A video conferencing platform that helps college students form social relationships with other students like them based on their interests without disclosing their identity. 


For this particular project, we wanted to explore the area of hybrid collaboration. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of students have been restricted to their homes and spend little time socialising outside of their homes. Thus, the team decided to concentrate on these three categories based on our initial research to ensure that we maximise the time we spent while researching about the problem. 

Promoting Engagement

Building Community

Accomodating our learners



Research Goal

To gain familiarity with the social context being studied to better understand our users needs and goals when they want to collaborate with other users online. 


What are the user goals and expectations as they are talking and interacting with users?

How are users currently using collaborating with other users in an online setting?

What are the user perceptions and behaviors when navigating through collaborative platforms?

Methodology & Procedure

Conducting Interviews

  • 8 participants
  • 30 min sessions
  • Online via Zoom


  • Students living in the Bay Area. 
  • 3 participants had hearing and learning disabilities.
  • Had used collaborative learning platforms before such as Zoom etc

My Role

Process & Challenges

Encouraging Collaboration between team members

Since we had a shorter duration of time to conduct our interviews and present our findings, we wanted to ensure that we got some actionable insights for the team to work on. Thus, we divided our interviews among the members of the group after making a protocol and decided to take turns when moderating sessions to ensure better productivity. 

Providing accomodations to diverse participants

Some of our participants had to be provided accomodations to ensure that they could communicate with us better. One of the participants pointed out that Zoom does not convert audio to text correctly for her and so she would prefer using Google Meet so she could read the subtitles as she was a hard-of-hearing individual. Thus, we realised the problems faced by our participants very early on before even conducting the interviews. 

Initial Findings

Disabled members of the community had to do extra work to use existing platforms

Many of the participants complained that they sometimes have to use other audio to text converter platforms and also feel distracted when talking to their classmates online. Overall, there was a need for a platform that would provide more efficient means of connecting with individuals and supporting the diversity of users. 

Some of the group members felt that the results that we were getting were due to our targetted population and so we added some participants that were from different backgrounds to ensure our findings were accurate

We ended up conducting more interviews and so even though we had initially wanted to conduct interviews with six participants, our total interviews reached to 8 participants. This addition helped us get a diverse perspective on the needs and expectations of our participants. 

Impact & Results

Based on the interviews, our team brainstormed the sessions to get actionable insights

We visualized the needs, expectations and goals the users had while using the platform through an empathy map so we could get a deeper understanding of our users before grouping the information into themes

Our insights revealed these themes which provided some key design insights to the team

Participants with disabilities had to spent extra effort to communicate over these platforms

Younger participants had a harder time navigating through the platforms they have used before

Some participants emphasized the need of other means of connecting with their friends apart from video

Based on our insights, the team was provided with design recommendations 

Adding captions to the voiceovers throughout the platform. 

Providing an easy tour so users are familiar with the interface.

Adding activities and games for users to play apart from video. 

Our low fidelity prototype was then designed with the following features which were tested in the consequent iteration

  1. Choosing avatars after a video walkthrough of the game
  2. Joining room with participants based on interests 
  3. Playing games and watching movies with other users

Testing of the low fidelity prototype

Research Goal

To evaluate whether or not the low fidelity prototype aligns with users’ current behavior and expectations to provide recommendations before building the high fidelity prototype. 


What are the goals when collaborating with other users online?

How easy or difficult is it for users to interact with the prototype?

What features are not easily discoverable for the users?

My Role

Process & Challenges

Participant Recruitment

We recruited 5 participants from different backgrounds and interests by posting over LinkedIn. We drafted a survey to shortlist participants and then sent a calendly invite to them to book the sessions. When we were closer to the testing day, I sent out an email with instructions and consent form that they signed before participating in the session. 

Participant Demographics

Past and current students during the Covid-19 pandemic

Had mixed experience with collaborative platforms online

Residing in the United States across different states

Procedure and Methodology

Moderated Usability Testing Study

The study was conducted over Zoom where the participants were provided a link to the prototype and asked to screenshare so that I was able to see their actions. They were also asked to think aloud as they interacted with the prototype as it was a remote testing session. The participants were then provided with a series of tasks that they completed. The time taken for each task was recorded to evaluate the prototype. Towards the end of the tasks, the participants were asked to provide overall feedback and final thoughts.

Note: Some of the tasks were not completely working such as the Chatroom where users could interact with other users and so we used the Wizard of Oz technique for that part where one of our team mates pretended to talk to the participant when they clicked on the link. 


Collecting data from each tasks on paper

During each interview, two team members collected data based on the time that the participants spent on each tasks. Moreover, they also collected data based on the problems that they faced as they completed each task. 

Initial Findings

Time spent on each clicks

We provided the participants with three tasks based on our features and measured the time taken for them to complete them. We measured the mean and standard deviation to compare the time between the three tasks.

Task 1: Customize the avatar based on your liking 

Task 2: Join a room based on your interests to talk to other users

Task 3: Watch TV Shows & Play games together

The findings revealed that watching shows and games took the lowest time followed by choosing avatars and then joining the room. This meant that joining the room that users are interested in was the least discoverable for the users as compared to the other two tasks. 

Impact & Results

Insights gained from testing sessions...


All the participants thought that the application was very easy to use and simple to navigate through. Some of the participants talked about how familiar it was to other interfaces they had seen in the past and so they could complete all the tasks in a shorter duration of time and clicks. 

Key findings gathered throughout the sessions

Some users find it overwhelming to see the number of places where they could change the avatar

Participants are confused with some content and terminologies used throughout the interface

Some participants thought the application was not appropriate for younger ages 

Design Recommendations provided to the team

Based on the feedback that was collected, the team members designed the high fidelity prototype that was presented at the Expo later to our esteemed panelists from different industries. 

Adding instructions below the terminologies to lower the learning curve for the users and make it more intutive

Ensuring the application is more user friendly by providing an intuitive microphone and collapsible button

Have fewer places where the avatar choosing option exists and limiting the options users have when choosing them

Based on the suggestions, the design team built a high fidelity working prototype

Based on the feedback that was collected, the team members designed the high fidelity prototype that was presented at the Expo later to our esteemed panelists from different industries. 

Expo Day

We demonstrated our idea on the expo in front of judges from Microsoft and won an award for the best demo! 

Learnings & Next Steps

  • Continue our learning experience after Budsies by further testing it and deploying it on the App Store. 
  • We learned that it was critical to gather feedback from our users for the prototype and further testing would reveal more insights that could be incorporated. 
  • Currently, our prototype does not have voice embedded and future work could help incorporating that for a better user experience.

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