DIS Study Zones
Renovating student study spaces to encourage academic engagement and success.
Concept Project
DIS Study Abroad Student Hub
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My Role
Design Strategist, UX Researcher, Video Lead
Project Duration
4 Months
Awesome Team MemberS
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Academic facilities should empower students.

The effectiveness of a student's learning environment can mean the difference between a successful and engaged student or a distracted and stressed-out student.

A large portion of a university student's time  spent outside of class is studying the materials taught to them in their courses or working on collaborative projects with their peers. However, students should not have to spend time worrying about and looking for the perfect study space to accommodate their study plans.

How can we solve an issue impacting millions of students worldwide?



Our team was eager to improve the quality of life for students and in order to narrow our focus, we decided on our problem statement of “how might we redesign higher education spaces to foster creativity, collaboration, and engagement”.

To tackle the empathy phase, we chose three research methods: surveys, interviews, and observations. The reason why we decided on these methods was because it would allow us to harness our connections at our academic institution, DIS Study Abroad in Copenhagen.

Research Phase 1


To start things off, we began with a public survey in which we inquired about study habits and course experiences at DIS. We sent these out through our social media as well as individually sending them out to friends and dormmates.

Through the 23 responses we received, our initial results found that students were very frustrated with the aspects such as environment, furniture, and comfort within the classroom. From “the seats are too hard” to “I cannot read presentation words”, we decided to investigate further into classrooms. As such, we narrowed down our user interviews to focus on DIS classrooms and changed our project statement to: “How might we improve academic spaces to increase adaptability and comfort for DIS students?”

Insight: Our initial survey was helpful in narrowing down our problem and gave us an insight into general DIS student statistics. What didn’t work well was that our survey options were limited and didn’t allow for users to enter in their own views (ex. rank the following from most important to least important). This will absolutely be something we will change in the future.

Problem Identification


With our new project statement, we began reaching out to survey respondents as well as academic connections for interviews. User interviews were the most impactful out of all of our research methods. We had three rounds of interviews in total, the first being a general focus on academic spaces and the second and third focused on classrooms within DIS. During interviews, we asked students and professors about their course experiences and time at DIS. Some sample questions included what do you hate about academic spaces at DIS or what was your favorite moment while at DIS? We also included many cultural probes such as “what’s in your backpack” or “what’s the weirdest thing on your desk?”. All of these questions allowed us to gain a better understanding of what worked and didn’t work for our users as well as their personal traits.

Additionally, we embarked on multiple observations of students within classrooms. Observations were the most interesting as they consisted of us taking notes during our classes on how students and professors interacted with the classroom, for example, the fidgeting of chairs or adjusting the window blinds. From these, we confirmed what our interviews had found.

Insight: Although our findings were credible and useful, I believe we could have improved our results by rewording some of our interview questions. For example, the biggest issue we had was that when we mentioned “academic spaces”, interviewees immediately thought of classrooms rather than other aspects such as study spaces. Additionally, I think it would have been useful to observe students in classrooms outside of my field of study, such as biology classrooms to reduce confirmation or cultural bias.

How might we improve academic spaces to increase adaptability and comfort for students?



When the ideation phase began, the three of us had a flood of amazing concepts. We all were energized and full of ideas. From nap pods to a butterfly enclosure, there was no crazy idea out there that we didn’t consider. We approached this by having each individual write their own ideas and then come together to co-create. The image below describes the overview of our ideation process, going from A to B to C.

During ideation, we had two guest ideation sessions that consisted of a short individual ideation activity leading into co-creation. We joined the group as “impersonators” and provided our own ideas as DIS students.

Although the experience was positive, I do wish that we had more time to work with the groups. I felt that every time we got into the groove, the timer would ring and we had to stop the flow of amazing ideas. Additionally, I wish we were informed that the two sessions would be with two different groups. My group went in with the expectation that we would be working with one group over the two sessions and had planned around it. We had the first session to be a warm-up combining an introduction to our project, a short independent ideation session, and sugar injections, which would lead up to the second session consisting of co-creation. 



After reviewing the information we found from the guest ideation session, the group decided to pivot from classrooms to focus on study spaces within DIS. this was because we saw the passion of the students

we did the co-creation session with and how their qualms about the classrooms and DIS buildings led them to find study spaces outside of DIS. The number one complaint that stood out to us was that people felt that the DIS spaces were not useful to them. After further investigation, we found out that students were frustrated by distractions from other students such as a quiet studier being interrupted by a group working on a project. This allowed us to pivot to study spaces and categorize three user types which we nicknamed: Study, Group, and Social.



Since we had pivoted before working on a prototype, it changed our product from an informational guidebook we would submit to DIS into a simple physical implementation of signage.

Our solution was going to be the zoning of DIS spaces which was inspired by similar implementations made in our home colleges.

By separating the three user types and their differing noise levels, students could better focus on their academics without being disturbed. Most importantly, our product would be easy to implement and cost nothing to DIS. Our initial prototype would be focused around Vestergade 23 and would turn the fourth floor into a quiet study zone, the third floor into a collaborative workspace, and the DIS Hub into a social work/relax zone. Additionally, as part of our prototype, I produced a video for the project which advertised and explained our prototype. 



To test it, we showed our video to DIS students and professors, receiving significant positive feedback. Additionally, we left the quiet zone signs up on the fourth floor and successfully observed a lowering of the audio levels on the floor. We are pleased with our testing, but do hope to continue our work and pitch this idea to DIS staff.

Product Video
DIS Study Zones!
Academic spaces designed for your study needs.

Introducing the new Study zones coming to a DIS academic building near you!

For the first time, DIS students can find spaces that are specifically tailored for them and their academic purpose without any distractions.

Whether or not you want a quiet study place for that upcoming exam, a collaborative workspace for you and your group mates, or even a social gathering place, we’ve got you covered!

These new zones can be found on Vestergade 23

  • The Quiet Zone is located on the fourth floor,
  • The Collaborative Zone is located on the third floor, and
  • The Social Zone is located inside the DIS Student Hub.