UOC • University App to Create Community

This project is focused on the remote university problems and the need of the people working and studying there to create a community. It was part of my information architecture subject for the master's degree in UX Design at the Open University of Catalonia.

  • Duration: 4 months
  • Role: My role in this project was as an Information Architect. An information architect has the capacity of organizing all the information in a product or website in a usable way.
  • The Problem: The UOC was founded in 1995 as the first 100% online university in the world. One of its biggest challenges is to have the capacity to adapt to all the profiles of students who decide to embark on the adventure of distance education. Another challenge is to adequately respond to the educational needs of people who are educated throughout life, in very different circumstances and contexts. The UOC wants to form a community by fostering the sharing of experiences and points of view to favour exchange and growth.
  • The assignment: Create an app for the Open University of Catalonia that helps and connects professors and students who decide to undertake the adventure of distance education, creating community.
  • Responsabilities: Create scenarios, Design User Journey Maps, Determine the Initial Functional Requirements and Design Parameters, Design the Content Inventory, Conduct Monitorized Card Sorting, Design the Navigation Tree and User Flow, Sketching, Wireframing and Prototyping
  • Pain Point:
    • students need a way to communicate with each other to feel part of the community
    • the professors would love to help students with resources, but to do that, they need to know the languages their students understand
    • users (professors and students) want to know the events UOC or other organizations are preparing and be able to register through the app
    • being an international university, users need to know the language others speak to talk about the university, resources, or events
    • users need to have a private space where they can have personal virtual meetings
  • Software

      Adobe Indesign • Optimal Workshop • Figma

Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos

(Disclosure: these personas are part of the briefing UOC sent me)


The solution that I created for this project is focused on creating community by knowing other students and proposing a solution to their needs. In this app, users are able to study virtually together following the "Study With Me" method. Also, users are able to see what subjects are other users studying, the languages they speak and understand as well as recommend resources to others. With the solution I propose, they are also able to see all the events or reserve a place (virtually or presently). Students and professors are also able to have a virtual private meeting that can be reserved previously through the app.


In the first phase of this project, I created the Scenarios and User Journey Map, with which I was able to emphasize with the users and understand their needs. With the information provided by this phase, I was able to discover which are the information requirements to create the platform. Next, I created the content inventory. With it, I started to create the structure of a monitored card sorting in the Optimal Workshop. In this part of the process, I had to supervise the users and ask them to think out loud making sure I can identify more insights if this is the case. Later, I started to work on the navigation tree and User Flow, which gave me the ability to create the low-fidelity prototype.


Scenarios can be used in different circumstances but in this case, I used them for ideation to create brief stories about the users using my product to complete a specific task. They provide me with useful context and common ground as I attempt to come up with design solutions.

Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos
Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos
Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos
Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos

User Journey Maps

Journey Map allowed me to identify and strategize the key moments in the experience of the users with the product I was designing.

Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos
Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos
Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos
Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos

Monitorized Card Sorting

Card sorting is a research technique for discovering how people understand and categorize information. For this project, I decided to go for a monitored hybrid card sorting. In this research process, users were able to sort the given cards, but also create new ones if they felt the necessity.

Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos
Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos

Navigation Tree

By using the navigation tree to evaluate the UOC app structure, I was able to measure how easy it is for users to find items within the app.

Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos

Paper Wireframing

A wireframe is a basic outline of a digital experience, like an app or a website. There are many reasons to create paper wireframes, but the ones that always determine me to use them are: they are fast, inexpensive, let me explore lots of ideas, and narrow my focus. For this project, I had to create 21 different paper screens to show the interaction of the users with the platform.

Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos

Low Fidelity Prototype

A prototype is an early model of a product that demonstrates functionality. The goal of prototyping is to identify and solve problems related to the function of your app. I create a low-fidelity prototype to be able to make a usability study and test the flow with the users.

Image of Maaria Magdalena Balos

Next Steps

This project was an information architecture project which finished at this point, however, these are some further steps in the process:

  • create the missing screens so that the user can successfully complete all the procedures within the application
  • carry out a usability test with users, observing and noting their behaviors and reactions when interacting with the product
  • iterate in the wireframes taking into account the low-fidelity usability study insights
  • create mockups
  • create the high fidelity prototype based on mockups
  • carry out a usability test with the high fidelity prototype
  • create the final documentation

Please follow the next links to access the prototype or to see all the documentation. This project was part of my Master's Degree at the Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain. That's the main reason why all the documentation is in Spanish. Sorry about that.