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Coastal Connect Video Roulette: Design Sprint with EY




INDEPENDENT (BrainStation)



JULY 2020: 4 days (Design Sprint)





Fiona Zeng, Aaron Kwong, Berger Pan 

One of the most exciting opportunities we had during my UX Diploma Program at Brainstation was to have a chance to collaborate with EY on a design sprint to solve a design challenge prompted by them in 4 days.

Sprint Client: Coastal University is a comprehensive post-secondary institution, offering undergraduate degrees in a broad range of disciplines. Consequently, they maintain a diverse and vibrant student body.

Key Context: COVID-19-related campus closure has impacted nearly every aspect of the student experience. Being fully online means that the usual student onboarding ceremonies, events, communities, and clubs will need to adapt to an online model or be suspended indefinitely.

Impacted the most are first-year students, who are at risk of not feeling immersed in the campus experience or a part of a larger student community, resulting in loneliness, depression, and other mental health issues.


Design Solution: Video roulette is the overarching function of our application because it simulates what it would be like to meet your classmates in the real world. Diving into a video-centric space allows you to meet your classmates in a 15 minute 1:1 setting enables you to build your network. This way, you are able to make more interpersonal and intricate relationships with your classmates and get you out of your comfort zone while being at home. 

What is Coastal Connect Video Roulette?

Video roulette is the overarching function of our application because it simulates what it would be like to meet your classmates in the real world. Diving into a video-centric space allows you to meet your classmates in a 15 minute 1:1 setting enables you to build your network. This way, you are able to make more interpersonal and intricate relationships with your classmates and get you out of your comfort zone while being at home.  It also comes equipped with ice breaker questions to help keep the conversation going.

Design Challenge

How might we help first-year students feel welcomed and part of a community in a 100% online education experience?

The request is to leverage any digital technologies available to completely reimagine a first-year student’s education experience.

Chosen Target User:


All of us in our team were international students graduating from UBC and Emily Carr University which allowed us to have convenient access to the demographic for user interviews and tests. 

Project Constraints :

The solution must be designed using Avenir as the primary font. We can choose other fonts to complement it.

The design solution must reflect the primary brand colours: #23BE36, #36285D, #3A3A3A, #FFFFFF









Our Design Process

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Problem Space

Incoming international students are going to lose out on their first-year experiences due to the nature of remote learning. This later manifests into feelings of anxiety and fear-of-missing-out, as well as feeling lost.

Especially in a COVID-affected world, finding the right people to make a connection with is proving to become a challenge.

New international students have it harder when it comes to connecting with their classmates while in quarantine. Domestic students have local friends whom they can confide in when it comes to academic passions and project struggles, but incoming new international students do not have that luxury.

Project Goals

  • To offer a virtual platform where international students can connect with their schoolmates in order to reduce their feelings of loneliness.

  • To provide international students some peace of mind upon their first year of university, which is arguably the hardest transition (from high school to uni), and get them out of their comfort zone to meet new, like-minded/similar people.

  • To make the onboarding experience for international students who are new to university easier and seamless so that these students do not feel alienated and more integrated.


After conducting some secondary research, I had a setlist of assumptions on my proposed concept and mapped them out before conducting primary research ( interviews). This is will allow me to keep in mind what kind of questions to frame for the interviews.


  • International students have access to the internet and a smartphone with a camera.

  • International students have the need to connect with their schoolmates virtually to reduce their feelings of loneliness.

  • International students will have trouble integrating into their first year of university.

  • International students tend to gravitate toward students who are from their own country or speak the same language.

User Interviews

We created a list of questions we wanted to ask our 3 international student interviewees that are attending remote university this year.


Interview Questions


As an international student, what are your thoughts on current university student life during COVID?

Can you tell me about your current experience so far? How does it make you feel?

How do you think technology will help with making the university experience easier and better for you?

What platforms do you use to facilitate connections between you and university life? What do you like or dislike about these platforms?

If you have the power to improve these platforms, what would it be?


What are some things you are looking forward to for the upcoming semester?

What are some things you are not looking forward to for the upcoming semester?

What university resources are you aware of, to help you navigate the current COVID social landscape?


In what ways are you keeping touch with classmates during COVID?

