Overview

Waycorn is smart navigation app that helps U of T students customize their wayfinding experience on campus by understanding campus specific knowledge, tapping into the student body’s co-intelligence, and making use of indoor routes and shortcuts, Waycorn aims to improve the student experience.

Just here to see pretty pics and highlights? 👀

My Role

UX Design

Team

Cody Foo, Menghan Wang, Michelle Yuan

Tools Used

Balsamiq, Figma

Timeline

2 Months

The Problem

The University of Toronto has hundreds of buildings across its campuses. The St. George Campus alone is made up of over 120 different buildings spread across an urban landscape. This can make navigating around the campus and between the campus difficult for new students, make it hard in the harsh winter environment that plays out over the majority of the regular school year, and confusing when every building has different codes and building names listed on signage and on new syllabi each semester.

How might we improve navigation and wayfinding across the U of T St. George Campus?

Project Process

⬛ Hover over a square for more details

Discovery

Interviews

Our team conducted user interviews with 9 UTSG students from different faculties and programs as well as both new and returning students, with the goal of finding out more information about the ways in which representative users travel across campus.

These informal interviews asked students broad questions about the nature of their schedules, the proximity of their classes, their understanding of campus layout overall and number scenario questions.

We asked users to show us how they might go about navigating to a building unfamiliar to them, how they might avoid inclement weather, and if they would be willing to adopt a new shortcut to arrive to class faster.

“I just get turned around a lot when trying to go through buildings and just end up getting lost.”
Yeah, cause in the Winter, I’m not walking outside, you know? It’s too cold.”

Surveys

In combination with our user interviews we conducted an online survey of U of T students receiving 36 responses from UTSG students across 8 different faculties, varying from first year students to masters students.

Student showing shortcut

Slight majority are using shortcuts

Most students, especially those outside of their first year, already used some form of shortcut when navigating around campus.

Proof the Information Exists 🔎ℹ️

Those that don’t know, want to

Students who reported not using shortcuts, desired to, but didn’t know of any and wanted to learn.

Information Gap to be bridged 🌉

Students sharing their knowledge

Those with shortcuts willing to share

Of the students who did know shortcuts, 77% were willing to share their shortcuts with other students.

Collective Knowledge that can be tapped 🧠

Additional Notes

  • 100% of survey and interview of respondents noted walking as their main mode of transportation within campus.
  • Students rated the ease of navigating campus a 3.5/5 with many complaining that on a campus of over 100 buildings building codes can be confusing, and the leading wayfinding solution Google Maps, doesn’t understand them.
Affinity diagram from user research

Project Objectives

01 / Wayfinding on Campus

Improve the wayfinding experience for students on campus.

02 / Aggregate Information

Using reviews and usage data, build a knowledge base of quality tested wayfinding information.

Empathizing

From information learned in our user research we curated our findings first into a proto-persona and then a persona. The persona we created, Walking Wally is a first year international student beginning his second second semester at University of Toronto’s St. George Campus. He currently uses Google Maps to get to unfamiliar places but wants to learn and feel knowledgeble about campus and explore more even though he’s a commuter student. As an international student coming from a warmer climate, he doesn’t like cold weather and would enjoy staying out of the snow.

Walking Wally Persona

Persona

We also created an empathy map that notes what Wally would say, think, do, and feel while walking across campus and an as-is scenario to visualize a day in Wally’s life. This helped us identify places in Wally’s story where an intervention might be able to positively impact him.

Ideation

Big Ideas

With Wally’s story in mind, we engaged in a session of brainstorming that included converging and diverging several times. Our team came up with about 40 ideas which was later brought down to about the 20, and then again brought down to 10. By removing ideas that were not right for the solution, and amalgamating ideas that were very similar like those relating to signage and signalling what’s around, we were able to trim to a much more workable number.

Prioritization

In combination with the pricing cards’ glanceablity, the full table of benefits displayed a comparative chart of benefits where visually each tier builds off of the last to show the increased benefits of higher tiers. It also provides descriptions of the concise benefit copy used in the pricing cards.

