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A platform that enables students to keep track, manage and loan audio/video gadgets, various animation, music and lighting tools for OCAD University's AV loans service.


About the Project

Problem: Students at OCAD University face friction and adaptation challenges when they attempt to rent audio video equipment from the AV loans department in person. 
Solution:  The solution proposed is a mobile application which serves as an assistant with both voice and chats UI. Students can loan out, see the status of available equipment, and reserves and get notified of return dates at their comfort, thus providing a better university experience. 
Timeline: 3 Weeks
My Role:  UX Designer

This personal project came into synthesis when I faced a variety of inconveniences with the AV loans service department at OCAD University. The school offer’s its students' various film and animation equipment to be rented out free of charge.  I have gone through the process of renting a camera and a laptop charger, amongst other things several times. The majority of those experiences had been filled with inconveniences and general annoyance. Through a history of pain points in the renting process, I had found myself discouraged as I had to work around the service's existing problems to get to my goal. 

Being a practitioner of user experience design, I Identified the fault in the experience of AV loan services. I had already started thinking about a solution without any research, solely based on my personal biases. This is when I decided to put my UX hat on and solve this problem myself. I started by removing myself from the representation of users in this case study and dived into the validity of my problem and insights into users and the business agenda and goals.

Foundational Research - Discovering

Validating User problem

I began an initial dialogue with current students and my peers about their experiences with the university's various services. First I wanted to validate my personal pain point with quantitative data from real-life users. Secondly, I wanted to sympathise with the users to help me identify relationships between their frustrations and their impact on the reviews of the school's experience. Lastly, research the University's agenda/mission to help me define business goals.  Thus I conducted several phone interviews, and online surveys and had casual conversations in person to find answers to the questions like :
  • If students/users experience any frustrations or inconveniences using AV loans service?
  • How many students/users are faced with frustrations and or problems with AV loans service?


Online surveys concluded 63% of users have experienced inconveniences when using the AV Loans service. Total of 10 diverse users participated in the survey



Phone interviews also concluded 2 out of the 3 users interviewed faced problems in the process of renting equipment. 

The initial inquiries revealed insights into the prevalence of the problems and inconveniences in the AV loans service experience. I gained an understanding of different user paths and discovered different types of user groups involved in the service. In order to gain access to the user problems' impact on the business/school, I conducted further surveys with fifteen users in total including two staff members. Questions pertaining to users' satisfaction levels helped me formulate and validate a business problem. 




Users' satisfaction level of AV loans service. With a low average of 6.33 out of 10 in satisfactory ratings, I turned my attention to its impact on the business.

~"I wasn't really mad, just disappointed as always"


Of users surveyed claimed that
the problem they faced negatively impacts their review of overall school satisfaction

With the above-validated data, I finally began to formulate the challenge statement. The foundational research brought together insight into several user problems along with an active business problem. *although I could not meet with an OCAD University chair or stakeholder, I hypothesised a challenge backed by real data.

The Challenge 

Identify the major challenges and inconveniences faced by current students and staff using the AV loans services at OCAD University and design a solution which could assist them and provide a successful time using AV loans services thus raising the student's/staff satisfaction level with the school’s services and impacting the rating of OCAD University in a positive way. 

User Research

Identifying the Users needs

From my initial research, I discovered different user groups that I hadn’t conceptualized in my representation of the users. These early insights gave me an advantage in formulating research goals. As I began to empathize, I interviewed the same 15 diverse users and conducted online surveys and observations to examine users' journeys.

The research focused on: 

  • Users’ expectations, perceptions, likes/dislikes, and pain points. 

  • Services that are used the most and the manner in which they are used.

  • The information architecture of the current AV loans website from student access

  • The experience in the in-person AV loans service space.

Affinity Diagram ~

Problem Synthesis

To get an in-depth analysis of the complex qualitative research data I had gathered I used affinity diagramming. This session helped me in categorising and prioritising the data of problems, issues and inconveniences the users faced. 


User Personas ~ 

Understanding the users

From my initial research, I created personas to represent a user group that faces similar problems. Favourite part of the research data framing, this particular session gave me clear insights into user needs, expectations and how they would like to use the service/product.

Joyce Tran

Animation Major

"English being my second language, I don't feel too confident about it, I get too shy asking questions"

Due to her language barrier Joyce is hesitant on approaching staff to ask questions about which camera model is best for project purpose.


