. I went through 3 different drafts of getting familiar with Figma, components, auto layout, etc.!

  1. Be more specific in your survey questions. I would have better survey insights if I asked current and previous students why they liked certain spots, or ways of studying more than others to find motivation. How students find motivation to study would be useful insight in what to focus on for the feedback feature.
  2. Narrow your scope. In the beginning, I had so many ideas, I had to narrow down what I deemed important to prioritize. Having a quiz is a great idea for user engagement, but making sure my main functions for the app work were at the top. In the next iteration!
  3. When baby steps are big steps. Having gone through the whole UX process, I would spend less time trying to make my wireframes perfect until the final prototypes and testing. Getting all of the ideas flushed out, written and drawn, prioritizing and continually testing is the way to go.
  4. Test more and test often. I wish I had tested more of my iterations going through Google Material Design, from more grayscale wireframes and flows. I was unable to due to time constraints and budget. I would improve the map feature with multiple iterations and conducting usability testing.
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