USTaste: All-in-one Canteen App for HKUST members

Donburi·2023년 2월 28일


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Project Description & Goal

Nature of the Project

"If _ on HKUST Campus were more user-friendly..."

The project is about identifying and empathizing with user needs. By engaging in the project, we gained hands-on experience in the overall design thinking process focused around humans: Empathize - Interpret - Ideate - Verify.

Our Project

Our project was about proposing an "all-in-one" canteen (mobile) app that addresses all the existing problems that HKUST members face and enhances their dining experience at HKUST.

Project Journey

17th Feb) I finally got the chance to talk to our groupmates. I am looking forward to knowing and working with them, and am very excited to hear about their ideas and suggestions.

The cohort was informed that we would start brainstorming and working on the mind map in-class on February 22nd. Our group was very eager to understand what HKUST members really need. Thus, we decided to go through at least some, if not all, of the Empathize - Interpret process before we worked on the official ideation process.



As we wanted the whole design process to be wholeheartedly rooted in user needs, we spent quite some time empathizing with the users.


As HKUST members ourselves, we contemplated any inconveniences or obstacles we have faced during our university life.


In our daily life, we tried to see if anyone was having any trouble with the existing facilities or systems.


This was the most prominent part of the Empathize process. Jung Bin and I had some quick chats with random people at Starbucks or at the Learning Commons to hear about their stories.



Based on the above, we did some of the Interpret process.


We started categorizing all these different ideas and eventually ended up in 4 large categories, namely Canteen, Transportation, Facilities, and Others.


We also came up with basic functionalities for some of the prevalent problems in the form of HTA (Hierarchical Task Analysis).

Generate POV

We worked on the persona after the in-class ideation.

So before the in-class ideation, our group actually already had a plethora of great ideas and great interactions. Below is just one of many great interactions.


21st Feb) It was great to see everyone being active and bringing interesting ideas to the table.



Our in-class ideation process was very smooth because we had already completed some of the Empathize & Interpret process and hence were well aware of what users really need in reality. We were able to decide and fixate on solving the canteen problems very early on.

Below is our mind map - first handwritten in-class then later digitalised and finalised.


By this moment, we had completed a lot in the design process. The remaining things we had to do were very clear - fully complete each process and prepare for our presentation.

So based on what I knew about our groupmates, I started to distribute work as evenly as possible according to their skills and strengths. For example, I asked Jung Bin to help with video editing, Hyunji to work on high-fidelity prototyping with Figma, Cherry on storyboarding, and so on.


On my side, I tried to map out our video and presentation and conducted more interviews, some of which were recorded (and included in the video).


24th Feb) The extra interviews turned out to be very fruitful. We thought that we had already noted and covered all the potential problems, but that wasn't the case - many more interesting ideas were injected. Moreover, I'm really glad that our groupmates liked the overall flow and communicated thoroughly with me.

With everyone's hard work and efforts, we have put all the pieces together in harmony.

Final Results



(full version in the powerpoint below)



We wanted to make sure that our interpretation of user needs and scenarios are correct. So we carried out speed dating with HKUST students by showing them our storyboard and video.


Unfortunately, we couldn't spend a lot of time on this process. Nevertheless, this process was still valuable. While most of the comments were very positive, there were also some interesting suggestions and feedback.

For example, a fellow student mentioned that it would be nice to have information on the open hours for each canteen. Another suggestion, which was actually given during the presentation today (2nd Mar), is how other HKUST members without access to CAS can use this app.

So it would have definitely been better if we had more time to fully immerse ourselves in this process and carry out speed dating with other HKUST members as well.

Personal Reflection

I think my first project journey was truly remarkable.

It was great to immerse myself in the whole design thinking process from start to end, putting user needs at the forefront and focusing the design around them. Actually going through the process outweighs listening to them tremendously. I came to realize this especially during the extra interviews and the Verify process. Just when I thought that we had covered all the problems, there were new interesting suggestions. Just when I thought that this is the state-of-the-art solution to the problem, users reminded me that it isn't. So I actually experienced that each process is really valuable.

Furthermore, it was a great opportunity to realize my strengths and weaknesses, and also step out of my comfort zone. I always like to try to see the big picture and try to formulate the overall flow and structure, so that was definitely a plus in contributing to the team. I also had to step up to get things going; I usually like to be a follower but I tried my best to lead so that our team reaches the goal.

On the other hand, I also realized my weaknesses. I realized that sometimes I am overly eager to do things. For example, there were so many things we wanted to talk about, and this has resulted in the situation where we couldn't fully convey and finish our presentation in time. On this, I felt sorry for my teammates because I wasn't meticulous enough and did not push for a proper rehearsal since we had a time clash. But I am glad that I came to realize these areas I can improve on, and hopefully, I can do better on the next project.

Thank you!

Thank you so much for being on the journey with me!

Please feel free to reach out if you have any comments or suggestions :)

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