cMU ID System
DEsign research, prototyping
Mapping the landscape of the CMU ID system through design research in order to address user stress points
Every CMU student has an ID card that they are issued when they move in, and they are expected to look after it for their 4+ years here. It functions as a building and room key, payment for food and other goods, printer access card, and identification card both on and off campus.
Fitting so many vital functions into one piece of plastic, however, has resulted in fundamental problems with the system. The card itself is one more item to keep track of and remember to bring, and it’s easy to lose.
For those that use the card to access their bank account(s), the loss of an ID is an even bigger deal. Inconsistent interactions across campus (swipe, tap, tap and enter PIN) complicate the relationship one has with this slice of plastic. The piece of plastic itself has a short lifespan, losing its function over time. Perhaps most pressingly, it’s ugly. The graphics on the card are not conducive to the many purposes that it serves. For such an important part of student life, it should be better designed.
• Inconsistency across interfaces - swipe, tap, tap and enter PIN, etc.
• Easy to lose, one more item to look after.
• Many attach a thick and unwieldy sticker to the back of their phones in order to not leave their IDs behind.
• Vulnerable to damages and breaks. Non-durable material and short object life span.
• Essential functions can be simplified to tapping cards.
• Magnetic stripe degrades over time and easily degrades.
• Difficult to upgrade - limited to hardware, cannot roll out security enhancements that are not terminal-based.
• Does not communicate its many functions visually as physical artifact.
• Aesthetically not pleasing.
The group categorized the research into three sections: identifying patterns and framing the research, ideating concept prototypes, and iteration through feedback. The goal of constructing our process in this structure is to identify design opportunities as we narrow down the scope of the research to specific domains.
Identifying Patterns and Framing the Research
Interview, Stakeholder Map, Territory Map
Survey form that document people’s experience with the CMU ID
Noting down various context of experiences associated with CMU ID
Chart the landscape, identify patterns, and outline the scope of the research and identify all possible design opportunities
Ideating Concept Prototypes
Wireframe (in case of app)
Paper models for physical prototyping
Push ideas further by creating physical prototypes.
Create drafts that illustrate the jist of the design concept and experience
Iteration through Feedback
Feedback from focus group
Recording for analysis
Stakeholder participants Feedback questionnaire
Incorporate feedback in next round of iteration and synthesize
The interview demonstrated that people felt they are victims of the ID system. Many people feel that it is both ineffective and costly to use the ID system. People have different preferences for holding around keys, money, photo ID, etc… The CMU ID seems to create uncomfortable experiences by forcing all these functions into one object.
Stakeholder map of cmu id system
Territory Map of CMU ID system
Territory Map demonstrating the distinct categories of ID use
Model of USer experience of Id system
Linear model of how users obtain ID to how it influences student life
I didn’t have my ID for two days and was greatly inconvenienced, not being able to perform many vital functions. Especially when I had to pick up important packages for school and couldn’t access buildings after midnight. Transportation was also a big issue. My mobility became instantly restricted and I had to borrow someone else’s ID in order to ride the bus. Without an ID many of the necessary tasks of being a student become difficult or impossible.
Everyone loses ID’s and it happens to me a lot. The most annoying part of losing an ID is having to pay $25 every time. The university designed a system in which students have to depend on the ID system but are heavily punished when they forget or lose it. If it is that costly, I wish the ID system included more features so that the cost doesn’t feel like a waste.
Throughout my four years at Carnegie Mellon University I tried out numerous alternatives to the ID. I often use CBORD for emergency but even that isn’t a reliable alternative. It is inconsistent with its performance, limits usability because I have to connect to the CMU wifi, and is only able to open doors. Many times, having a person inside notice I was outside trying to enter and opening the door was faster than waiting for the app.
Purple - On Campus
Yellow - Off Campus
Arrow - Transaction
HIGHLIGHTS OF SURVEY
1. Top 3 uses for ID card are entry to CMU buildings, public transportation, and discounts at museums and off-campus retailers.
2. Half of respondents rated the usability of ID card interactions as highest.
3. Over half of respondents carry their ID cards in their wallets; over a fourth carried it with their phones.
4. 82.4% of respondents have forgotten their IDs, over half have lost it.
5. 65.7% have used CBORD Mobile ID to replicate certain ID card functions.
6. 71.5% of respondents rated the aesthetic quality of the ID card negatively.
7. Over half of respondents want the ability to use ID to log on to campus computers, tap to pay, age verification, and a companion mobile app.
We gave users the freedom to design any type of school ID they envisioned as the ideal state. Many students began to add functions that would expand the function of the ID rather than minimizing the use of the ID only to certain purposes.
This reflects how the ID is essential for basic living as a student at CMU. Since it is a necessity, many people wish that it could also simultaneously serve all the needs of a college student.
Participants also voiced that they want sponsoring organizations to provide more perks to members of CMU. As significant members of the Pittsburgh community, students believe that the community should be promoting students to actively engage with local business.