Co - Online Collaboration

Rethinking online collaboration for distributed teams
Businesses depend on effective communication between team members, but traditional office spaces as we know them have changed, steadily moving towards remote teams. In this project I explored the personal experiences of office workers and remote employees who use online meeting tools regularly to communicate with their dispersed teams.

To solve this design problem, I developed Co, an online meeting tool made to facilitate collaborative work between distributed teams in real-time. Co combines video-audio communication with interactive features such as whiteboards to create an immersive a team collaboration experience.
Understand the problems remote workers experience using online meeting tools, and using applied research, create a more collaborative online meeting experience
I led this project as UX researcher and designer by conducting and analyzing user research to create key user flows and wireframes, then building a high-fidelity prototype to test with users


01 Discover

Competitive Analysis

I started with a deep dive into the competition by identifying three top online meeting services that market their product as a solution to connecting remote teams.

While these services provide standard communication platforms that are fairly easy to use, I noticed that an interactive element is missing to create a more collaborative work environment for remote teams.

Understanding User Needs

Exploring the competition helped me better understand the problem space of online meeting tools, but before I could jump into finding a solution I had to understand the people who use these products.

User Survey

I sent out a screener survey to establish a foundational understanding of my target audience.

Team Distribution

Users predominantly worked in a physical office (59%), followed by remote workers (53%)


50% of users reported to meet with their colleagues via online meeting platforms once a week

Types of Meetings

Users predominantly participated in team meetings (74%)

Communication Preferences

Users favored Face-to-Face (59%), Instant Messaging (59%), and Email (56%) communication over Video Chat (31%)

User Interviews

I conducted 30-minute user interviews with six individuals who shared their experiences using online meeting tools in their current or recent employment. When asked to describe the most important features of online meeting tools, the highest responses included:

  • Video - users find video to be an essential element of online meetings because it makes users feel more engaged when they can see the facial expressions of their colleagues
  • Screen-share features - users want to easily share and discuss documents for collaborative projects
  • Prominent interactive tools - users want to know what special features are available in an app and be encouraged to use them
I like having multiple avenues to connect with people
I love the efficiency and how quick communication happens
Video chat is not a replacement for being in the room with your colleagues
It’s difficult finding an easy way to get the [online] meeting started

02 Define

Affinity Maps

The key questions, ideas, and notes that I had collected from my user interviews were grouped together in a variety of post-its and molded into a linear user story which described the user experience of interacting with online meeting tools. It told a story of the frustration, confusion, awareness, and comprehension of users interacting with these tools.


The primary insights I gathered so far from my research which influenced my understanding of the problem space of online meeting tools included:

  • Users want prominent interactive features
  • Users want a quick and easy way to start their meetings and to run their meetings effectively
  • Users want to create a sense of connection with their remote colleagues, as if they’re in the same room
  • It was important to note that users don’t want unnecessary notifications or hidden or unclear features that confuse the experience


I then generated three personas based on three key sets of user experiences and issues that I identified in my interviews. It was important to consider these various perspectives in order to find a user-centered solution to the problem at hand.

I used these personas to help me empathize with the feelings of frustration some users feel when using a difficult tool (like Tara), the joy of connecting with colleagues (like Erica), and harnessing the passive interest of some users (like Wen) who just need a little push to maximize their experience. Considering the different needs I had identified in my personas led to more mindful decision making on my part to ensure users were front and center in my design work.

Erica - The Engaged Contributor
Tara - The Traditional Collaborator
Wen - The Willing but Limited

Asking the Right Questions

To find solutions to this problem, I needed to ask the right questions. So far, I gathered relevant information on the issues users experience with online meeting tools, and cultivated an empathetic understanding of user needs.

Thinking about the big picture, I formulated several “How Might We” problem statements to get to the heart of what users need in their online meeting tools:

  • ☝️ How might we make online meetings more collaborative?
  • ☝️ How might we create an online meeting experience in which coworkers feel just as connected as if they were in the same room?
  • ☝️ How might we simplify how an online meeting platform functions to ease usability?
  • ☝️ How might we make features within online meeting tools more discoverable?

All the above research combined helped me create the foundational designs for my online meeting tool.

