MyKU Redesign: Cases Study

UI/UX Design
Student Project


MyKU is The University of Kansas' portal that provides KU students direct links to any and all needs that the students may have. MyKU is currently cluttered, difficult to find and search for links and unused by KU students. My Interaction Design Class wanted to fix this problem and create a more enjoyable and helpful portal for The University of Kansas.

The Teams:

★ Interaction Design Team: Carly Hummel, Kaitlyn Jerome, Kristina Rasmussen, Jihoon An, Abigail Harris, Shysta Pandey, Sophia Schippers and Jenna Spanswick

Design Management Team: Justin Brown, Maria Cardona, Kaitlyn Jerome and Kristina Rasmussen

My Group's Role

  • Collaborate with my group, others in class and Professor Michel Eckersley
  • Design the interface of the portal
  • Use the persona of "Peter" as a guide for the UI and Interaction of the portal
  • Design within the guidelines of our user research and strategy
  • Meet deadlines in and outside of the class room

The effort was proposed to understand the digital experience of university students and how that experience might be enhanced by particular qualities and characteristics of an institutional online application. The Interaction Design team focused on the front end user experience offered by a portal or dashboard feature tied to individual student accounts and capable of being personalized to student needs and unique interests. The Design Management and Strategy team applied practical behavioral economic (BE) principles and best practice Waveline journey mapping techniques to encourage student engagement and track and foster better and more constructive student interactions with the university.

Proposed Design Strategies:

  • Appeal to Individual Identity: Students should see themselves as empowered and informed to plot their student careers, as reflected in his or her own personalized portal/dashboard
  • Avoid Information Overload, User Overwhelm: Student sees relevant information on their portal/dashboard when it is most needed
  • Bandwagon Effect: People tend to do or believe things because many other people do or believe the same
  • Anticipation of Rewards: People are more excited by the prospect of a reward than the reward itself.  This anticipation can contribute to addictive behavior
  • Endowment Effect: People tend to value things they own more than others value them-this can include abstract things such as ideas and beliefs
  • Identity: Although people view themselves (their feelings, mind sets, thoughts, behaviors, values and priorities) as internally consistent for the most part, they have several transitional identities throughout the day. Context and the way things are positioned relative to those identities can radically affect how people behave

Possible Opportunities:

  • Align the desired outcome with the user’s identity
  • Create a feeling of ownership and connection, prompting the portal's frequent use
  • Reflect and engage the individual instead of the student body
  • Onboarding to personalize pertinent information (Identity) (Endowment Effect)
  • Visualized academic path (Identity)
  • Interaction with those who identify as part of the same community (Identity)(Bandwagon)
  • Checkable To-Do Lists (Anticipation of Rewards)

Strategy – Avoid overwhelming amounts of information:

  • Ensure the student sees relevant information
  • Organize resources in a simple, accessible, and fun way
  • "Resource of the day" that student can’t eliminate in their portal
  • Major specific class suggestions - academic path guidance
  • Calendar mergers so all events are in one place
  • Smart system that pops up checklists when needed
  • Visualized path for academics
  • Customization will also remove extraneous information that does not apply to specific students
User Personas

Ethnographic interviews of 28 KU students (and alums) yielded a substantial qualitative data set which, in turn, was shaped into three composite user persona models used in this study


  • Age: 19
  • Occupation: KU student
  • Year: Freshman
  • Major: English
  • Minor: Art History
  • Hometown: Topeka, Kansas
  • Personality: Shy, driven and inquisitive


  • On-campus dining
  • On-campus social groups
  • On-campus living amenities


  • Make new friends
  • Live autonomously in a successful
  • Maintain a high GPA


  • Search terms are too specific on the current MyKU
  • Doesn't understand the current MyKU icons

Touch Points:

  • Very new to his surroundings at KU
  • Focused on school and his academic success
  • Interested in developing new skills in and outside of the classroom

Tasks Needed for MyKU:

  • Loading Beak 'em Bucks
  • Check's dining hall menus
  • Knowing what is due and when for each of his classes
  • Making appointments with his advisor


  • Age: 21
  • Occupation: KU student & desk assistant
  • Year: Junior
  • Major: Aerospace Engineering
  • Hometown: Beijing, China
  • Personality: Friendly, Focused and passionate


  • Tutoring
  • Keeping track of assignments, classes and GPA
  • Transportation
  • Access to health care in America, though the University


  • Make connections outside of academics
  • Be prepared for the work world
  • Maintain a high GPA


  • Relearning MyKU tools
  • Too hard to find the correct links
  • Not helpful and informational

Touch Points:

  • Checking Blackboard and grade progress/reminders on her phone
  • Finding other activities outside of her major
  • Keeping track of her pay from her on-campus job

Tasks Needed for MyKU:

  • Completing online homework
  • Checking her Degree Progress Report (DPR)

Key takeaways from the user research:

  • Students using the my.ku portal are usually confused about the navigability of the site
  • There is not a clear representation of resources available to students, and a majority of students are unaware that my.ku resources can be customized for them individually
  • There needs to be a clear, quick overview of the student’s primary area(s) of academic, career interest

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