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Start NYU


Start NYU is a website where all students, faculties, and staff to manage their accounts and security. The redesign aims to improve the usability with a contemporary design and provide users with an effortless experience to manage their identities.


UX Designer


10 Weeks


Effy Fan

Sarth Desai

Mianying Chen

Project Trajectory

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Before Redesign

User Research

We conducted research including focus group, online survey, user interview, and usability testing, and heuristic evaluation over the existing site. The participants including are students, faculty, and administrators from New York campus as well as Abu Dhabi campus.

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Key Insights

1) 76% of the users access the website through desktop.

2) Change password and set up Multi-Factor Authentication are the most important two features for users to come to the site.

3) The site is text-heavy and users often just skip all the instructions, and cannot find the information they need easily.

4) The design does not align with mind model well. For example, since the  UI is misleading, most users instinctively enter a new alternative email through this step is optional.

Cross-platform Inspirations

We also looked into how other sites deal with account management page and changing password, read about standards of a good security question. This helps us to learn from the good practices. 

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Journey Map

We mapped out the journey of the four users participating in the usability testing of the existing site. This helps us understand what are the common pain points for users.

Design Challenge Framing

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Information Architecture

We re-categorized the existing information and created a more intuitive architecture and flow.

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Low-Fidelity Design

We decided to create a low-fidelity design to test with users because we found many testers without design experience have difficulty understanding the placeholders. Also, in this context, what and how we present the information is crucial to this project  ( if the instructions are easy to understand and users can find needed information without redirecting to other sites). Therefore, we created this low- fidelity design to get feedback on the IA, flow, and what/how information to present on the screen.

Login & Activation

  • State what the page is for

  • Differentiate returning users and first-time users

  • Tell where to find NetID

  • Provide hints for NetID and password

Main Page / Home

  • Categorize all the tasks into groups

  • Add visuals to understand at a glance

Change Password

  • Requirements in bullet points and validate while user entering input 

  • Show/Hide password to reduce errors

  • Provide information what will be affected by the password change

  • Successful message to confirm change

NYU Directory

  • Show preview of current directory profile 

  • Separate view-only and editable information

  • Group similar information to make it more clear

  • Show system status to reduce uncertainty

User Testing 

  • Users all agree the new design is much more friendly to perform expected tasks. 

  • The real-time password validation helps users to create a password that meets requirements easily. However, though they all can understand the meanings of the three colors of validation status, it takes efforts. 

  • It is nice to be prepared about the time limitation of session with the timer, however, users feel anxious seeing the counting down. 

Collaborative Decisions

  • As we found users are not aware of the website and suggested to integrate with other NYU systems, we managed to integrate the site as 'Account management' in NYU Home.

  • Therefore, we changed the design towards existing NYU Home styles. 

  • NYU Home has the directory feature so we merged the directory settings with it. 

Final Design​

Interactive Prototype

Start NYU

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