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UGroups - UX Mobile Design Final

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Project Overview:

We applied Lean UX to design UGroups: an application that showcases extracurricular groups, events, and organizations on campus. UGroups is a mobile application that allows University of Toronto students to find, join, and manage extracurricular groups and organizations.
This project was a collaboration with The Innovation Hub at the University of Toronto.

My Role:


  • Conducted primary and secondary research 

  • Created clickable medium-fidelity prototypes

  • Evaluated design after conducting usability tests

Teammates: Belinda Hoang, Sharon Mukhi, Yung-Hsin (Cynthia) Cheng

Tools: Balsamiq, Adobe Illustrator, Figma

System: iOS

Methodologies: Surveys, Semi-Structured Interviews, Affinity Diagraming, Empathy Mapping, Persona Development, As-Is/To-Be Scenarios, Prioritization Grids, Hill Statements

The Problem:

The University of Toronto provides over 900 extracurricular groups and organizations across its three campuses; however, students only have access to an inefficient and outdated directory. As such, UofT students lack an accurate and efficient way to access extracurricular information on campus.

The Solution:

After identifying user needs and pain points, the team focused on designing a centralized resource that allows students to efficiently browse, join, and manage their extracurricular groups.

Our Process

User Research




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User Research

Due to COVID-19 moving classes online, students found themselves struggling to connect with one another. To better understand their needs, we conducted an online survey and semi-structured interview with 48 UofT students that expressed an interest in extracurriculars.

8 semi-structured interviews

40 participants for the online survey

What did we learn?

The majority of students prefer to rely on external solutions, such as social media or their peers, instead of the University's extracurricular directory (Ulife) when seeking extracurricular-related information.

Additionally, our semi-structured interviews gave us additional insight on the barriers students experience while browsing and joining extracurriculars on campus.


After forming an affinity diagram, the team identified six (6) themes within our participant responses :


  • Ulife Issues

  • Barriers of Access

  • Resources of Accessing Extracurricular Information

  • Reasons for Joining Extracurriculars

  • Expectations from Extracurricular Groups

  • Extracurricular Information Students Want

Affinity Diagram


After analyzing the results into themes using our affinity diagram, our consolidated findings revealed:

Students turn to extracurriculars to make meaningful connections with others and develop a sense of community within a large university; however, they do not know where to find reliable information about extracurriculars.

A disproportionate amount of students rely on informal sources, such as their peers and social media as alternative avenues for finding information regarding extracurriculars and how to access them.

Students found themselves feeling frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed with the process of searching for active extracurriculars using the University of Toronto's Ulife - All Campus Group directory.

We used our findings to guide the design process of our empathy map, persona, and as-is scenario. Our persona, Anita Klubb, helped us empathize with students who are passionate about extracurriculars, allowing us to develop a deeper connection within our problem space.


Meet Anita Klubb!

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Our persona and empathy map informed our As-Is Scenario that depicts Anita's current experience of joining an extracurricular group or organization on campus. Our To-Be Scenario depicts an envisioned, positive experience for Anita.


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The team generated various big and absurd ideas based on Anita's needs and pain points. We voted on our ideas based on feasibility and impact, mapping out the results on a prioritization grid to identify any potential home runs to incorporate into our design. 

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After iterating on our big and absurd ideas, we synthesized the centralized elements of the most popular ideas, resulting in our Home Run, the Campus Community Hub.


We wanted to tailor our solution to address Anita's need for an efficient resource that provides up-to-date information about extracurriculars in one central location.


The campus community hub allows students to conveniently find all extracurricular information from one centralized place without having to contact their peers or use social media.


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We started off by sketching low-fidelity wireframes, following a lean evaluation to test the usability of our solution.

Low-Fidelity Prototype

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Usability Test

We performed guerilla testing on our lo-fi sketches with two (2) first year graduate students over Zoom. Our goal was to evaluate the general usability of our wireframe and determine unmet users needs in the process of finding and joining an extracurricular group.


Participants were iOS users, and have previously expressed an interest in extracurriculars at the University of Toronto.


Three (3) tasks were given, and evaluation sessions lasted approximately 15 minutes:

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

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Usability Feedback Iterations

Based on our usability feedback, we iterated on the following features:

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'Favourites' tab > 'My Groups' tab

Participants did not recognize the 'Favourites' tab; was subsequently turned into 'My Groups' tab to enhance clarity.

Filtering system > Onboarding system

Instead of a checklist-like filter display, the team decided to create an onboarding system that asks the user to select their interests the first time they use the application, providing a more tailored experience.

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Preview description > Filtering tags

We replaced the preview description and replaced it with various filtering tags to better inform the user key information of specific groups.

Medium-Fidelity Prototype

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Evaluation & Next Steps

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We conducted a summative evaluation of our medium-fidelity prototype with three (3) undergraduate students. The evaluation involved a remote usability test to observe how representative users naturally interact with our prototype, followed by a follow-up post-test interview to further assess participant attitudes concerning the prototype and whether any tangible suggestions could be identified.

Interview questions focused on features, content breadth, and navigation.

2 out of 3 participants expressed they they found it convenient to browse and search for extracurriculars when compared to the University of Toronto's current Ulife extracurricular web-based platform.

All participants appreciated the centrality of the solution, commenting on the value of the browsing, joining, and management features our application provides.


Counterintuitive Features: Participants navigated to the 'Extracurricular Information' screen instead of using the 'Edit' button from the 'My Groups' screen, indicating the feature is not very intuitive.

Accessibility: One participant raised the concern that implemented touch targets were too difficult to click due to their small size.

Visual Redundancy: Another participant commented on the redundancy of having already joined groups appear when searching for additional extracurriculars. 

Next Steps

  1. Incorporate feedback and iterate on design to better meet the needs of our representative users (e.g., allowing for synchronization of course calendar(s) with extracurricular calendar.

  2. Conduct additional user research and develop a persona based on executive members to gain a better understanding of how extracurriculars are managed and organized.

High-Fidelity Prototype

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What I Learned:

  • Virtual Collaboration. I learned that teamwork is essential when overcoming difficult circumstances. COVID-19 has imposed limitations, forcing the team to adapt remotely. This was an insightful experience, as I was able to develop strategies with my team on how to effectively and efficiently do our work.

  • Iterate, Evaluate, Repeat. I learned to not get attached to what I design. There were moments where I believed an idea or design choice I made was perfect, despite conducting a usability test and realizing there's room for improvement. I now value feedback and criticism more so than I did before starting the project.

  • Patience and Mindfulness. It is important to be patient and mindful of participants when observing how they interact with your prototype. Looking past this initial frustration helped me solidify the mantra of UX: you are not the user. If the user/participant struggles during certain moments, that is usually indicative of weak design, which gives me an opportunity to improve and grow as a designer

  • Discovering my Passion. This was my first UX project!! A highlight of the project was conducting user research and parsing out user needs/wants as a student interested in extracurriculars. While I am still learning aesthetics and UI design, it felt very rewarding putting everything together and designing a high-fidelity prototype for the first time.

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