Re-Designing CMU's Difficult Dining Experience


Fall 2012
The Mission: CMU’s dining experience was cumbersome and difficult to navigate, especially to new students. No one liked their food options, the locations, or when they were open. We wanted to better understand students’ struggle and see if we could design a solution. 

The Project Team (Emily Hacker, Samantha Freedman, and I) were tasked with researching and redesigning a current CMU system. We chose to redesign the campus dining service due to our reliance on it. Our hypothesis was that users found it diffcult to navigate the dining hall to see what their options were and what to do after getting their food. In order to investigate this, we started by surveying users and dining hall employees. Then, we shadowed users in the dining hall and tracked how they moved around the space to purchase their food. The results of our research surprised us. We revealed that users weren't bothered by the layout of the dining area, instead they were bothered by the inconvenient hours, lack of healthy options, and the lack of health information about their options.

Our solution to these issues was to add 24 hour eateries to popular study areas, change other university dining hall hours to reflect the study habits of students,  altered the menus of the dining service to serve healthier food, and added nutritional facts to all menus.

Our Process:

A sample new menu: