Vlad's Portfolio Site


A Pick-Up Game Finder App Case study




UX Designer


06/2017 – 12/2017


Mobile app

In this project, I’ve identified that many college students fail to exercise regularly for two reasons, fear of going alone and uncertainty about how to.

This project, Quick-Up is an application that allows students to find & create pick up games of club sports based on their availability and skill.

Below you’ll find my process in first identifying the problem, narrowing the target users with the use of personas then finally go through an iterative design process.

This project was for a course on Interaction Design at the University of Michigan.

The Problem

Today, many college students exercise by participating in an organized sport. This creates a sense of rigidness and long-term commitment that does not fit within a student’s irregular schedule. In addition to this, intramural games do not consider the skill level of all players which makes it difficult for students to enjoy playing with similarly skilled people.


I started with researching the problem area through a literature search, narrowing the focus, and then narrowing the target users in which led me to interview and survey a sample of target users. I’ve created a set of personas based on this preliminary research.


  • - Doesn’t have much time but his favorite form of exercise is playing basketball and soccer

  • - Has tried intramural teams but has to miss a lot of games and feels bad for his team.
  • - Enjoys meeting new people when he plays.


  • - Used to play sports in high school and college but stopped after transferring schools.

  • - Considers herself to be really good at certain sports. Wishes she could play with others of similar skill.

  • - Has a hard time finding other girls to play with. Sometimes guys don’t want to play with her because she’s a girl.


  • - Has trouble sticking to an exercise regimen. But sometimes plays sports when invited.

  • - Whenever his friends want to play sports, Sam isn’t able to.

  • - Tried intramural teams but is turned away from them because of the upfront costs to play.

The Process

My design process has been anything but linear. I followed an iterative

process which allowed me to try a lot of designs often. By following key

principals from a participatory design method, I was able to involve

users and receive constant feedback to improve my final


Initial Sketching

Based on the original problem statement, I sketched out different solutions that would help students exercise easier.

Using these sketches, I interviewed potential users and got their feedback on each solution, I spoke with 3 people.

Pivot and Iterate Sketches

This is where I converged my problem statement because after talking with peers, I had discovered that my focus was too broad for a single solution.

Therefore, I pivoted and tested new solutions and narrowed them down to a single solution, quick-up.

These are the sketches from those results.

Paper Prototype

The result of the previous paper sketches and interviews with my users led me to create a paper prototype and see how users interacted with the prototype.

I used this paper prototype to test it with 5 new users.

Primary functionality

Quick-Up was designed with one primary thing in mind–help the user find and play a game faster.

The main functionality of the application is the ability to either join a pick-up game that someone else created or create one that is specific to their needs.

When searching to join a game, it considers the distance of the game, when it was created and how many players are needed.

High Fidelity Screens

Using Sketch & InVision I was able to create a high fidelity click-through prototype.

Big Design Findings

Here are the top 3 findings from going through my process that I want to highlight.

Finding #1: Social Aspects

The biggest change I made was incorporating a more informative social profile into my solution. At the beginning of my process, I had brushed the idea of social profiles because I was creating an application for people to play sports, not to date.

Finding #2: Skill Level

Another major finding was the idea of implementing aligning to skill and custom play preferences. When discussing with users, they mentioned that they refrain from playing sports because didn’t know who they can play with because of their skill level or being afraid to start because they’re “not that good”.

I also played around with color accessibility here by adding patterns to differentiate skill levels with more than just by color.

Finding #3: Monetization

An area that had major deviations from the original idea was adding monetary incentives for people to exercise.

An early design I briefly tested was to partner up with local business to provide coupons & other incentives that promoted continued engagement.


Biggest Difficulty

Overall, the biggest problem I faced was early on in my process. My

problem statement targeted too large of a population with various

backgrounds. Therefore, I had to take a step back and focus on a

narrower problem statement.

My Role as a Designer

The three areas of my design philosophy that I kept up within my design process were, focus on user needs, avoid user’s frustrations, and eliminate personal biases.

User's Needs

The one key ideology that stayed true, was that I had to understand my users before I could design for them.

Considerations For the Future

Some things that had to be avoided were, creating solutions where users would be socially judged, exercising/playing alone, and getting bored with repetitive tasks.

I also had to try to avoid any of my own bias because that would

interfere with the results of the project. Which I had failed. So I

iterated and learned. Monetary rewards didn’t work. Additionally, I had to keep in mind that I am not my users and I cannot design for myself.

Social Impact

My goal was to create a solution that got students to exercise to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease. I realized that after testing my final prototype, there is an additional impact. That exercise could be fun and easy. With further development of this project, I would focus on testing the current features with more users.