Tala Shahidi

Photography Major

" I have a busy schedule, with working for part-time and classes, I don't find time to organise and pack my bag for school" 

Tala is short on time with a busy schedule, she has to rush to pack her things which makes her forget to pack her phone and laptop chargers often.

Research Insights - Define

Framing the problem

I brought together the individual survey data and crated highly specific themes into which major challenge students fell under. The major themes that were prevalent were :

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In Person Service Delays

Long waiting lines, service desk left unattended, staff shortages. Poor service structure placement. 

Digital Access Issues

Poor Website Information layout, Missing equipment photos, Lack of description into equipment. 


Personal User Barriers

Forgetting overdue items, Language barriers.

The complexity of problems related to staff required further audit and research into their digital experience, which I did not have access to, thus I turned my focus on problems related to students only.

Brainstorming - Ideate

Formulating ideas and opportunities

I took the main findings from the affinity diagramming session and realized that many of the shortlisted issues were too out of scope and would require staff access to find further insights.  This session proved to be difficult as I did not have a budget and business restrictions ( Ideas can get out of hand/out of touch with reality with no budget ).  Thus, I prioritised actionable solutions, that I could test given my current resources. 

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Storyboarding ~

Identifying different scinarios

The goal was to take the ideas I generated from the brainstorming session, and sketch an actual use case, to help me visualize how the person would move through this part of the story. After several rough storyboards, I was able to decide which functionality suits bets for my project scope and servers best to the users that I researched. 


Design Finalization

Solution Rationale

After several productive ideation sessions, I had enough user-tested data to decide on a solution that was actionable, and suitable for my problem scope and decided on the features that the platform would assist students when using AV loans.


  • Mobile App for android and IOS.

  • Enable students to reserve items.

  • Function as a reminder for loaned-out items.

  • Detailed Information/description and clear photos of items.

  • Function staff duties to aid in-person service delays.

  • Function as a voice assistant to translate student questions and inquiries.


  • Student verification/Photo ID scan.

  • Personalized AI sync with students' calendars and geo-location. 

  • Inventory AI with live updates of item return ETA, Reserve, etc.

  • Voice and chat-based translator assistance.

  • Email assistance sync with student school email.

  • Function as a voice assistant to translate student questions and inquiries.

Flow Diagram - Design

Mapping and Organizing Information

Designing began with sketching out a map- a typical user journey based on the accomplishment of a specific task. This helped to then define the overall structure and flow of the application. I conducted informal interviews to understand the preferred mental model of my fellow students for a tool renting application. 

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Sketching ~

Initial Interface Design



Low-fidelity wireframes

Based on the main features and task flows of this platform, I created paper wireframes/prototype with the following user flows : Searching for items directly from the search bar, reserving items from saved/bookmarked page, Voice translation assistance and browsing through the navigation from home dashboard. 

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Visual Design

Final Solution Prototype

I began the final design of the high fidelity prototype by following OCADU's current graphic style guide, and used Google's material design principles for further assistance and direction. The major pages of the Application which are shown below.

Setting Up TouchID

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At a quick glance

The user now can view the most essential information at quick glance and browse through to explore tools by type. With a quick filter assistance users can view items by category or all items sorted by alphabet. 

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Translation Assist

In the Profile menu, users can find all support and user setting adjustments. With the translation feature, students can get assistance on questions about tools, save previously asked questions and view history.

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Personal Inventory

Students can now access their current rented tools and see details about the return date, with RentO application, also archives all borrowed tools and return dates, in case of any confusion or other various edge cases, and if students want to rent a returned item once again.

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Return Date Reminders

For Students who have busy schedules, the application assists by notifying them about the return time and date. 

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What's Next?

RentO application will require plenty of usability testing before it moves into development. I also did not have access to staff's user journeys and couldn't conduct an audit of their current system. I am interested in researching more into their needs, problems and personas. Although I have "finished" this case study, the project itself is far from over and I plan to continue as I had limited resources and time during this project. 

Due to the time constraints, and the scope of the project, I found it very challenging and would love to work alongside other designers and researchers. Below is a list of discussion points and suggestions not covered in this case but would be worth discussing in person! 

1. Application expansion, to incorporate class schedules, University activities, and student email.

2. Conducting further user evaluation with participants from different programs, and years of study.

3. Adding a remind me time, so users can set a specific time they would like to be reminded of loaned item return dates. 

AS ALWAYS, I'm open to suggestions and feedback. 

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