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Help you find your seat quickly


Help you find your seat faster

Time Span: 1 month.

My Role: User research, User interview, Rapid prototype, 

wire frame, Final interface design.


Wuhan University is one of most famous university in China, I have studied there for four years and found most of students carried heavy backpacks documents on the road. As one of them, I was surprised and upset by how difficult it is to find a seat for study in library. When I asked my friends, I found them suffering the same problem. In this way, I want to design a seat-seek platform to help them find an available seat quickly.

From user interview and observation of user behavior, I came up with a mobile platform to help them find available seat quickly thus can save them a lot time in searching.

University really lack of seats in library? 


Seats in all library 

There are 5 libraries distributed in university, over 15000+ seats are available to students.


No-class students

The population of students are 31277, there are around 1/3 students do not take classes and have no classes.

15 mins

Average searching time

Lucky enough, we can find an available seat quickly, however in most cases, we have to spend over 15mins to look for a seat, particularly in the exam period.

Through secondary research, I found out that seats are totally enough for students to study, so what exactly is the real problem of looking for available seat? 

How students find seats in current way

As a student who prefer to study in library almost every day, based on my own  and my friends' experience, there are currently three ways to look for available seats in library.

1. Look for a seat one by one.

"Time consuming, not sure can find a suitable seat"

2. Ask friends for hellp

"Post in social media, it is not convenient at all"

3. Get up early and put some personal stuffs in empty seats.

"inconvenient and disturbing others, not polite"

What are real unmet needs of students? 

​Since seats deficiency is not a problem, so what was causing students to look for available seats so hard? 

In order to figure out the problem, I conducted deeper user interview with 6 students from 5 different departments in Wuhan University, collected 67 notes and summarized them into 3 insights.

"Sometimes I get annoyed by power using up, but my seat has no plugs."

"When I have checked all the floor and waste all my time, I could even not find one seat."

Some quotes from interviewees.

Three Insights From Notes

Insight 1. Time consuming

Most of the students choose to go to the nearest library to study, if there is no seat available in the nearest library they will come back to their dorms and study in dorms. It seems like they prefer distance first. But when I asked them the choice of two library, The first one is 15 mins walk time with a lot available seats, the second one is 2 mins walk time with 15 mins to find the available seats , they will choose the first one , so it is not the distance but the time. ​

Insight 2. Plugs needs

Sometimes students have already found seats, however, they need to use their computers, which means they need plugs, because through interview, over 70% students stay in the library over 4 hours.

Insight 3. Stuffs on table but no students

Some students like to put their books or other stuffs on table to occupy the seats but not really studying there, which results in the waste of resources, even lead to fight.

How might I?

Based on three insights, I wanted to find a quick and energy-saving way to help students find seats they required. Let's look at our users at first.

User Journey Map

Students should use their students' ID card to get into library. So, can we use the system to help us seek for seats?

Entrance guard


First Sketch

Compared to traditional ways, we can connect seats searching process with mobile phone app, using mobile app to maximise the convenience. 

During first sketch, I came up with the following ideas.

In app, we can visualize the seats distribution and available condition, students can clearly check the seats' real time status like the number and distribution of available seats.

Increasing filters, students can search seats by time, plugs, windows.

When students want to take a short break, we can change the seats' status and show the status to hold the seat in certain interval.

Second Sketch

I went through four user testing and found interesting points that I should modify.
1. Add the seat choosing filter in visualization page.
Seats visualization only show the live status, students can not see the status in the time that they want. So when choosing a seat and then pomp up a time choosing page, we are not sure we can make the order, because sometimes the left time is not what you need.
2. Set 20min as an appropriate interval when students are between ordered time and actually arrival time.
Set 40min as an appropriate interval when students want to leave library for lunch or a short break.
Through observations and interviews, all of students can arrive library from their dorm in 20 minutes, moreover, longer time will result in Procrastination. 
In addition, most of students can finish their meals in 40min, and go back to library.
3. Increasing quick selection mode, app can assign the seat that you use before automatically.


Visual Design


This is my first independent UX project which sponsored by Student Union in Wuhan University, which is really fun and give me a lot insights about the whole UX design process.
  • Keep asking why! At first, students said they preferred nearest study place,  but when I asked them choosing between a nearest but time-consuming place and a far place with more seats, most of them chose the second one. So, for them, time is more important factor really define a problem, we have to dig out what users really need.
  • Observation matters! When I wanted to figure out how long the most appropriate time interval in lunch time or before coming was, observation really helped me a lot. before that, I only imagine it by myself, it really provided me the most direct information 
  • Considering technical Problem! When I discussed with programmer of the project, I realize there are some technical problems. In order to increasing convenience we have to figure out how to judge whether students have arrived, we decided to combine students ID card with app, if students enter into library by using their student ID card, App can change the status.
  • since students can only order seats that day, there must be amount of students select seats in same period which will bring data load. 
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