SpotMates: Seat Occupation Assistance

An app that would enhance students’ experience finding studying spots at

Carnegie Mellon University.

Group project with JooHee Kim and Lynn Kim. 


For this project, we were to identify problems students have on campus. Using different research methods, we had to observe and analyze the behavior of students on the problem we identified. Then, we had to design a system to solve the problem.  

Finding problem


Many Carnegie Mellon University students study at school, and school provides many studying areas to students. However, it is difficult for students to find the free spots since many students have same preferences for studying environment; popular studying areas are always packed with students, and less-preferred areas have lots of empty spaces.   


I always experience this problem when I try to find place to study or eat; I have to walk around the whole building to find an empty spot.  

Territory Map & Stakeholder Map

Before the research, we created territory map and stakeholder map to decide which factors to focus on for this project.  


Research Method I: online survey


We started our general research by sending out online survey to students to get quantitative data. Before getting results, our group had difficulty deciding whether to focus on both dining and studying spaces, or to only focus on studying area. From the results we got from the survey, we were able to see that students do not have much problem with finding dining spaces. The online survey greatly helped us to narrow down the topic.  

Research Method II: map tracing


Carnegie Mellon University students have similar preferences for studying environments, which causes one location to be packed with students. To observe students’ behaviors and to see their preferences, we conducted a map tracing research. We asked random students to trace their path; we asked them to rank the buildings and floors they would go to when they are looking for studying spot. 

Research Method III: Video Interview


To understand students’ behavior on finding a studying spot in-depth, we conducted another research – video interview. We asked them to find a spot at different buildings, and recorded their behavior, and analyzed their pattern. 

From the research, we could clearly see that students have problem with finding studying spots at Carnegie Mellon University. It was interesting to see that many of them leave campus when they do not find an empty spot at building they prefer. It is waste of time for students to walk all the way from building to building, and campus to their room. There should be an effective way for students to easily find the place to study. 


The most effective way for students to find an empty spot would be an app that keeps track of whether the seat is taken or not. The users could easily search the location they prefer to study, and see if there is an empty seat. 


However, what would the users do when the seat they prefer is already taken by other student? They could simply add their information and environment they prefer from the app profile. The app would show other locations on campus that satisfy user needs. 

Final Deliverable: Poster

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