UX/UI Design Case Study
App designed to help students pair up and enjoy coffee chats
Keywords: connection, communication, match, scheduling, coffee chats, UX/UI case study
UX/UI Design Case Study
The App is under development and is going to launch in mid-2021. (present with permission)
Project Brief


Our client Veritas Forum is a non-profit organization who holds events and forums in universities all across the United States to talk about difficult questions in life. Part of the event is to pair up students and encourage them to have coffee chats to talk more about each other. Right now the paring process is manually conducted by local facilitators and is very time-consuming. Students also find it hard to keep track of the coffee chats and schedule good times with their partners.

Goals & Problems

The purpose is to design a mobile application for the students to easily pair up and have safe coffee chats. How to help students smoothly sign up for a coffee chat? How to match students with similar interests? How to differentiate it from dating apps? How to facilitate the scheduling process? How to help administrators monitor all the process and communicate with students? To solve all these problems, I started with user behavioral research and synthesized results through firsthand interviews.


User Interviews

To better understand our users and find out their needs, concerns, and problems, I started with interviewing potential users. The questions focused on two aspects: experience attending Veritas' events and experience using dating and/or matching apps. Sample questions are as below.
After preparing the questions, 3 team members helped me interviewed 9 users, each for 15-20 minutes. 6 of them have joined Veritas' events before, and 3 of them have used dating apps.
The interview had generated very fruitful results. I synthesized the main points into 3 categories decided by the process of a coffee chat: before, during, and after. For each of the categories, I analyzed users’ feelings and problems, and thought of possible solutions for the concept development.


Here are some representative quotes by the users that helped me to define the pain points.


A persona was created to showcase the problems and concerns.

Pain Points & Solutions

The pain points were synthesized as below and I started to think of possible solutions.

Problem Statement

I came to a conclusion of the major problem statement as below with Amy’s scenario.
Design Development

Information Architecture_Version 1.0

Based on the synthesis of research and interviews, I crafted this first version of information architecture as a start point to do sketches and configure wire frames. It was iterated later as the design went deeper and together with the feedback from user testings.

Information Architecture_Version 2.0

After discussion and further design development, the iterated information architecture was revised as below.


I started to draw the workflow with rough sketches. For each round of the sketches, I tested with the users, listened to their feedback, and iterated my design accordingly.

Wire frames

After testing with users, I iterated the design and came up with following wire frames.

User Testing & Design Iterations

Here are some examples of the design iterations based on the feedback of our users.

Design System

I created a design system for scalability & agility. It was based on the research of successful established systems as well as recent trends. Assets were designed to accommodate with the overall feelings of the university atmosphere.

High-fidelity Mock-up

A high-fidelity mock-up and a clickable prototype was created. I am communicating with the development team to make this app come to life.
UX Design Features

A. Security Concerns

This app was designed in great consideration of the user’s safety and privacy. Below are the features designed to make sure that users enjoy a healthy coffee chat environment.

B. Help to facilitate the process

Features were created to help the users get a seamless coffee chat experience before and during the events that includes: sign-up, get-paired, meeting, and feedback.

C. Coffee Chat Timeline

This is the biggest feature of this app: an interactive timeline that helps users to monitor and take actions for each phase of the coffee chats. Before each coffee chat, an interactive selection tool helps them to easily choose rough available times. After getting paired, an optimized algorithm helps them to quickly schedule a meeting time and choose a location with their partners. During each meeting, an interactive conversation facilitator helps them to check the points and control the time.

Scheduling logic

The app is under development and will launch in mid-2021. Part of the development tasks became some students’ capstone project. I am so proud that I take the lead to design this app and work closely with all the developers. I have learned a lot from this project. Good developers also can also contribute a lot to the UX development part — they are also  the users. Never assume that they don’t understand design. I also learned how to work remotely and to collaborate with team members from different backgrounds. With an open mind, I listen to the users' feedback and iterate my designs all the time.

If I had more time, I would like to do more user testing and iterate the design again and again. I also would like to make animations to demonstrate the concept of some widgets. I strongly believe that the thinking process, user testing, and the optimization of the logic underneath UI component is the key to a successful UX design project.
Working with the Dev Team