Redesign The New School App

A centralized mobile app for university events and on-campus employment at The New School.

My Role

Product Designer

User Research, Information Architecture, Interface Design, Prototyping


Designed in 2022
Finalized in 2023


Individual Project


Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Pen & Paper


Project Overview
This project was created during my sophomore year at Parsons School of Design. It is designed based on the existing New School Mobile App, which intends to offer students with access to all university services. 

However, the existing app’s overabundance of features hindered its usability, and ended up contributing to a negative user experience where students find it “useless” and “confusing.”

Therefore, in 2022, I started this redesign project by asking myself this initial question of: 

 How might we improve the current New School app so it provides a better university experience for students?  


What is my goal?

The goal is to enhance students' experience in finding cross-college events, and provides easy access to on-campus jobs in a centralized mobile access point.

University information such as student events, exhibitions, news, and on-campus jobs are the top priorities in this redesigned app.
My Role
This is a self-initiated student project, and I conducted both UX Research and UX/ UI Design throughout the process.

I implemented a comprehensive user research strategy, conducting 10 in-depth interviews and collecting 54 survey responses from students ranging in 5 different schools under the New School to address user needs and pain points. 

Based on the research findings and the analysis of the existing app, I redesigned app and tested the prototypes to optimize the user experience.


Solution Overview
I redesigned the The New School App with a focus on Student Opportunities and removed features that are not usable through the mobile end.

Existing Version
Redesigned Version


Project Timeline


Defining Problems

The biggest difficulty in this study was to define the problems. Therefore, I started my research by analyzing the existing application.

What has resulted in a negative experience for students to use the existing app?

To summarize:

The major issue is the app’s imbalanced Navigation and Feature Placement.

The existing New School app's navigation bar comprises five sections: Home, Arrange, Settings, Notifications, and Search. 

The Home page is overloaded, containing the majority of the app's features. However, the other four sections are underutilized, further exacerbating this imbalance.


01 Home Page Concerns

Out of 30 features on the Home page, 16 of them are not essential for mobile users.

Crucial information like events, exhibitions, and on-campus jobs are relegated to the bottom, necessitating users to make multiple actions to view specific events.

02 Arrange Page Redundancy

80% of students reported themselves never using the Arrange feature. 
The Arrange page allows customization of the Home page's layout. However, this feature doesn't align with students' primary needs, and should not be placed in the second section from the navigation bar.

03 Misplacement of the Settings Feature

The Settings section is a less frequently accessed feature. 

However, it occupies a central position in the navigation bar, which contradicts the standard UX practices.

04 Limited Utility of Notifications and Search Pages

Notifications and Search Feature display minimal content, resulting in an unbalanced architecture. 
The notification feature in the existing app is not activated/connected to the student's account, therefore none of the students I interviewed had received any notifications in the app.

Additionally, the app lacks a functional system for students to categorize or filter notifications and search results, hindering efficient information retrieval.


The biggest issue with the existing app is the overload of contents/ features that are not frequently used by students. 
Besides that, there is a significant imbalance in the information hierarchy.


Based on the analysis of the existing app, I conducted both surveys and interviews with students at the New School to learn more about their needs.

Survey and Interview Insights
Fragmented Information

Students rely on more than 6 platforms to stay updated about events. This includes NarwhalNation, emails, TNS Newsletter, and diverse social media channels.
Platform Preference

Most students expressed a desire for a unified platform for a streamlined experience.

Due to the scattered nature of information, students often miss out on crucial updates. On-campus job listings usually gets lost among other emails.
Cross-College Isolation

Each of the 7 colleges within The New School functions in its own silo, leading to limited cross-college interaction.

Design Actions

Emphasis on University Events

66.67% of students rated that university’s news/ exhibitions/ events are their priority needs.
mobile access to On-campus jobs

55.5% of students expressed a desire for mobile access to on-campus job opportunities.
Removal of Unused Features

59.3% of students have never utilized the app's arrangement feature, suggesting redundancy. 

in Navigation bar

85% of students found the app’s navigation bar misaligned with their user habits. 
Enhance the Aesthetic of User Interface

96% of students advocated for a more visually appealing system within the app.


How might we design a mobile app that enhances the student experience, connectivity, and access to opportunities at The New School?

UX Design

User-Centric Goals

The redesign of the New School app aims to address specific challenges students face, ensuring a more engaging, efficient, and holistic experience. The following are the primary user-centric goals I aimed to achieve:

UX Design

User-Personas and User Journey Maps

I created two user journey maps for two different user case, one focused on finding university events, the other one focused on finding on-campus jobs.

Task-based User Flow 
Drawing from the insights gathered through the development of two comprehensive user journey maps, I embarked on creating an integrated task-based user flow. This approach allowed for a more structured development strategy, focusing on enhancing the user experience in finding university events and finding on-campus jobs.

Site Map
This combined user flow enables me to systematically recreate the app's sitemap. By meticulously analyzing the interactions and pathways users typically follow, I was able to identify and streamline navigation bottlenecks, thereby enhancing the overall usability of the app. 


Design and Validation

The first wireframe was created and iterated based on user feedbacks. This feedback highlights areas for improvement and revealing user preferences and pain points that were not initially apparent.


During the iterative design process, valuable feedback was collected from 4 users through observation/ usability testing with the prototype.

User Feedback and Improvements
A significant concern was the absence for users to discover cross-college events, coupled with a lack of filtering options to tailor the event information according to different event types.

This feedback underscored the need for a more versatile navigation system, prompting me to re-evaluate my approach to event categorization and search functionality. 

As a direct response, I initiated the design of enhanced filtering capabilities, aiming to enable users to sort and find events that align with their interests, thereby fostering a more inclusive and engaging user experience across the entire collegiate community.

New navigation system through different colleges under The New School and the different event types:

The text-image overlap resulted in a degradation of clarity, making it difficult for users to comprehend event details at a glance. 

Recognizing the impact this had on the user experience, I prioritized the resolution of this design flaw

By adjusting the layout, optimizing text placement, and employing contrasting colors and background blurring techniques, I improved text legibility without compromising the visual appeal of the images.

New event thumbnails:


Final Design deliverables
In December, our team pitched this redesign proposal to our product manager Scott, the pitch is very successful, and we turned this volunteer project into a on-campus position for further improvements and implementations.


Final Design Overview


Final Deliverable Highlights

01 Intuitive Event Discovery and simplified process for Event Booking

The Home page/ Discovery page, simplifies the process of finding events and opportunities at The New School. Students can fluidly navigate between different schools and types of events, enhancing their connectivity and integration across various colleges.

02 Streamlined On-campus Job Application Process

The job application page is designed to list all available on-campus job opportunities. With just one click, students can apply, increasing engagement and easing the pursuit of on-campus employment.

03 Centralized Activity Management with Book & Save

This feature acts as a personal organizer for students. It not only stores their event tickets but also keeps a tab on their saved events, job applications, and bookmarked opportunities. This comprehensive management tool simplifies tracking and planning, ensuring students stay organized and focused.

04 Personalized Student Portal

The 'Me' page enables students to upload resumes, oversee job applications, and customize app settings. This personalized portal ensures students have a tailor-made experience, aligning the app more closely with their individual needs.