IDM Floor Guide

Helping students utilize campus resource and building a dynamic community.

A comprehensive floor guide empowers students with clear information on campus resources.


IDM Hack is a floor guild book providing detailed instructions for facilities and resources to enhance student accessibility at New York University's Integrated Design and Media(IDM) program. Alongside with three team members, we went through a research-design-evaluation process, pinpointing and addressing the issue that had previously led to student's underutilization of the campus space.


We want to increase student engagement and utilization of the campus facilities and recourses. By doing so, we hope to create a vibrant community culture that will bond IDM students and enrich their experiences in the program.


Lead UX/UI Designer
Graphic Designer
UX Researcher


Meredith Binnette
Tracy Li (me!)
Amy Loo
Kaustav Sarkar


Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Figma, Miro


User Research, Interview, Information Architecture, Ideation, Usability Testing, Wireframe, Prototype, Graphic Design


Nov 2020 - Jan 2023


" I rarely see students staying on the floor. Everyone just left when class is over."                                                                                                             ————  IDM Professor

New York University's Integrated Design & Media (IDM) program is set on a floor equipped with state-of-the-art tools and spaces for student innovation and collaboration.
Despite the rich resources on the IDM floor, the area remained underutilized and barely populated — a striking discrepancy considering the lively activity on similar floors within the building.


What stops students from utilizing the floor's resources?

To understand why students do not use and stay on the IDM floor, we conducted primary research on the IDM community members’ working habits, knowledge of the campus's facilities, and overall experience on the floor.

Field Observation

Students tend to avoid special-purpose labs/rooms and operating the space's equipments.

To understand patterns of space utilization, we conducted qualitative observation of the floor. We recorded the number of students and types of activities during different times and days of the week.

  • Most students only work in their classrooms or open workspaces and avoid operating the room.
  • Many special-purpose labs were locked or occupy by staffs.
  • Floors that are more lively in the building tend to have informational signs that outlined available resources and instruction, which are missing on the IDM floor.

The heat map of students traffic on the floor

Touchstone Tours & Interviews

The common phrases we heard from students were “I don’t know” or “I am not sure.”

To better understand students' usage habit and knowledge of the campus, we conducted 9 touchstone tours with IDM community members. We asked them to take us on a tour around the IDM floor and explain the spaces' functions.

  • Most students only familiar with the spaces they have classes, events, or works.
  • Many students are not aware there are certain resources on the floor.
  • Many students don't know how to get access to the resources and don't know where to find instruction.

Example of routes taken during the tour

Secondary Research on Existed Resources

There is a lack of instructions on how to use different facilities. Lab hours and staff info is hard to find or outdated.

Some student mentioned how they don’t know the lab's regulations and there is no instruction for them to follow. We then started to collected existing information & instruction from each facilities.
The process was challenging as the information is all over the place. Each lab or facility has its own platforms, and lots of the online instructions were outdated.


The information gap on what is accessible creates barriers for students to utilize the floor.

Following the research phase, we held multiple workshops to synthesize key findings and takeaways. Our analysis revealed a significant information gap regarding space utilization and resource availability which hindered students from fully leveraging the floor's potential.


Lack of Awareness of the Floor's Resources

Students are unclear about what, where and how of the floor's resources.


Lack of Instruction on How to Access Resources

Information such as lab hours, equipments request forms, and training requirements are missing, outdated, or hard to find.


Lots of Resources are not Accessible

Lots of special-purpose rooms and labs are locked or occupied by staffs and TAs.


We could increase student engagement by bridging the knowledge gap.

A Collective Information Hub

Since the lack of information on how to access resources is the primary barrier hindering student engagement, we believed we could bridge the gap by building a information hub that offers comprehensive information on the floor's resources.

Students need to know what kinds of resources are available


Students need instruction on how to access and operate these resources

An information hub that offers comprehensive information on the floor's resources

Physical Booklet

Once we narrow down our solution to an information hub, we began to brainstorm and evaluate various solutions based on a set of criteria. Finally, we decided on creating a physical floor guide booklet.

  • Portability: Allows students to easily carry the information when navigate the space and when leaving the floor.
  • Accessibility: Doesn't rely on internet access or specific devices, ensuring a wider accessibility.
  • Engagement: Serves as a constant reminder of available resources, potentially encouraging continued exploration and interaction with the space.
  • Community Building: Possessing a shared physical object can foster a sense of belonging and shared experience among students, potentially promoting interaction and community building.


Information Architecture

Based on the IDM resources' geographic layout, functionality and student's working habit, we divided the floor guide into five chapters — Classroom, Workspace, Labs, Offices, and Others.

For each resources' page, we included comprehensive information that will help students maximize its potential — function description, hours of operation, staff info, use case ideas, inventory of available tools, QR codes to more details on registration or trainings.

Iteration + Usability Test

As our project progressed, the distinct roles within our research and design team became more defined. My task as the design lead focused on crafting the visuals and layout of the guidebook, while researchers continued research on what crucial information was previously unknown to students.

While polishing the booklet's design, we conducted 2 round of usability tests and interviews with 5 individuals to measure the guidebook's utility. Utility was measured through its capacity in addressing knowledge gaps about the IDM floor. With the feedbacks and testing results, we kept iterating the design.

Optimize Booklet Size for Usability

  • Usability tests showed the original A4 size version proved cumbersome for page turning.
  • A palm-sized booklet would enhance usability, aligning with ergonomic principles for a more intuitive flipping interaction.

Iteration #1 with a A4 size

Iteration #3 with clearer information hierarchy

Simplify & Highlight Key Information

  • Use visual cues (colour, font size, diagram) to create information hierarchy.
  • Users suggested avoid long sentences to increase readability.

Add a Way-finding Map as Book Cover

  • Some students are not familiar with the floor which indicating the need for navigation map.
  • Use the map as book cover to avoid constant flipping and searching.

The final Book Cover

Final Prototype

Visual Design & Style Guide

Results & Impact

Our floor guide garnered overwhelming support from our peers, the primary target audience and community, indicating that our finding effectively identified practical barriers students face to utilizing the floor's resources.

Encouragingly, we also received endorsements from department and program administrators, validating our approach and proposed solutions. However, our plans for publication were temporarily halted due to ongoing changes in the floor plan.

While our initial solution wasn't implemented, our efforts demonstrably influenced positive change. The administration recognized the need for improved information access and subsequently launched a centralized website, the IDM Student Handbook, solidifying the project's lasting impact on the community.


An lesson I learned from this project is the importance of early collaboration with administrators and upfront identification of practical limitations for successful project execution.

Interestingly, this project revealed a gap between student preference for a physical guide and the administration's choice of a digital solution. This underscores the crucial role of researchers in bridging the gap between user needs and stakeholder priorities.