The full table allows users to dive deeper into the benefits and tiers should they choose too but remains collapsed until clicked as to not overwhelm users.

To-Be Scenario

In combination with the pricing cards’ glanceablity, the full table of benefits displayed a comparative chart of benefits where visually each tier builds off of the last to show the increased benefits of higher tiers. It also provides descriptions of the concise benefit copy used in the pricing cards.

The full table allows users to dive deeper into the benefits and tiers should they choose too but remains collapsed until clicked as to not overwhelm users.

Waycorn To-Be Scenario

User Stories

As a method of aligning our goals moving forward, we wrote 4 user stories. Each of these statements of intent include a who (the specific user or type of user), a what (a specific user enablement), and a wow (a specific unique value statement for that user).

1

Wally can navigate across campus by using only a U of T building code and room number.

2

Wally can know where he is on campus and find nearby shortcuts and facilities within 5 seconds of opening the app.

3

Wally knows that he can confidently choose a route with a high rating and get to his destination on time and without getting lost.

4

Wally can enjoy his walk because weather is never an issue.

Prototyping & Evaluation

Lo-Fi Prototype

Using the ideas we focused on, we storyboarded Wally’s journey travelling from where he gets off the subway at Queens Park station, to his destination of class BA1180 in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. We then created a low fidelity paper prototype using our ideas.

Waycorn Lo-Fi Sequential Storyboard

*Click the image to enlarge

Guerilla User Testing with students

We conducted user testing with 4 representative users who we guided through our proposed user flow.

Likes

We conducted user testing with 4 representative users who we guided through our proposed user flow. Every participant we tested with found that this app would be useful to them and addressed the problem we were looking to solve.

  • Being able to see what’s around them on the map home screen.

  • Having the ability to see multiple routes to their destination.

  • Seeing photos to help with tricky navigation spots

  • Being able to quickly review why they liked a route

Feedback

Users liked the app overall but noted some feature that could be improved upon, or that didn’t make sense to them. After coming back together and discussing as a team, we considered solutions to our lo-fi storyboard that could improve these issues:

Mid-Fi Prototype

We created a mid-fidelity prototype in Balsamiq that follows the same happy path flow from the Lo-Fi Storyboard and integrating changes based on feedback from users.

Waycorn Mid-Fi Sequential Storyboard

*Click the image to enlarge

Usability Testing & Heuristic Evaluation

We conducted usability testing with 4 new representative users who we guided through our proposed user flow, as well as with senior UX professionals. After compiling the findings and reconvening as a group, we looked for ways to improve the experience noted below:

Hi-Fi Prototype

Using the feedback from the last round of testing above, we created a high-fidelity storyboard as well as mockup in Figma.

Waycorn Hi-Fi Sequential Storyboard

*Click the image to enlarge

Key Lessons

How to use nearly wrench hammer and screwdriver in the toolbox

Of course this project, was not every, wrench hammer and screwdriver in the toolkit but this project was a student project meant to get us comfortable with the various tools in a UX designer’s toolbox, get us acquainted with agile methodology, and how to design a product with users at its core.

We used even more than were described here and and there are still many more tooks we didn’t involve, but part part of being an effective designer is knowing when and where to use the correct tools for the job, which I aim to perfect in additional projects in the future.

Storytelling as a core tenet of UX design

This project taught me just how valuable storytelling is from start to finish in UX. It’s incredibly effective as a way of identifying issues and areas of improvement in user research talking to users and hearing their stories, as well as empathizing with users and identifying opportunities for improvement through storyboarding and as-is and to-be scenarios. It also ties in incredibly well as a way of thinking through processes when prototyping solutions.

Finally, when done correctly, it’s especially effective in persuasion when pitching a product and helped us win over stakeholders at the Innovation Hub.

Related Projects

A rapid pivot of our initial IO digital strategy, membership tiers and membership sign up flow with only few weeks prior to our upcoming membership drive.

A material design UI Design exercise aimed at fostering urban connectedness allowing users browse, review and enhance trips by putting their geo-location to use.