Booked App

UX/UI Design
Booked is a mobile app that gives York University students a simple platform for buying and selling used course materials to and from each other. This version of the Booked App is a complete redesign using data and user research from an older group project completed in 2019.
Create an app related to the York University Bookstore
UX/UI Design
User Interviews & Testing
Adobe Illustrator
Ben Ginsberg
Celena Liu
Karilyn Xu

The Problem

"How might we help YU students save time, money and stress in acquiring their course materials?"

Shopping for course materials at the YorkU Bookstore usually means long lines, big crowds and high prices. Many students opt to shop for second hand materials online instead. However, although students may be able to find better deals, the process is complicated, tedious and involves multiple platforms.

The Solution

Booked is a mobile app that gives York University students a simple platform for buying and selling used course materials to and from each other.

Building Empathy

User interview insights
We interviewed undergraduate students who bought or sold used course materials online to gain a better understanding of their experiences, needs and pain points. We used thematic analysis to identify trends in their responses.
Finding Buyers
Buyers use a variety of platforms whereas nearly all sellers only use Facebook groups. Buyers and sellers are missing each other due to not being in the same groups.
Finding Your Booklist
Students must use the YU Bookstore site to check for booklists. To search for them on other platforms they must manually record the titles, a major pain point.
Crucial Product Details
If the post doesn't mention price, condition or if it has no photos buyers feel much less likely to message the seller.
Looking to Save
The biggest motivation for buying used course materials online was to save money.
Multiple Platforms
Most students used two to three platforms in their search for used course materials. The two most common were Facebook groups and Amazon.
competitive analysis
We conducted a competitive analysis of the existing user journey using Facebook as the main platform. Using data from our analysis and information gathered from the user interviews, we created a current state customer journey map.
user Journey Map


Data from the two stages of user research were analyzed and consolidated into three user personas that acted as representations of key audience groups.
Persona 1, Hogan Kanu, A young black man smiling
Hogan Kanu
Second Year, Business
"I want to get my course materials as cheaply as possible and sell my old materials to cover the costs. My priority is staying on budget"
Hogan is on a very tight student budget. He's also resourceful and business-savvy. He wants to stretch his budget by selling his old course materials to cover the costs of the new ones. He doesn't mind putting in effort to save money but would like if it was easier to find a deal.
  • Get the cheapest deal possible on his course materials
  • Easily compare prices of different options
  • Sell his used course materials, ideally at a high price to cover the costs of new materials
Personality Traits
  • Frugal
  • Resourceful
  • Business-Savvy
  • Analytical
Pain Points
  • Checking multiple platforms
    and groups is tedious and
  • Comparing prices in multiple groups is not convenient
Persona 2, Jessica Perl, A young white woman smiling
Jessica Perl
Third Year, Chemistry
"I want to sell my course materials and I need the process to be efficient since I'm really busy"
Jessica is a busy high-achiever. She's got a lot on her plate preparing for classes and extra-curriculars. She wants to get rid of her old course materials to make room for her new ones but doesn't want to distract herself from her packed schedule. Money is a factor for her but she is happy as long as she sells.
  • Get rid of her old course materials to make room for her new ones
  • Spend as little time and effort as possible on selling her course materials
  • Cover some of this semester's course material expenses
  • Needs time to focus on her studies and other commitments
Personality Traits
  • High-Achieving
  • Multi-Tasker
  • Organized
  • On-The-Go
Pain Points
  • Posting to multiple platforms takes too much time
  • Having a hard time finding buyers but not sure why
Persona 3, Ryeong Lee, a young asian girl smiling
Ryeong Lee
First Year, Humanities
"I want the process of getting my course materials to be as straight-forward and simple as possible"
She is new to school and is feeling overwhelmed with beginning her first semester. She isn't even sure where to get her booklist. She'd like to save on her course materials but she isn't sure where to start.
  • Feel organized and prepared for her first year of classes
  • Get more familiar with York and the YU community
  • Obtain her course materials without stressing out
Personality Traits
  • Eager
  • Tentative
  • Optimistic
  • Beginner
Pain Points
  • Obtaining list of course materials is not straight-forward
  • Waiting for access to groups she is not a part of is stressful
  • Knowing which books are essential or optional

Requirements and MVP

Next, I created a list of requirements, including the priority of the function using MoSCoW analysis, in order to determine the MVP.
MVP Features
Browse Listings
Users will be able to see and browse items that are for sale
Users will be able to search for specific course materials
Post Listings
Users will be able to post their used course materials for sale
Message Users
Users will be able to message each other for product details or to make offers

Site Map

Initial Designs

Low and mid-fidelity wireframes
Low and mid-fidelity wireframes were created based on the screen map and user scenarios of key functions. Below the user scenarios are displayed as mid-fidelity wireflows.

Key Features

Login with passport york
Users will require a Passport York ID to register. This ensures they are a York student, verifies their identity and also allows the app to access their course list.
Browse your courses
The app is able to find and display a user's personalized course materials list, which it displays under the search bar for quick access.
The message inbox is organized into buying and selling categories. Recent offers are displayed for quick reference in the inbox along with offer status.
User reviews
Users can review each other. A user's rating and response rate is listed at the top of their profile in order to give an idea of their response activity and general trustworthiness.
Add a listing
Users can add a listing easily by filling in the designated fields manually or by scanning the barcode to autofill. Form fields were determined by what buyers reported as crucial information during our user interviews.


Research Plan

research goals
  • Understand the overall user experience and usability of the Booked app
  • Investigate user needs and goals with a broader range of target users, specifically graduate and post-graduate students
  • Gauge the popularity of online course materials in our target user groups
research methods
  • Surveys
  • Moderated Usability Tests
  • User Interviews
For usability, I would like to conduct a 30 minute usability test to evaluate our user’s experience of our app. Users will be given a set of specific tasks to complete in a moderated setting. A secondary method will be to conduct one-on-one user interviews to better understand our user's needs and pain points.

I would also like to conduct a survey of York University students to have a better understanding of the popularity of digital course materials. Some questions to consider:
  • Are students using digital textbooks?
  • Do students prefer digital texts over physical copies? Why or why not?
  • Have students tried to sell digital textbooks? 
Target Users
  • York university students in undergraduate programs
  • York university students in graduate and post-graduate programs
  • Of any age or gender expression
  • Taking at least 2 courses that require course materials
  • Have either bought or sold used course materials in the past two years, ideally online
  • Moderate level of technical literacy, should be comfortable operating mobile apps

Research Plan

The app has not yet gone through user testing. This research plan is in preparation of this next step.

Visual Language

The two goals of the visual language was firstly for the app to feel straight-forward and clear, and secondly, for the app to feel a part of the YorkU ecosystem. Colors were kept to a minimum with York's official red color used for accents only. For type I used a well-structured, readable sans serif with a strong type hierarchy.
Primary Color
RGB 225, 33, 61
CMYK 0, 85, 73, 12
RGB 255, 255, 255
CMYK 0, 0, 0, 0
RGB 43, 43, 43
CMYK 0, 0, 0, 83
RGB 151, 151, 151
CMYK 0, 0, 0, 41
RGB 151, 151, 151
CMYK 0, 0, 0, 23
IBM Plex Sans Regular
IBM Plex Sans SemiBold
IBM Plex Sans Bold
Buttons and Icons
Primary Button
Secondary Button