Design and product overview

What is Start NYU

Start NYU is an identity management system for all students, faculties, and staff at NYU. Start NYU allows users to change their NYU password, security question, and alternative Non-NYU email and Multi-Factor Authentication setting in it. The user also needs to active their NYU account after they become a new member of NYU through Start NYU this platform. Start NYU has 50000+ users in NYU, which means we are creating a meaningful product for a massive community in New York University to help them have a better experience to access NYU's service.However, today, many people reflect NYU IT that Start NYU is too old, and the design of Start NYU is confusing for the users. Forgiving people and excellent first image for NYU, NYU IT decide to redesign Start NYU with a better user interface and experience for its users.

Process overview

My role

In the project of Start NYU, I participate in the early stage of UX research. Then back to this project in the winter break and entirely responsible for the visual design final design and Hi-Fi Prototype for Start NYU with Logan Johnson and Debbi Litt. Though I do not take part in the whole process of this project, however, I design a robust visual effect for all the user scenarios of Start NYU, and feel proud of its final design!

Product related

Team |  Product manager: Sarth Desai / Lead UX designer(Logan Johnon) / UX writer  (Debbi Litt) / UX Researcher and Low-Fi prototype  (Effy Fan, Nicole Zhong) / Final Design and Hi-Fi prototype  (Mianying Chen)
Department  | NYU Information Technology    
Duration | 3 months
User | NYU Students and Staffs
Research Method | Contextual Inquiry, Heuristic Evaluation, User Interview, Usability Testing

Design overview (Hi-fi prototype)

Click the link HERE to enjoy the full-screen prototype

User-flow (Refer the user-flow to experience the hi-fi prototype)


Preliminary Research

Almost everyone who stays in New York University has used Start NYU before. Start NYU is a historic website which means it developed many years ago, and the purpose of Start NYU is to give NYU students and faculties to have an entrance to manage their NYU account. Through it still works today, however, it’s obsolete design, obscure copywriting and confusing user-flow let many users feel uncomfortable. To solve this problem our team begin to discover the feature and the problem which Start NYU has for getting a preliminary idea that how to redesign Start NYU. Based on my personal experience I will list my discover of Start NYU below.

1. No visual focus and weak of user flow

There is no visual focus for the current website for Start NYU, which means it will make users confuse for the primary and secondary relationship for the information on Start NYU. Also, the user-flow for Start NYU is weak that means everything on Start NYU is on the same level.

2. Copyright

The copywriting of Start NYU is too long and too complicated, which needs the user to use time and patient to read. However, most of the time, users hate reading.

3. Content

The user guide of Start NYU is weak, for some contents of the Start NYU, The user cannot know the feature it has from the description.

User and product research

After our team finish the discover part since my boss arranges me to working on other projects, so I leave Start NYU’s team, I transferred my opinions for the problem of Start NYU to my other teammates, then Effy and Nicole begin to working on heuristic evaluation, research and definition for Start NYU. (Note: The content below are created by Effy and Nicole)

Heuristic evaluation (Effy and Nicole)

General issues for Start NYU(Effy and Nicole)

1. Missed opportunity for NYU Branding for the community members first touch to technology service.
2. Confusing Information architecture, it's not user relevant.
3. For first time users, tools and terms need to be better defined.

Research: Usability test and end user interview (Effy and Nicole)

After Effy and Nicole finish the Heuristic evaluation, they divide the Start NYU in five scenarios and did the user testing based on these five scenarios below, based on these scenarios it makes me more easier delivery the final design.

Scenario 1: Active account and login.
Scenario 2: Change user’s NYU password.Scenario
3: Update user’s NYU Directory Information.Scenario
4: Page journey.Scenario
5: Register Multi-Factory Authentication and update user preference.

Research: Journey map (Effy and Nicole)

Based on the result of the interview, Effy and Nicole also create Jorney Map for different users to see which parts of Start NYU bring troubles for the users.

Define: Design challenge framing (Effy and Nicole)

Effy and Nicole did some research on Google, Adobe, Outlook etc. to find the inspiration from these websites. Then, they brainstormed features that can solve the pain points users experience now.

Define: User flow (Effy and Nicole)

Finally Effy and Nicole re-categorized the existing information and created a more intuitive architecture and flow.

Low-fi prototype (Effy and Nicole)

Design Iteration

During the winter break, my boss asks me to rejoin Start NYU and cooperate with Logan Johnson and Debbi Litt, fully responsible for the final design and Hi-Fi prototype. Based on the research and Lo-Fi Prototype which created by Effy and Nicole, we produce seven scenarios with user-flow which cover different user cases then redesign a new user interface based on the new user-flow we have.

New User-flow of Start NYU

After I take over this project, I divided the user into seven small scenarios and two big scenarios. For the two big user scenarios, scenario A is for the new user, and scenario B is for the returning user.

Improve the design detail of Start NYU

The content below are the signature points of Start NYU's design, and I wish it can help you understand the my design logic behind Start NYU.

1. Dynamic and static prompts

Start NYU is not a complex project. However, there are a lot of descriptions and explanation in this project, I put the text in the right position on the page and use small interaction to help the user reduce the anxiety when they are using the Start NYU.Compared use word description to explain the rule of password setting the user of Start NYU only need to click the text block then the description will appear, and help user check does their password meet the password requirement or not in real time (Inspiration: Amex official website, low-fi prototype initial solution.)

2. Classification

The biggest problem for the last version’s Start NYU is the chaos of the information, and the user cannot understand how these different options work in Start NYU,and if they make changes to these options, how these changes will influence their NYU account. To solve this problem of information chaos, our team divided all the option into three sections which are security, MFA, and Directory, and using the image to let the user has an initial idea that what is the function of these options in different sections.

3. Navigation

Giving user choices is always been one of the rules of the UX design, in Start NYU I put the navigation bar at the left of the screen, so the user can have better experience to navigation to a different page from any page of Start NYU.

Final Design

The final design is the potential interface which all the NYU student may use after I finish the Mid-Fi Prototype and collect the feedback from the STIT’s design sharing and users for Start NYU, I delivery the finished design to the development team and cooperate with them to evaluate the development difficulty of Start NYU. The content below is the design for all the pages of Start NYU,if you want to check Hi-Fi prototype, click the link HERE.

1. New user (Active start NYU) (Scenario A)

The interfaces below is for scenario A which is a scenario to help the new user of Start NYU when they visits Start NYU first time, Start NYU would help new users to activates their NYU account. The account activation have 5 steps which are active NYU Netid, view policy and term of use, enter a recovery email address, select security questions and set password for Start NYU, after new users finish all the step they will jump to a page let the user know that their account already be activated, the user can make decision by themselves to set MFA(Multi-Factor Authentication)  after active their account or later.

2. Return (Change setting in start NYU) (Scenario B)

The interfaces below is for scenario B which is a scenario to help user change the setting they did in the past. The user can change their recovery email address, security questions, password and MFA(Multi-Factor Authentication) setting for NYU account.

Take away

Cooperation and communication

After the final design comes out, the development team unable to find the development plan for this project since the development platform for this project is too old, and it does not allow the developer to change anything, though we solve this problem together. It still let me know that when our designer tries to design a new project to communicate and cooperate with the development team is necessary.