Collaborator is a mobile application prototype. It aims at helping students in the same educational institute to find collaborators cross disciplinary. A user can log into this app either post a project idea and look for collaborators with certain skills, or find a project that requires skills he has to become a collaborator of others.

Course & Date

Designing Meaningful Interaction (7 weeks), NYU Tisch School of the Arts

February - March, 2018 (3 weeks)

Tool Kits

Adobe PhotoShop / Adobe Illustrator / Adobe XD / Balsamiq



Research / Persona / User Map / Flow Chart / Information Architecture / Wireframe/ Prototyping / User Testing

The Problem

As a student who is interested in emerging technologies and new media arts, I am always trying to express my understandings about this world by combining different technologies, art and media formats. However, as I am eager to explore new approaches to express my ideas, I also constantly encounter the problem of not having enough experience in a particular area I am interested in. So I always have this idea to collaborate with other people. I want to contribute what I am good at and at the same time learn from my teammates who are experts in things I am less experienced with.

However, I sometimes find finding a collaborator not an easy mission. For instance, if I want to build an interactive installation. and I am most experienced in physical computing and less experienced in visual design or fabrication. I really want to collaborate with some people who have strong visual design skills and fabrication skills. However, when I ask around, people who are available are not quite strong in terms of visual design or fabrication, yet the strong candidates have different schedules with me and could not spare time to collaborate. I also send emails in my department email list and ask people to forward things around, but sometimes people just do not really read emails. Anyway, various situations make finding a collaborator really difficult.

So a strong willing just emerges from the bottom of my heart “I want a platform where I am able to find partners!” I really wish there is one in my school which could allow me to post a collaborator request to all students on campus and also potentially allow me to become collaborators of others.

User Research


Common Pain Points

  1. Current ways ( email, personal social media accounts, ask friends for connections) of finding collaborators are not efficient enough
  2. Do not have a larger platform to find collaborators

Common Wishes

  1. Have a platform where all students on campus can connect with each other for potential projection collaboration
  2. Get to know people outside one's own department

Experience map

I, based on my personal experience and the stories I heard from different people, created this experience map of people creating projects with their collaborators. I decided to only focus on step 2, which is the step of  finding the needed collaborators. 


User FLow & User Testing

Based on the map and the information I have researched and got at this moment, I designed my first user flow chart. So basically, when someone what to work on a project, he might:

→ look for previous projects for inspiration;

→ have a vague idea + certain skills --> look for projects that requires his/her skills -->collaborate with others

→ have a solid idea + lack skills --> post a project idea + collaborator inquiry -->find collaborators and collaborate


user experience_user experience.png

Based on this user flow, I used Balsamiq to create some wireframes for user testing


However, after I showed my first prototype to people, I figured out that I have quite a lot problems with this first prototype:


1. I am too ambitious - there are too many functions in this app: look for project archive, find project ideas, pose project ideas. etc..

Some terminologies are quite abstract and confusing: proposal, project, etc..

Some icons used in this prototype are repetitive: heart sign and thumbs up sign


1. Reduce functions and only keep finding new project ideas and posting new project idea

2. Carefully choose terms and make sure they are clearly stated

3. Delete repetitive icons

New User FLow Chart

Based on the feedback I got, I made some changed to my flow chart and decided to work only on two main features.

user experience_information architecture.png


In order to help myself to better organize my thoughts, after my first very quick mockup I started to slow down and draw some hand sketches. Besides, I also did some research on things like colors to help me finalizing my thoughts.


Outcome - final designs