Helping college students share and receive real time information about dining halls.

5 min read






Nov - Dec 2021

Solo Project
Digital Product Design Course

Pivotal Tracker

UX Research
UX Design


The Problem

College students suffer from daily disappointments in the dining halls - long wait times, not enough space, certain food options and appliances unavailable, poor food choices.

As a college student, I have noticed my friends lose precious time in long queues at the dining halls and expressing frustration for dining hall shortcomings. Currently they gain information about dining halls through in-person conversations and applications only capable of showing the dining hall menus.
Problem with these methods are:
• Limited information and non comprehensive
• Difficulty in planning
• Inconvenience in terms of long queues
• Lack of feedback loop for students to voice their concerns or suggestions directly to the dining hall management
• Limited customization

The Solution

Real time dining hall information from other college students

The Approach




Leap of Faith Experiment
User Interviews

User Persona
Product Goals

Solution Wireframes
Improvements post testing + feedback

Leap of Faith Experiment

College students spend an average of 40 mins per day waiting to enter dining halls.

I observed the number of students standing in lines at particular times for breakfast, lunch and dinner outside dining halls and recorded the approximate time spent by each student in the waiting line. This confirmed my assumption that most college students spent a large chunk of their time in waiting to enter the dining hall and solving this problem would greatly improve their experience.

User Interviews

70% of interviewees claimed they would rather eat out than engage in the time-consuming and disappointing process of eating at dining halls.

Although most college students purchase meal plans, a large majority of them would rather spend their money on other forms of nourishment than engage in the time-consuming and disappointing process of eating at the dining halls. To further drill down into the specific aspects of the dining hall experience, I asked the following questions to 10 college students.

1. How often do you visit the dining hall in a week?
2. Could you tell me about your daily experience of eating at the dining halls?
3. What is your least favorite and most favorite part about eating at the dining hall?
4. How do you think this experience could be improved?
5. How much time do you think you spend in this experience?


User Persona

Product Goals

Improvements post testing + feedback

Usability testing with 7 other college students and feedback from my mentor helped me progressively iterate on my designs and finally make 2 major improvements

What did I learn?

1. Do not be afraid to test, understand failures, redesign and iterate: showing my work to other college students when testing required me to be extremely vulnerable with something I had worked on for a long time. However, I soon realized the essential goal of the product was to help them and the feedback could only help improve the app's usability and redirect it towards an even better solution.

2. Focus on researching not assuming: being a college student I did often tend to rely on my assumptions when defining the problem and ideating solutions. Yet, I realized that researching whether these assumptions held true beyond my personal experience helped substantiate my product ideas.  

3. Simplicity is key: This was my first ever design project. A design principle that helped guide all my design decisions was to keep it as simple as possible. Whenever I thought there were too many interactions, too much clutter and not enough white space, I would try to remove the noise and focus on what was the most important to solving the user's problem. If the element did not serve in solving the user's problem, it did not belong on the screen.