03 Ideate


Putting pen to paper, I sketched out a variety of potential designs for my collaborative meeting tool. I eventually settled on a design that I thought captured the user needs I had identified in my personas:

  • A straightforward tool that anyone could use
  • A tool which features a designated collaborative space, specifically an interactive whiteboard
  • A tool that combines key communication platforms (video, audio, chat) into a seamless meeting experience

User Stories

To help stay aligned with user needs, I wrote User Stories which identified the essential features of my product that help users achieve their goals:

  • As a remote employee, I want to smoothly facilitate online meetings with my team so that I can communicate important information to my colleagues from far away.
  • As an office worker, I want to collaborate on projects with my remote colleagues in real time so that we can be on the same page and complete our work as a team.

User Flow

I created a user flow diagram to show “red routes" (or primary tasks) that users would take in CO to successfully run an online meeting.

04 Prototype


Now it was time to bring my project to life by sketching out my design with a focus on the red routes I had identified. I conducted five guerilla usability tests using a prototype version of my sketches to collect quick feedback on the functionality of my design.

Results from the initial guerilla tests confirmed:

  • Confusion around naming conventions
  • Failure to provide an explanation of special features in the prototype, such as the whiteboard, transcript recordings, etc
  • Failure to show the functionality of the chat and notes feature within the prototype

This feedback led to some major design changes in order to improve the user experience.


Next up was transforming my sketches into digital wireframes to better represent my designs and how users interact with the product.

Defining the Visual Language

Before I could transform my wireframe into a high-fidelity prototype, I needed to establish the visual design language of the final UI. I wanted Co to be a minimalist professional tool that brings remote teams together.

The Mood Board I put together features a variety of images and illustrations which demonstrate the design elements I wanted in Co, primarily the use of pastel vs. bold color contrast, lots of white space, and a modern office aesthetic.

I combined these elements into a Style Guide to visualize the overall artistic direction for the prototype. The guide combined a muted pastel palette, simple rounded icons, buttons and fields, a bold yet minimalist typography (Futura and Avenir Next), as well as clean lines and a generous amount of white space.

05 Test

Usability Testing

Two rounds of moderated usability tests were conducted with five participants in each round. Participants were asked to complete a series of tasks which demonstrated the red routes I had identified:

  • Scheduling a new meeting
  • Participating in the newly scheduled meeting by interacting with the meeting room, share screen, and whiteboard features
  • Saving and externally sharing meeting documents

The initial testing sessions showed users’ perception of Co as a collaborative online meeting tool, often comparing it to Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet. Participants noted that what set Co apart from similar meeting tools was its interactive features, specifically the Whiteboard function. Testing revealed several key functionality issues with the prototype, primarily naming conventions and lack of feedback to users after completing particular actions. This user feedback was pivotal in generating better design solutions.


The major changes I made to the Co prototype after the first round of usability testing involved communicating feedback to users after they had completed an important action. For example, several users had asked whether the recipient of the meeting invitation in the test had actually received an email confirmation. Other users expressed their concern that the Whiteboard project would be lost upon clicking the “Leave” button upon exiting a meeting. Both these examples highlighted the importance of providing confirmation to users to communicate task completion.

Welcome Page

Users are greeted with a clean welcome page with prompts to log in or immediately join a meeting. (Illustrations:

User Homepage

The user homepage shows a personal dock with up upcoming and past meetings with options to join a current meeting or schedule a new meeting.

Meeting Room

The meeting room offers a simple video interface with interactive features such as instant chat, note-taking, recording, and share screen.


Whiteboard mode is an interactive space where users can collaborate on projects in real-time.

Sharing Notes

Users can easily share their whiteboard project, meeting notes, and recordings with colleagues who missed the meeting.

Outcomes & Reflections

The results from the two usability tests showed positive receptions of Co as a user-friendly, sleek online meeting tool for team collaboration.

Key user flows such as scheduling a new meeting on the homepage, starting a meeting, and saving a Whiteboard project were completed by participants as anticipated, although several areas for improvement were also identified. For example, several users expressed confusion regarding meeting codes which are intended to provide quick access to meetings (i.e. the user enters code and is directed to the meeting room, foregoing the need for a meeting invitation). While meeting codes are typical in other online meeting tools, such as Zoom, by relying on user-recognition I introduced a confusing and possibly unnecessary element to the product that I would now consider removing.
Overall, this project allowed me to explore the UX research and design process from start to finish. By creating Co, I undertook an applied learning approach to understanding user behaviors and how this information is translated into design.