Borrowing Board

The digital bulletin board
Borrowing board helps members of college communities be better lenders and borrowers

Past research which examined the experience of college students who are in LDRs versus those in in-person relationships found that those who are in LDRs are significantly less likely to engage in self-disclosure, perceived significantly lower levels of companionship, and had less positive outlooks on the relationship. This both validates the difficulties college couples in LDRs experience with communication and suggests that this area is ripe for improvement. 



Matthew Lim, Grace Barkhoff,

Sara Lin, Jack Towery


UI/UX Designer, UX Researcher

Tools Used

Figma, Cognitive Walkthrough, Heuristic Evaluation, User Personas, Empathy Maps, Heuristic Evaluation, Semi-structured interviews, 

User Group

Graduate and undergraduate college students living within campus housing.


Problem Statement

How might we better support borrowing and lending to reduce waste in college communities?


The Solution

Borrowing Board is a digital bulletin board system placed in a community common spaces. It is controlled by users who live in the building. Users can upload bulletins for lending and borrowing items as well as other moderated requests.


View bulletins posted in your residence hall

Simply scan a QR code located in a common space or go to your campus's website and enter your hall's code.

Iphone Mockup 2.png

Craft bulletins to be posted in your residence hall's common space

These posts are moderated to ensure that the bulletin board is not polluted or offensive.


Create milestones & important reminders

Track of important dates related to your relationship. Record anniversaries, past meaningful trips, reminders to write each other notes, and future meetup dates.

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Look through past notes to reminisce

Open your love jar to find all the notes your loved one has previously sent you. Watch videos and photos they have attached with personal messages.


Create notes with lovingly crafted prompts

Show your love for your significant other with our diversity of psychology-backed prompts. From lighthearted to meaningful, our app helps your relationship shine.


The Process

The end-to-end design process of Borrowing Board.

1. Defining the Problem Space

Understanding the problem space that we are addressing, its set of pertinent users, and the issues and constraints that are involved in the problem.

Literature Review, User Characteristics, User Goals, Market Analysis, Stakeholder Analysis

2. Gathering Requirements

Conducting exploratory user studies and developing design requirements.

Surveys, Semi-Structured Interviews, Task Analysis, Personas, Storyboards, Empathy Map

3. Ideating Designs

Turning requirements into potential products.

Ideating w/ Design Sketches, Storyboards

4. Wireframing and Feedback

Mocking up our design ideas and receiving feedback to filter and improve them.

Figma, Wireframing

5. Prototyping Evaluation and Validation

Receiving feedback and evaluating our prototype.

Figma, Prototyping, Heuristic Evaluation (4), Cognitive Walkthrough (4), System Usability Studies (4)


1. Defining the problem space

Our primary user group will be Georgia Tech students who currently live in on-campus dormitories or off-campus student apartments that are close to campus. Our secondary user group will be the spouses and children of Georgia Tech students. As a research-oriented university, Georgia Tech has just over 20,000 graduate students enrolled according to the latest U.S. News Student Life report. This large population of graduate 

Using those goals and characteristics, we conducted a literature review and a market analysis. We were able to see what was lacking in these platforms already on the market.


Literature Review

In order to be better aware of any ethical implications of our work, we researched the larger context in which the product would act, like the social/physical setting of college and the psychology behind romantic relationships.

College campuses cater to student populations, which have been surveyed to prefer WIFI over laundry and even utilities.

90% of public university students and 87% of private non-profit universities are under 25 years old.

Colleges provide stressors for relationships in the form of alcohol abuse, participation in college activities, loneliness, and academic stress.

Dating culture has more recently turned to digital means, with around 30% of Americans 18 to 29 using digital dating apps.


Market Analysis

We also searched for applications in the problem space and evaluated how well they supported our user goals and characteristics. These products are Streetbank, GT Thrift Shop, and Nextdoor respectively.


2. Gathering Requirements

During this stage we conducted user research in the form of surveys, semi-structured interviews, and hierarchical task analysis. From there we distilled the results, using affinity mapping, into insights and user needs which we framed as design requirements.


User research

User Interviews

We conducted 7 total semi-structured interviews of our target population. 3 were female and 4 were male. We asked questions about difficulties and benefits of their long distance relationship, communication methods, and how communication impacted their relationship.

Hierarchical Task Analysis

We broke down how users video call with their partner and perform a relationship check-in to better understand each process.


Distilling Insights

We created an affinity map and "Walked the Wall" digitally to find insights. Find our digitized affinity map here.


Key Insights

Created from groupings on the affinity map.

1. Asynchronous communication is vital but not as good as synchronous communication.

2. People use a variety of platforms to communicate a variety of information.

3. Alone time is a big benefit of long distance relationships.

4. Partners are  aware of each other's "love languages".

5. Partners need a variety of fun and serious conversation topics.

6. Texting leads to frequent miscommunication.

7. Video calls create a "shared experience" where both partners are doing the same thing at the same time.

8. Not planning for physical meetups in a long distance relationship leads to breakups.


Design Requirements

From the generated insights, we created a list of design requirements that would guide our design ideation.

Users can send asynchronous messages

Users can save memories to view at a later time

Two users are part of a private group

The product should make the users feel safe


3. Ideating Alternatives

In this stage, we brainstormed two ideas and generated storyboards for each. These ideas were a digital bulletin board and "venmo for borrowing".



After sketching out brainstormed ideas, our team filtered the ten ideas down to two that best met the design requirements and storyboarded them. These are shown below separated by white text over black by idea. Click right to see more of the storyboards.


4. Wireframing and Prototyping

For this section, we created a wireframe of our final product and a visual design language for an eventual prototype. Once this was completed, we developed the wireframe into a full prototype.


Visual Design Language Study

The visual design language was headed by Grace Barkhuff and Jack Towery. In order to develop the visual design language, a comparative visual design study was conducted on six relationship-related applications: LoveNudge, Between, Tinder, Whatsapp, TouchNote, Google Duo. 


Glow's Visual Design Language



Work on the final prototype itself was lead by me and Grace Barkhuff. This prototype adheres to the researched visual design language.


5. System Evaluation

Finally, we conducted a discount heuristic evaluation and system usability survey, with expert evaluators on our prototype.


Evaluation Methods & Results

System Usability Scale

The system usability scale survey was conducted after the heuristic evaluation and cognitive walkthrough. The resulting system usability score calculations were 67.5, 62.5, 95, 87.5. The average score for system usability scales is 68 and the average score of our system was 78.

Heuristic Evaluation

Evaluators went through a list of ten usability heuristics and described issues with the prototype. The results were recorded and grouped on a miro board.

Cognitive Walkthrough

The cognitive walkthrough was done in conjunction with the heuristic evaluation to allow the user to view several functions while evaluating the system freely. The tasks required by the cognitive walkthrough were: 

  • Set up your account 

  • Send a love note

  • View a message you have previously received 


A special thanks

Of course, this project was a collaborative effort and I want to thank my team: Sara Lin, Jack Towery, and Grace Barkhuff. It was truly a tremendous effort in a difficult time. Please check out their portfolios.