How would you go about meeting new people or classmates now, in a COVID landscape?

How did you meet your friends in your first year?

In what ways are you currently active or contributing to any university communities during COVID?

If you had any advice for incoming international first-year students during COVID, what would it be?

Raw Key Interview Insights

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How Might We Questions

Using our interview insights proceeded to form our main design question that would help us determine our design solution. It will help make clear the intent of the digital solution.

How might we.jpg
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With the help of our interviews we were able to create a persona that would best describe our target demographic of who we are designing for and how we can address their painpoints and goals.


Brainstorming Design Solutions

We spent some time resarching on existing social media platforms that are newly being used during the time of COVID:

to strengthen communication. Apart from the ones listed below, we also took inspiration from apps like Discord, Kahoot and Zoom.


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Simulating making friends in real life : Video Roulette

In real life, we make friends on campus through classes, similar passions (topics/clubs), or a stranger who happen to share the same interests (topic hashtags/organizations).

Epic 1: Schedule compatibility & list of most compatible matches

Epic 2: Channel search (topic hashtag #drake or club/organization “UBC HOPE”)

Epic 3: Video Roulette (algorithm matching those with similar schedules/interests/organizations chosen)

Selecting a Task Flow

Scenario : Incoming International First Year Students at Coastal University during COVID looking to find new friends sharing common classes. 


A new student has already signed up but has not fully completed the onboarding process. The goal is to match these individuals with other individuals who share the most classes with them.

task flow for coastal connect.jpg


Once we were happy with our digital solution direction, we then proceeded to create a series of Crazy 8 sketches of eah screen that we then collectively chose individual screens from to be included in our final design.

Crazy 8s.jpg


We transitoned straight from paper sketches to hi- fidelity prototypes on the 3rd day due to time constraint. We would ideally done some gray scale wireframes in between if we had more time to test. Even though we did our prototypes in colour, we did up to 5 iterations of each screen to reach our final design. Each team member was allotted a certain epic. I took charge in prototyping the video roulette feature screens.

Home Screen

Home v3.jpg

Explore Screen

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Video Chat Screen

Roulette opening.jpg

Profile Screen

Profile v3.jpg

Notification Modal

Explore - Modal.jpg

Waiting Room

casual chat.jpg

Network Screen

My Network v5 - choice.jpg

Video Roulette Waiting Room

Roulette loading.jpg

Video Chat Screen

chat with rose.jpg

User Testing

We only had enough time to just test our final prototype without making further iterations. We conducted 5 user tests with international students at UBC to give us their feedback and track the usability of the inerface.


You are a first-year international student at Coastal University. You are encouraged by the university to use the application they have for you to connect with other students, especially during the pandemic with everything moved to online. You’re interested in exploring your classmates, and you want to participant in the orientation event at 1:30PM.



(1) You want to find your classmates

(2) You want to accept the video roulette event

(3) You want to add Vivian to your network

(4) You want to start the next video roulette

(5) You want to end the call with Rose

(6) Due to the success of roulette, you want to discover more connections

During testing questions


(1) What do you think this component does?

(2) What do you expect the next screen is going to be?

(3) What do you see on the screen?

(4) Tell me what you see on the screen and what each component does

(4) What are the 2 things you liked about the app?

(5) What are the 2 things you disliked about the app?

(6) If you have the power to improve, how would you change it?

(7) Do you have anythign else you wish to add?

After testing questions

(1) What do you think this component does?

(2) What did you think about the language of the app?

(3) What did you think about the look of the app?

Key Test Findings

• Most of our usability testing tasks were successes

• Arrangement of elements might seem a bit off

• Dislikes half screens - would rather not see themselves on the call as much

• “Study buddy version of Tinder”

• Clean interface,

• Likes the concept of the feature; they like the idea of of being able to see people who share the same class with
intuitive icons usage; easy on the eyes, have academia vibe, modern, pleasing to the eyes

• Top Connections are kind of redundant, perhaps remove for future iterationsSome interest in being able to view the other’s profile before roulette“Find your classmates” is irrelevantly next to “Your Schedule”.

Future Considerations 


With future directions in mind, we want to share our application with other universities so students all around can benefit from our solution. Other considerations will include integrations of new features such as games, and emphasis on improvements of existing features.


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