Internship at IBM Canada, Fall 2014


My role

I was working at IBM Toronto lab on the Web Tasking project. My job includes:

  1. Planning/preparing/conducting in-lab user testing sessions (Tool used: Morae)
  2. Gather and analyze testing results and generate reports
  3. Create design assets and style guides to the development team

I was awarded 'Innovator of the Year' at IBM CASCON 2014.

Project 1: Designing for Internet Of Things -A smartcase idea for business traveler

I was teaming up with 3 Senior Designers from IBM for a one day Design Hack. We work together and designed a conceptual smartcase.


Everyone talks about Internet of Things and Big Data. We all seeing how devices like smartphones are playing an important role in our life. However, is smartphone really that smart? How about other devices?

Up until this day, devices still need us to give them orders and then they respond, but they still couldn’t solve problems just by themselves. For example, why can’t the coffee maker know when I have gotten out of my bed and start making coffee for me? Why do I still need to press that button and wait for my coffee?

The IBM Design Internet of Things Hackday is about making stuff talk to each other and solve problems experienced by people. Our group of four designers was focusing on this persona -- Sara Dey, a young business traveler who hopes her suitcase was smarter.

 Persona: Sara Dey

Persona: Sara Dey


  • Needs to ensure essential items accompany her on the trip, based on duration, climate and activities.

  • Needs real-time information about her journey to make informed decisions.

  • Needs to ensure all her items are accounted for throughout the journey.


  • Wants to spent the least amount of time preparing and departing.

  • Wants to make informed decisions during her journey.

  • Wants to ensure all personal items are accounted for at all times.



Sara travels a lot with her suitcase, and she always complains about it. We first started with the empathy map -- We put ourselves on Sara’s position. What problems she faces when she travel? What was her thoughts? How did she deal with the situation?

 Empathy Map

Empathy Map

Empathy map helps us understand user's needs. We then moved to the journey map. We tried to break down Sara’s business trip into details, listing out all the possible problems she’s facing. We divided Sara’s trip into 3 stages: pre-trip, during the trip and returning from trip.

 Journey Map

Journey Map

 Narrowing down problem Areas

Narrowing down problem Areas

By narrowing down problem areas, it is clear that the suitcase caused a lot of troubles for Sara.

We decided to improve the suitcase using Internet of Things technology to make it into a smartcase.


Then, we moved on to craft 3 hills. Hills is the user-centric statements that define the mission and scope of a release. It is a method from IBM design thinking that helps designers to focus on solving problems. We pull out three hills from the problem areas we previously generated.

 The Hills method

The Hills method



 How the  smartcase  would work

How the smartcase would work


Solution – TravelSmart Suitcase

A chip-based tag that is attached to any ordinary suitcase, and it’s turned into a TravelSmart suitcase.

  • This suitcase knows:
  • Contents (What are the stuff in the suitcase?)
  • Weight (How heavy is the suitcase?)
  • Size (How big is the suitcase?)
  • It can talk to:
  • The suitcase app
  • Stuff around
  • Airport tracking system


Here's some of the feedback we get from other designers:

“I can't wait for something like this to be designed. I'm not a business traveler but I do enjoy traveling with my family and for sure this will be an amazing help for mommies with little ones leaving things behind ;) “
“Super preso, super idea. Loved how well articulated the design thinking was. The suitcase smart tags would be useful for many other users too (I travel infrequently for vacations and almost always leave something behind in hotel room :)”

Project 2: Scribble on IISE.

I help designed Scribble on IISE, a web app for users to do web tasking.


User Testing

At the beginning, I was asked to conduct user testing on Scribble version 1.0.

 Scribble version 1.0

Scribble version 1.0

Around 15-20 people were interviewed. Every user was given 2 tasks and we measure the time they spent on each task to calculate the successful rate.

 User testing data

User testing data

Here're some key highlights from the results:

  • Some features in the app were very difficult to find. Among ~20 people we tested, none of them was able to find the feature. 
  • People are having trouble putting tasks into the right category, because people coming from various culture backgrounds and having different understanding of certain vocabulary.



We collected the results from user testing and start designing the next version based on the results.

 Wireframe - dashboard

Wireframe - dashboard

 Wireframe - Task Publishing Interface

Wireframe - Task Publishing Interface



The new version of Scribble was released November 2014 during IBM CASCON 2014. Around 20 scholars and researchers tried the demo and gave very positive feedback to the product.

The app is no longer online but you can still watch the demo video:

As a member of the UX team, I was also awarded "Innovator of the year".