Do you have outdoor gear laying around that you rarely use but still want to keep? Or, have you ever needed special equipment to enjoy the outdoors, but you didn’t want to buy it? Many people own specialized outdoors equipment but only use it intermittently. Conversely, some people want to try activities like camping or surfing, but don’t want to buy their own set of equipment. Use Grizz today and start exploring!

ROLE: Lead UX/UI Designer

UC San Diego, Interaction design Course

Awarded "Most Human-Centered" out of 79 teams

Grizz lumbered out from my Human-Computer Interaction Design course at UC San Diego. We were to design and implement a mobile web application where the constraints of a small form factor set the stage for this challenge. We learned how to conduct fieldwork, make paper prototypes and low-fidelity mock-ups that are interactive — and how to use these designs to get feedback from teammates, clients, and users. We also utilized principles of visual design, perception and cognition so that we could effectively organize and present information with our interfaces.

My Role

My team consisted of 3 people including myself that included a designer and a software engineer. I was in charge of the visual design, user interface, interaction design. the poster, and presentation deliverables. I was also involved with front-end dev work that involved HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

The Process

Ideas, Ideas, ideas

This course also had sections where students were divided up into different studios with various themes. My team was part of the Exchange Studio where the focus was to dive into ways of using technology to facilitate the exchange of things, both tangible and intangible, between people.

My team started came up with 37 ideas all revolving around the idea of "exchange". Ultimately we decided on Grizz since we all loved the great outdoors and activities associated with it.

Initial ideas- All 37 of them!

Choosing our favorite ideas from the bunch.

Needfinding and Interviews

Now that we had an idea, we turned to various inspirations to help mold the look and feel of Grizz. We used verbal, music, websites, and other inspirations to put a feel to what Grizz could be. We also conducted needfinding to see if this app was even needed. We interviewed various potential users at school and work. After we compiled and analyzed our interviews, we noticed there were plenty of people who own specialized outdoors equipment, but they only use it intermittently. On the other hand, there were people who want to try a new activity like camping or surfing, but weren't willing to buy equipment– they’d rather rent it.

Competitive Analysis

We also observed the activity of trying to acquire a tent. One person we interviewed needed enough tents for 100 people. They started by sending out emails to club members asking if they had any tents to use. She didn’t get enough tents, so she turned to businesses to try and find tents to rent. She started by contacting UCSD’s Outback Adventures and then REI, but neither of them had enough rental tents. She ended up reaching out to a larger company in Arizona, but the prices were expensive, and she spent $1,085 dollars of club funds on tents.

Storyboards and Rapid Prototyping

Based on our research, we created storyboards to see how our users could potentially use Grizz. This allowed us to get a better feel for what features we wanted on Grizz and used that to create rapid paper prototypes. We tested our prototypes on users and used their feedback for our next iteration of prototypes.

User Testing

User testing out our mobile prototype.

Going back to the drawing board by laying out the information architecture after user testing!

Next we created a functional prototype that could be clickable where users could rent gear. Once again we tested out our functional prototype on users where they provided feedback using Jakob Neilsen's heuristics. We also redesigned the entire flow of the application and all its screens after we received our Nielsen’s usability heuristic evaluations.

For our functional prototype, we had two different ways a user could list their gear for rent. We decided to let the users' choice speak for themselves. We decided to do some A/B testing. In our A/B testing, we tested out our listing creation page where we measured two variables: time to complete and number of errors. To conduct A/B analytics we found Google Analytics lacking. We wanted to track the user’s progress through the entire listing process. Testing was done with a custom-built solution. With custom tracking, we could see how long the task took and how many errors they’ve made in real time. We concluded that users preferred a feedback system (red for incomplete fields, green for complete fields). Users also liked the layout of the new listing creation page since they could visualize the finished product page.

AB Testing. Two conditions with different interfaces that were tested on users.

Real-time results from our AB testing.


After a 30 second pitch in front of judges and a large audience, a poster session, and some delicious samosa appetizers, Grizz won "Most Human-Centered" out of 79 teams at our Final Show! We learned a lot of design methods and front-end dev skills but most importantly of all, we had an extremely great time building an app that we were passionate about.

J and me (missing Michael) in front of our final poster!