Empowering students by modernizing the YSDN equipment borrowing system

Run on paper, the current equipment system creates barriers for design students to reach their true potential due to the lack of alignment in inventory and with staff. Equipd is an accessible digital borrowing platform allowing students to explore equipment smoothly and to allow staff to manage inventory efficiently.



Designer —Leading Research, User Testing, Executing Visual + Interaction Design Flows

Researching, Concepting, User Testing, Visual Design



Three Months

Four Months



Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, Figma, InVision

Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, Figma, InVision



Three Designers (Zachery Eng, Carolyne Gogogta, and me)

Three Designers (Zachery Eng, Carolyne Gogogta, and me)


York University & Sheridan College Joint Program in Design (YSDN) provides an inventory of cameras, recording equipment, lighting, and tablets for students to use. However, with irresponsible students maintaining equipment and deadlines, items result being lost, damaged, or overdue. Additionally, with an outdated paper-run system, the limited selection elevates the frustration for all parties even further.


Equipd maintains a stress-free environment by providing an accessible digital platform for the YSDN community to produce successful projects. Students can easily access a wide inventory while being able to loan and reserve equipment ahead of time. For monitors, they can track inventory for availability and have a streamlined sign-in/sign-out process. Lastly, for admin, they additionally can penalize those who fail to meet the system’s terms of use to emphasize urgency.




With a team of 3, we were all involved with the research, ideation, and implementation phases of the project. As we had to consider multiple stakeholders, I was responsible for improving the Monitor flow, while aligning with the team constantly to ensure address any concerns and to maintain consistency in the product experience.


As current design students who have also experienced this problem, we completely understood the frustrations of the system. However, with these premade assumptions, we wanted to dive fresh into the problem by getting to know what other students, staff, and administrators thought in order to understand the bigger picture. After interviewing, I lead the assembly and our findings into a PACT Analysis, Personas, and Journey Maps to visualize the picture even further to focus on specific questions to target our user's needs. 

Frustration Chart-min

Examples of frequent frustration occurances —emphasis on the paper (Equipment Loan Agreement Form) being constantly used throughout the system

Quick statistics gathered from interviews and closely with clients


In damages and purchasing new equipment


The DSLR Camera to YSDN Population Ratio


Rate of equipment being returned on time


Based on the feedback we gathered from each type of user; we analyzed the main pain-points and how our product could establish value by asking ourselves this question:

How might we reimagine an inventory system that can align YSDN students, monitors, and administration together in order to create a stress-free environment?


  • Accessible & Inclusive — anyone in YSDN can easily loan equipment securely

  • Controllable — to establish a strict system for students to follow and technicians to manage

  • Efficiency — to save time for all parties by establishing a streamlined loaning and returning process


  • Stress-Free Environment — students can focus more of their time and mental energy on what matters most; their projects

  • Opportunity to Grow — having the proper equipment, students can feel more confident to produce their work up to their true potential

  • Recognition for Success — students and the YSDN program can be recognized through producing award-winning work


With these goals in mind, we brainstormed a site map along with a feature list in order to understand how the system could work in a broader lens while considering the 3 target audiences.

System Requirement Chart-min

My contributions consisted of developing the User Dashboard for all user types, as well as the Check-In and Check-Out flow for Monitors/Technicians. We also experimented on a variety of different styles to capture the overall visual approach.

Group 7-min
Group 18-min
High-Fel v1 —Student-min
Student Dashboard — Borrow-min

Overall progression of the design for the student flow


We got an opportunity to grab real feedback from all our target audiences —3 students, 2 monitors, and 1 technician by organizing real-life scenarios and tasks for them to execute while exploring our system, all while they spoke aloud their thoughts. Through this, we received very constructive feedback which we understood the main problem better as well as direct our product to the next step.


  • Less is more —evaluating the number of touch-points and time spent, the flow could be more efficient

  • Establish copy with visuals —with a lack of initial focus in copy, some of the users got confused regarding relating certain tasks with the screens


With everyone in the team was working on different features, we established an overall design system to assure everything produced was visually aligned together, as well as to let the visual elements convey a 'friendly' and 'welcoming' voice throughout the experience. This includes having one vibrant colour to prioritize focus. For further details, feel free to view it here.


With frequent barriers in alignment and a proper management system, Equipd empowers the YSDN community by providing a stress-free environment through its efficient lending and returning process, as well as its controllable dashboard to manage the latest equipment. Managing such a complex inventory system, all use cases have to be considered in order to avoid the same initial barriers again.

Monitor Flow:
Lending a camera to a student

Including scanners into the experience, monitors can easily go through the flow without manually entering credentials. By inquiring details such as the lens cap and batteries, will ensure maintenance by providing documentation of the camera unit. Students will also receive an emailed copy of their transaction for future reference.

Monitor Flow:
Student returning a camera with damage

Once the equipment is reported, the system will immediately notify the administration in order to get the equipment fixed and back on the shelves again.

Monitor Flow: 
Handling Overdues

Applying overdue payments into the system will enforce stricter eligibility towards students with consistent late returns. This will ensure products will be returned on time and can be used by the next student.

Promotional Video

Highlighting features of our site for our future audiences to understand its value by providing a walkthrough in our the entire platform.


Maintaining a focus while looking at both the bigger picture & the little details

Designing an entire system for a variety of users can seem daunting, as the number of problems and factors between parties all intertwines with one another. However, understanding more of these user problems while conducting user testing, revealed our approach towards aspects of our product. In regarding my contributions, it was interesting to learn how I focused more on the little details of the Dashboard while straying away from how this feature was going to affect other aspects of the system.

Sometimes it's understandable to be caught on the little details and it’s not always necessarily a terrible thing. However, what I’ve realized is, it's absolutely crucial to always result back to the bigger picture. Always and always, asking yourself —why? and prioritizing the user needs towards the established goals. If not having a proper design process and forgetting to address even just one target audience, the entire system would not even be functional, yet wouldn’t make it into deployment. Discovering this through user testing was extremely informative and validated how much I still desire to keep growing as a budding designer.

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Let’s collaborate together! — rhtcheng@yahoo.ca

© Rachel Cheng, 2019