student.society: Browse, Search, Propose.          —          User Experience + Information Visualization          —          January 2019: 5-Day Design Challenge


Using social media itself as a collaborative, participatory

design system for participants to search and propose student organizations. 

The Challenge


A new school year is approaching and the orientation team is looking to you for some design expertise. Design an experience for new students to browse, search, and propose new student organizations.

Initial Design Thinking


Defining My Scope

Thinking about how to improve my own university's student

organization system helped me narrow my scope. 

Designing for the University of Washington (UW)'s Registered Student Organization (RSO) system would allow me to collect data from students 

in my own community. 


My design will address the accessibility and engagement of RSOs among new students. Through my scope, I want to gain an understanding of how RSOs are 

perceived and integrated into UW student life, using empathetic research 

findings to shape my design choices.

Target Users

  • New students looking to get involved on campus 

  • Students with difficulty finding RSO's relevant to their interests

  • Students who want to pitch ideas and potentially start new RSO's

Research Methodology

Since I will be designing for a diverse student base, I want to make sure I use 

research methods that would help me collect insightful data to find patterns and trends. Utilizing relevant research methods allows me to empathize with 

college students by providing me with a clear understanding of their wants

and needs. 

These considerations lead me to pose the following questions:

  • "How can the RSO search experience be improved to promote 
    engagement in the broader UW community?"


  • "How can my design help students find relevant opportunities 
    within such a large database?"

Within the context of my design challenge, scope, and research questions,

I decided the questionnaire research method would be an efficient way to

gather opinions around finding & founding student organizations on campus. 

Scope Diagram v3-01.png

Research, Findings & Insights


I developed a specific set of questions to collect qualitative data to gain participant input on RSO's at the UW. These questionnaires were given to relatively new UW students to fill out anonymously. I received a total of 344 responses from 58 different UW students which I will organize to gain insight on which issues to address with my design. I deliberately wrote short answer questions for a more conversational approach, seeking to gain an organic understanding of participant input.


I sorted and categorized every response I received during my data collection process and used this data to create information visualizations to help develop a problem statement to design for.

Student Society Information Visualizatio

The Problem


Being a leader of a student organization myself, I've experienced the difficulties and 

confusions students undergo when attempting to browse, search, or establish organizations. There is a need for a new streamlined and efficient search experience to increase RSO engagement and awareness.


Not only is it relevant to improve efficiency and promote student engagement, it is important to study how RSOs are perceived and integrated into UW student life and using these 

findings to shape my design choices. Through my research, it is evident that the success of student organizations is impacted by social and environmental factors that are often overlooked. Organization leaders need to pay more attention to how they can create a community in which their members would strive and be able to create meaningful relationships. How can I design a personalized platform that will help a student find the organization that best fits them?

"new students struggle to...

...find a fitting community."

Ideation w/ Affinity Diagramming


I used affinity diagramming to help ideate ways to address my problem statement using the insights I gained from my research.

This diagramming exercise helped me come up with ideas and consider the benefits and limitations of them. I realized I wanted to design a social experience where new students could meet organization representatives to help find the right community as well as a social collaboration process in which student propose and vote for ideas that then can become a reality.


The Solution


My research suggests that successful organizations are well-designed communities. 

My solution is a personalized, social media platform strictly for the purposes of helping

new students find a community they are happy with.


Students will be able to search based on their interests and message club representatives to gain a feel for the community and clear up any questions they may have. Students are also able to pitch in new ideas for potential RSO's while other students can upvote the idea. If the popularity of the student's idea reaches a certain height and there is a large enough potential member base, the process of registering the student organization is then begun and all students that have expressed interest will receive notifications. At this point, interested students undergo a design sprint as a team, using the concepts of participatory design to collaborate and get the organization up and running.

Evidently, there are multifaceted problems to design for in this challenge.

Given the time restriction of my challenge, I will address the following in my design solution:​

  • How to personalize the search experience and make it less daunting

  • How to build a relationship between new students and representatives from prospective organizations

  • How to propose, crowdsource, and collaboratively build a student organization

"a personalized, social media platform...

...helping new students find a community"

Wireframing + User Flows

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Final Screens-03.png

Defined the onboarding, search, propose, and personalization

experiences depicted by medium fidelity wireframing.

Final Screens-01.png

Final Design

Next Steps:

After reflecting upon my 5-day project, I learned that research fuels insights that are critical to concept development. I strive to give as much, if not more attention to research practices in my process than the aesthetic realization of my project.

If I were to revisit this project, I would further refine the interface as well as conduct A/B testing and technology probes to measure the impact of my design system and deem whether or not it succeeds in the context of the environment. With new insights from this data, I can make proper improvements to my design.



  • RSO Search Experience

  • Feed for Upvoting Organization Propositions

  • Incorporation of Messaging Representatives

  • Filtering Menu Bar(s)

  • Personalization Feature

  • Synced Calendar Platform

  • Dynamic Scheduling

  • Discover Pages for RSO's

Interaction Specifications:

Left/Right swiping gestures to switch filters, Top/Down swiping gestures to scroll feed.

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Student Society Moodboard-01.png
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SS tilt.png

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