UX Design Project

Level 3: Exploring your own idea
App: StudyCan — an app to connect users to their desired institutions


We are living in the age of connectivity; there are many different apps that connect exactly to what you want right at your fingertips. As a marketing coordinator at a private college, I have attended many student recruitment trips around the world. Often I found myself having to answering similar questions about institutions. The most common questions that I get asked are what is the Canadian lifestyle? Where exactly is Vancouver? What are the top institutions in Canada?

Canada is one of the top five destinations to study abroad. Parents and students are often scrambling to look for information online. Sometime this process can be really difficult and frustrating because there is an overload of information online and it is hard to know where to start or what to look for. Also, information obtained on internet might not be verified or credible. Therefore, wouldn’t it be great if there is an app that can make the process simpler?

StudyCan is an app that combines all the necessary information to provide a one-stop search platform for those who are considering studying abroad in Canada as well as to connect the audience to their desired institution.

Target market

The target audience for this app is for parents and students who are interested in studying in Canada. By using this app, they will reduce many hours of researching online. It will provide efficiency in the searching process and could potentially help them narrow down to their desired institution.


Google form link: https://goo.gl/forms/5QiJby5XiKHJHonT2
Survey responses: 49


Interview conducted: 6

  • 4 international students (age between 16–27)
  • 2 parents (age 49 and 54)

Through the survey responses and interviews conducted, I have discovered some interesting outcomes. For example, initially I thought students or parents would care about the ranking of the institutions. However, 0 out of 6 interviewers show no interest in the rankings. In fact, the audience focuses more attention to campus facility and safety of the institution. The results have changed my decision on some of the design aspects as well as focuses for the app. It is very interesting to hear different ideas coming from different people. Sometime you just need another pair of eyes from the outside to look into the problem to discover new ideas.

Overall, the survey results are important as it demonstrates which user features are critical in the development of the application. Furthermore, the results can distinguish what are the must haves as well as not needed features to implement into the application.

Must have features:

  • Recommendations
  • Sharing feature (pictures)
  • Reviews
  • Ratings
  • Location/map
  • Save to favorite (save institution to your favorite)
  • Institution profile

Maybe features:

  • Live chat
  • Nearby institutions
  • News & updates, events, open house (what’s happening nearby)
  • Apply directly from the app
  • Categorize student population
  • Categorize campus size
  • Recently viewed

Not Needed:

  • 360 degree campus map
  • Live video

Affinity Diagram

I have combined similar answers together from the survey and interview responses. Also the diagram uses different colour codes to categorize the results.


I have constructed two personas based on the results of my survey and interviews. My primary persona is Li Chen Chen from Shanghai, China with a wealthy family background. For brighter future, her parents had made the decision to send her off to study abroad in Canada.

My secondary persona is Linda Chan, a working mom with high academics expectations from her son. She tends to be overly protective and she wants nothing but the best for her child.

User flow

My initial thought of the user flow is simple, I envisioned to be one straight line going downward. However, as you start drawing the process, there are different paths and options to consider. Eventually it becomes a complex spider web with paths spreading left and right.

As the flow chart grew in size, I realized that I would need to eliminate steps and focus on the target user needs. Eventually I came up with a simpler user flow (See below).


Usability testing

I have did two usability test which focuses on the user learnability to accomplish basic tasks and user satisifcation. For example, users wanted to share school information but the share button on my app was not clear to some users. Also the usability testing showed that not only a pretty interface is important but the navigation and information that assist the user in completing a specific task is crucial. Once the various tasks were established the original wireframe was adjusted for graphics, spacing and layout.


Prototype link: https://invis.io/BKEAQ60Y3#/262094433_Mobile_Copy_7


Overall the whole journey has been an eye opening experience for me. I have learned to never assume things. Instead, gather as much data as possible because reality is often different from your assumptions. Also, the more research data and user testing you have conducted, the easier your design choice will be. Design choices should be backed up by actual data and not just to look pretty on an app. Furthermore throughout the research process, I have realized that there will never be a definite answer to your design choices. The reason for that is because every user has different needs and wants. Therefore, we just need to focus on our target users and based our decisions on the majority preference. In conclusion, UX is slightly different from what I have imagined it to be. It requires a lot of research and data analysis. It has changed the way I look at apps. It has made me appreciate every design aspect in an app because a simple button could be backed up by a lot data analysis.

Any other thoughts/comments.

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