My Role

September 2018-December 2018

Lauren Black
Fei Huang
Eva Li
Frank Zheng

NUVO Network & Sheridan College (Academic collaboration)
Lead user researcher & service designer


The Challenge

How might we improve the productivity and functionality of NUVO's workspaces for their users?
NUVO Network is a new coworking space in Burlington, Ontario looking for ways to make their experience better for their users as they grow and expand.

Our team was asked to carry out a major UX research study over a four-month period. At the end of these four months, a final solution proposal was given to the executive team at NUVO Network.

Reducing ambiguity in service delivery

Our team connected a colour-coded way-finding system to define each of NUVO's spaces' purposes, locations and user groups.

This system would be used to identify each room, and would also be used during the on-boarding process to help orient users to unfamiliar types of workspaces.

The service redesign in action

1. Provides more predictable service availability for businesses and facilitate independent work by enabling teams to find and reserve meeting spaces.

2. Helps creatives to network and collaborate without fear of disturbing others by creating designated networking spaces.

3. Helps freelancers with changing needs to book spaces on a short-term basis.

4. Assists new users in orienting themselves to the spaces, and knowing which services
5. Encourages potential NUVO users to explore the spaces, and easily understand the possibilities available to them when using NUVO’s spaces and services

All of this leads to: users being more likely to purchase and retain a membership

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Our primary research question

"What does a productive workspace mean to the users of coworking spaces?"


Our team facilitated research sessions onsite at NUVO Network multiple times over a period of 3 weeks.

Research Methods Used

1. Stakeholder interviews and observations

We asked participants (NUVO users and employees) a series of questions about work styles, their personal conceptions of productivity, and their experiences at NUVO in general.

2. Cognitive Mapping

Our team had participants choose a space in NUVO and draw it from memory, indicating significant areas, places they frequently use and areas that they avoid. We then asked follow-up questions to gain insight into the drawings they created.

3. Camera Journals

The camera journals involved giving each participant a camera, and asking them to document a few hours of their day at NUVO through photos. We then conducted a follow-up interview to speak with participants about the photos, and their thoughts on their workday overall.

Imagining the future of NUVO Network: synthesis of insights

Since we conducted many research sessions, we had a significant amount of data to pull insights from. We broke all of our key quotes and participant artifacts into 4 categories: atmosphere, privacy, on-boarding, and collaboration.

The Key Insights

1. Members at NUVO are often apprehensive to use NUVO’s spaces other than the hot desks, primarily because they didn’t get enough on-boarding to feel comfortable. This reduces their satisfaction with their coworking membership.

2. The lack of privacy within the NUVO Network coworking spaces creates a stressful environment for users, who have differing privacy requirements to match different goals.

3. NUVO is contending with clashing user types: independent workers/ freelancers are trying to co-exist with larger businesses. This also leads to different work styles: independent/private versus networking and collaborative ways of working.

Journey Maps

We then created journey maps of different users' experiences using the coworking spaces at NUVO.

Mapping and wayfinding for NUVO spaces

The solution is a system of explaining and mapping the spaces at NUVO so that users can identify which spaces work for their needs. It assigns a name and colour to each type of space, which can be displayed to users in a variety of ways  (e.g. a map, a display next to each door etc.)


This projected culminated in our team pitching our solution to the NUVO Network executive team, where it was commended for its balance of new ideation with implementability, and a focus on improving existing service delivery rather than a full overhaul.
Our team with the client team on pitch day

Key takeaways & next steps

←Back to previous projectGo to next project →