Mobile App Design

NUDine: A Guide to the Northeastern Dining Plan

This app wireframe, created using InVision software, would allow Northeastern students to better navigate the dining plan at Northeastern University. The app combines all the necessary information in a intuitive manner to give the power of informed choice to students. The project was collaboratively done with two other Northeastern students.

The Inspiration

Thinking about the largest problems on campus, we wrote down and discussed the problems students tend to complain the most about and compared that with the extent to which we could solve this problem given our reach and timing constraints. These problems are listed above. We then moved to an affinity diagram, as shown below, writing down all of the thoughts that came into our minds when we thought of one of the biggest eateries on campus, Rebecca's Cafe. We grouped our mountain of Post-it notes by strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, threats, and contexts. This helped us understand that some of the biggest issues with the location was over crowdedness at periods right after various classes let out at the same time. This is a common problem across campus and is a major inconvenience when you're trying to quickly grab food. The opportunities seemed to solve the weaknesses and point to a need for a compiled source of information.

The Problem: A Lack of Information

After our preliminary research, we discovered that the source of the problem was that students are not aware of their options when they are hungry for a meal and need to be better informed in order to take full advantage of their dining plan. Hmmm, an app might solve this...

Our Solution: A Mobile App

Due to the issues relating strictly to students, we decided to create an app, as this is probably the most effective way to relay daily, updated information about the dining hall system. In brainstorming the app functions, we wanted our app to standout as more than just a listing of hours or a menu. So, we decided that a system of food rating for each dining location would allow students to go to appropriate location based on what they're in the mood for. Additionally, it would give the dining halls data to improve their food quality or options. Additionally, there would be an ability to filter a search for the appropriate dining hall location based on your situation or preferences. We then compiled our wishes for the app into a comprehensive list.

Main App Functions

  1. Daily updated menu
  2. Supplying general Information (distance/directions from your location, what it accepts) & hours of operation
  3. Rating system submitted by students daily

An Example User

Then, we created a user persona in order to better understand how the average Northeastern student might utilize our app.

Main Pain Points for Ryan

  1. Lacking the ability to make a quick decision due to no consolidation of dining information
  2. No up to date information on daily operations or food options
  3. Determining what each place accept (considering he may be eating only using the husky card)

Road to a Finished WireFrame

We started by drafting some interface sketches and creating a very preliminary wireframe on paper as a group. We mapped out the flow of the app from the first use, where the user creates an account linked with their school ID. Additionally, we mapped out the flow for further usage, including the filtered dining location search feature. Additionally, we sketched the pages for an individual dining location, where we would list menus, hours, and food feedback for each place.

With a rough sketch completed, we moved on to software. I was in charge of creating a digital version, which I completed through the use of InVision. This was a new software for me, but I was up for the challenge like always! Overall, this project cemented by passion for interaction design and is one of the main reasons that I have the career focus I do today. I was enamored by the idea that I could use my design mindset to create something that people would be able to use to make their lives just that much simpler!

Coded and Designed by Charles Andrews

Boston, MA | September 2019