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Nomad helps commuter students find campus resources and events depends on their geographical location and schedule to enhance their connections with the university community.

Collaborators | Chevonne Xue (me) · Emily Gazo · Vriti Wadhwa · Kiera Woodill · Zahra Parsa 

Client | University of Toronto innovation hub

Project date | Sep 2021 - Dec 2021

My Roles | Research · Ideation · Wireframe and prototype · Usability testing · Playback video making

Our Challenge

Students who live off-campus need to spend more time commuting to the campus, limiting their time on campus and preventing them from being isolated from the university community.


Many students experience a lack of knowledge of campus resources, lack of connection with other peers, and don’t know where and how to make friends.

Our Key Findings

In order to better understand our challenge, we conducted both primary and secondary studies. We surveyed 27 and interviewed 11 U of T students who commute to school, and here’s what we found.

  ⊹ Feels isolated from peers  
  ⊹ Frustrated from getting lost on campus  
  ⊹ The constant fear of missing out due to their commuting schedule


(Click here to read our research report) 

Design Goal

Help our users make more friends and have more connections with the community

Help our users explore the campus and resources to know what to access during their commuting days.

Social Need

Physical Need


A one-stop shop for commuter students. By using Nomad, students can easily find the resources nearby, know more about the campus, and participate in events that meet their schedule. Commuter students no longer need to worry about missing out or being isolated from the community and feel more engaged in campus life.

  ☞ Try our mid-fidelity prototype (2).gif

Resource Finder

Geographical based resources finder

Users can browse by different types of resources and see what’s available nearby. When they select their desired category, they can see a list of applicable options, along with a map.

Board information

Once the user has selected the resource they’d like to visit, they see a more detailed map, and information about their destination. This includes building address and hours, and photos and reviews of the resource that other students can submit.

Social Events

Find event that fit your schedule

The user can select Events from the homepage and then browse by category or today’s events. If the user selects Today’s Events, they will see more detailed information about their options, including the time and distance from their location. They can also filter the events, for example, by time, to make sure they find the option that works best for them.

Add events to the calendar for better schedule management

Once the user has selected an event, they can see more details, including how many others are attending. They can sign up or add the event to their favorites. Once signed up, they will get a confirmation message and be able to add the event to their calendar. (2).gif (2).gif

Social Cluster

Real time social cluster

The resources tab (through the category “social clusters”), allows the user to see posted invitations that others have posted to meet up on campus, and where social clusters are active in real time.

Protect your privacy

User can also see who is on their way to the lounge or is currently at the lounge. The social cluster function allows users to either declare that they are also on their way to the social cluster or choose ghost mode if they are not interested in socializing.

Our Design Process

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Meet Our User

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... and her journey

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As-is scenario

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To-be scenario

User Testing

From Nov. 19 to Nov. 21 2021, we spoke to 3 University of Toronto students about our low-fidelity prototype.


All of our participants were long-time smartphone users who live varying distances from campus. We shared our sketches with them in a Powerpoint over Zoom and walked through the prototype with them.


we asked them to be vocal about anything they liked, disliked, or expected to see.


Based on our findings and the feedback we received after our user testing, we are going to move ahead with our Resources and Events features, and include more social aspects in the Resources feature instead of having a separate section called Connect.

Watch Our Promo Video

Evaluation Protocol

 ⊹  4/4 users said that they would be open to meeting people through our app,  and would feel safe using the app.

 ⊹  Users liked the Events feature very much and found it intuitive to search, filter, and sign up for an event using the app.

 ⊹  Users located the lounge we asked them to look for quickly and without much hesitation.

 ⊹  Users intuitively wanted to browse around the homepage and use it to complete the tasks: we should build this into our next iteration.

 ⊹  Users were confused about the variety of social and messaging features in the app: these areas require clarification.

Next Step

Return to prototyping and iterate

clarify some confusion on our labels and information architecture, and make the experience more intuitive.

Further design of home page

Return to the needs statements and ideation to find out how we can incorporate impactful, personalized recommendations into our users’ homepages.


Improve socialized function

reconsider the social cluster function, how to make it more understandable for user

Key Takeaway

The design process never end

Open to new findings and new opportunities, continuous iteration, and always seeking a better solution for our users.

User's needs must always come first

Don't start with the idea of what kind of features to design, but take the time to study and understand the users and empathize with them. Only then can we design a product that really meets the needs of the users.

Ideation prioritization is crucial

There are several different ways to tackle one problem, how to decide your gold nuggets is critical.

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