Design Research

UX Design process
Image credits: http://melissacheah.com.au/process/

Who are the users?

The users of this platform will be researchers, scholars, students, and professors from all over the world, whose goal is to work on a research project collaboratively. They will work in groups and communicate through a messaging feature.

Interviews & Surveys

I conducted contextual interviewed on a call with the professors, researchers, and students to understand our core users, their environment, and majors tasks to accomplish. I gathered data on their current workflow and major challenges. This data helped us in finding opportunities to solve the problems.


We chose 6 people including Students (1 from India and 1 from the US), 2 Professors from CMU to interview, and researchers and scholars working in universities on their research paper. Interviews conducted were semi-structured and from universities, Berkeley, CMU, Stanford, etc.

Interviews Script

1. What's the context? 2. What are your major tasks? 3. How do find students/opportunities? 4. What are the major problems faced? 5. How do collaborations happen? 6. What tools do you currently use?


I thought of creating a google form with some questions to reach a large number of audience like: 1. What frustrations or issues users have? 2. Where do they look for projects? 3. How do they collectively work on a project remotely?

User Persona

Based on the user research results data, we created personas for students with problems faced by him.
Jimmy represents a student who is trying to search for a job/research in his specific field and at the same time wants to build his resume strong. So basically he served as my primary persona which I wanted to focus on for this project.

Site Map

After we had brainstormed potential solutions and analyzed pain points, we created a detailed site map outlining features needs to be developed. This allowed us to get a grasp into how the platform would work system-wide. This allowed me to stadrt designing a specific step-by-step process.

Making Connections

Time to connect the dots. I took some colored pens and started marking up my user post-it wall. I used red to indicate problems with the app and purple to indicate emotional responses. I also used yellow post-its to write out each emotionally-charged word that was expressed during my interviews. I added those emotions to my wall to help me keep user needs at the center of my design and finally discussed my finding with the team.
Once we gained a clearer picture of our users, we started generating design solutions in the form of paper prototypes.
By doing wireframes in Balsamiq, we were able to go through a lot of design ideas and quickly find the right ones. Moreover, they also allowed backend developers to begin with the most fundamental database structure of the app interactions and discover the technical limitations of which we couldn't have known before.


Once we have a design, now it's time to hand it off to developers. Thanks to Figma, developers can analyse the project as a whole and get the required assets and CSS for the screens. As this is a open-source project, so I decided to start build the design system and then create the screens and features step by step. So, workflow looks like this: I create a github issue explaining details and providing assets and help the contributors with any questions. Then I constantly approve the issues for user interface and designs, this is how, it's going so far.
We are still building the platform and taking part in various open-source programs. View more details in Github​


Testing and iteration is a continuous process, so I keep contacting different users and collect the feedback. I use the commenting feature of Figma to collect user feedbacks on the design and communicate about different ideas. So, this is an ongoing task which I am working on in my free-time.

Next Steps

These are some points which I plan to work in future:
  • Make a design component library- As when the project was started figma didn't had soo many features.
  • Design the Professor's journey.
  • Internal Design critiques and feedback modifications.
  • Work on Brand Application to promote the idea.
  • Application front-end development with our own Design System.
Let's connect and feel free to join the slack, if you are interested in the idea and want to help the community.