Design and product overview

If you ask NYU students and staff which of our on-campus services is most frustrating, I believe NYU's study room reservation systems must be top ranked. To solve this problem, NYU IT collaborates with other relevant departments to integrate all existed room reservation services into a responsive web-based platform ( NYU Room ) to improve user experience.

My role

As a product designer, I was in charge of the whole project’s UX strategy and design. In addition, I was also responsible for producing all design deliverables and presenting them to our various stakeholders.

Product related

Team | Product manager: Sarth Desai / Developer: Rayat Rahman, Sarah Pierce / Designer: Mianying Chen
Department  | NYU Information Technology    
Duration | 12 months    
User | NYU Students and Staffs
Research Method | Contextual Inquiry, Heuristic Evaluation, User Interview, Persona, Usability Testing

The problem to solve

The investigation for the problems from the existed systems was based on both students’ complaints and requests from the library department of NYU.

Final design overview ( User-flow and prototype )

Main features of NYU Room

Main features of NYU Room

User-flow of NYU Room

Prototype of NYU Room

User and product research

My own booking experience - heuristic evaluation

Before work on this project, just like other students, I only reserved study rooms at Bobst library, and I certainly didn’t know there were so many other reservable spaces. After searching through various NYU portals and pages for buildings with reservation systems, I went through a couple of them try to understand what we were working on.

Heuristic evaluation for NYU Elmer Holmes Bobst library reservation system.

Please click the image to check the detail.

Heuristic evaluation for NYU Laguadia room reservation system.

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User interview - what does room reservation means to NYU student

After I finished the heuristic evaluation, I try to understand what “Room Reservation” means to the NYU student and what kind of problems are they facing? And what are the room reservation experiences they want? With these questions, our team did some interviews with some students from different NYU schools to gauge their thoughts on these and summarized the feedback in 3 directions.

Finding from user interview

Feature introduction and design process

Based on users’ feedback from the interview, the research we did, and the API we got from our building partner. Our team created a persona reflecting the typical NYU Rooms’ user and try to figure out what features our product should have.


Connect wireframe with user scenario

Usability testing and iteration

For the first time usability testing, we invited 12 people to do the usability testing. However, only around 17% of people can finish the reservation without helping. I iterated the design with the development team based on the feedback we collected from the usability testing. The content below is the contradistinction between wireframe and new design.

1. Focus on the elements that users care most about.

The new design puts the icon and text together, highlighting the existence of the button to help the user get information quickly and precisely for reducing the user’s thinking time. And we also offer the option of “Group room recommendation,” which allows the user to book a group study room if they need it.

2.Consistent and straightforward

Because there is too many options on the advanced search’s list, so we try to make the options more visible and straightforward for reducing the stress of the user from the psychological and operation perspective.

3.Streamlined process

Through the user interview, some users said they feel lost when they are trying to reserve specific a room in NYU because the reservation process is across multiple pages. So we decide to redesign the layout of the Accurate search page and optimization the user flow, to help the user uses a fewer step to finish the reservation.

Most of the user does not like the pop-up window and feel annoying about it, so we removed the pop-up window, and using the drop-down menu to replace it. The feature of the drop-down menu allows the user to reserve a room on the same page to prevent a user feel lost from switching different pages during the process of reserve room.

Add new cancel reservation feature on My reservation page, also using the drop-down menu to help user finish the all the step of cancel reservation on one page to improve the design to help the user have a consistent user experience.

Final design and design verification

Landing page design

The landing page is a place I want to help people understand how to use NYU Room through image and text. The design of the landing page can help the user know what kind of the features NYU Room has and which building NYU Room already support and will support. I draw many illustrations and shot many pictures for the landing page and want to use these images to attract people attention to read the description and introduction of the NYU Room to help user experience NYU Room easier after they login into the system.

Reservation system design

Compared with the text-based old reservation system, the new design of the NYU room reservation system has more illustrations and images which can help the user know the information of the room they need. The reservation system has three parts which is Recommend room, Advanced search and My reservation.

Recommended room

For the old reservation system, the user needs to pre-select the room type before they reserve a room. Compared the old room reservation service with NYU Room, NYU Room does not require the user to pre-select any room type and it Recommend room feature will recommend nearest, available room smartly to help user using less time to find a place to study.

Advanced search

One of the problems of old NYU room reservation service is people do not know what kind of amenity for each type of room has. So, new design NYU room, we applied Accurate search feature into it, and allow the user to search room based on the condition of amenity, time, campus, etc. user needs to help them find the room they need accurately.

Confirm reservation

For the old design of NYU room reservation service, the user needs to select the period first, then type the email address and phone number to confirm the reservation, users need to keep swipe the screen to find the available room, also the design on the mobile version is not cannot fit the model on the desktop version which brings difficult for the user to operate. However, for the new design of NYU Room, user can check multiple periods for each room on one page; also, all the reservation step is on one page to help user has a consistent user experience.

My reservation

Since NYU Room integrated multiple building’s reservation services, we emphasized my reservation feature and want to help the user manage their reservations and help them find the location of the room they reserved.

User profile

In NYU Room, we will record user’s information based on different building’s requirements. The user only needs to type their information which building needs for the first time they reserve the room, then when they need to book that building's room again, NYU Room will automatically fill this information, and they also can edit this information in the profile page for convenience and safety.

Final design workflow


Compared with our first time usability testing, the second time usability testing is more successful, almost all the interviewees can successfully go through all the steps and reserve a room they want, only two of our interviewees are new students who feel confusing for My reservation feature, because some of the room reservation they cannot cancel because of the different buildings' policy. Our team is glad to see NYU Room is kindly success in the design step, and then I will help our development team to implement all the feature then push it to the school field.

Project thinking and outlook

Next step of NYU Room

NYU Room is still under development, our team’s purpose is to launch the product first, then iterate the product to meet user’s different needs. Currently out team’s plan is redesign icon to create better bespoke illustrations for individual rooms or categories of rooms to help the user know the difference between each room.

Thinking and outlook

Evidence is ahead of intuition

At the beginning of the NYU Room, I take for granted a lot of design and function. However, through the team internal feedback and usability testing, I believe some of my decision is inappropriate. Understand the user’s need, and capability of the team before the design, to create a smooth design and develop process also is one of the duties of a UX designer.

Continuously cultivate user habits in product iteration

Our team tries to implement NYU as soon as possible. Even some of the buildings cannot connect with our product currently like the building student reserve the most —NYU Bobst Library (Main Library). During the progress of designing the product, our team recognized compared with the design of the product, and it is harder to change the user's behavior. Through the interview of the NYU Room, we know that most of the users only reserve a specific building's room and never try other buildings. So, our plan for NYU Room is to let users familiar with the unpopular buildings first then add famous buildings into our system. By using this way, we hope to let users know they have more choices other than famous buildings.Putting our product into the market, collect feedback from the user, develop user's habits, and iterate the product let it meet the user's requirements better. As the designer of the NYU Room, I think this would be an endless loop for the development of NYU.