Designing a COVID-19 Quarantine Tool

#uxdesign #uxresearch #wireframes #researchreport

iMac vector created by BRIX Templates on Figma


Mockups, documentation, research report


Jan. 2021 - May 2021
~16 weeks


  • Documentation delegation and content
  • Co-created meeting agenda
  • Conducting and analyzing research
  • Created sketches with the team and oversaw wireframes

Design Challenge

With the various resources providing COVID-19 information on Purdue's campus, confusion quickly rose on our campus. On our campus, Protect Purdue stands as our main source of COVID-19 guidelines. Protect Purdue was created to inform the Purdue population about relevant and specific COVID-19 guidelines students need to follow.

With sources like the CDC, Protect Purdue, and notable figures in the news expressing different guidelines, the student population reported confusion and frustration. We were tasked to design a single source of relevant and specific COVID-19 information for the Purdue student population.


Our solution focused on students placed in quarantine housing. Students in quarantine housing reported a lack of communication between them and their nurse case manager and mass confusion due to the different voices of information. Our solution puts students in direct contact with their case manager and relevant information for this situation to reduce confusion during an uncertain time.

Locating our Solution

myPurdue is where Purdue students can view their academic profile at Purdue University.

Our solution is housed in this site since it is in a place they already frequent.

Understanding their Quarantine

Students reported they did not know when they would leave quarantine or get tested due to the lack of communication with their case manager.

This is a simple calendar the nurse case manager can update to quickly show when to expect key dates during their quarantine.

Direct Communication

Originally, students in quarantine were only able to talk to their case manager if they went through a lengthy process of calling and remaining on hold for hours. Additionally, many students reported not being contacted by their case manager during their quarantine, leaving them in the dark. Case managers also reported calling students was ineffective.

This live chat puts students and case managers in direct contact with each other, helping students and case managers cut down on wasted time.

Contact Information and Services

Students are not given any contact information.

This screen provides the contact information they will need when they are in need of answers that cannot be adequately provided in the live chat.

Additional Resources

When students are picked up to be moved into quarantine housing, they are given a paper packet full of printed links to the daily food menu, packing list, etc.

We transferred the information from the packet into our application.

Surveying the Population


Gather the full breadth of COVID-19 problems, frustrations, and confusion on campus to understand the myriad of problems


Created a survey on Qualtrics and dispersed it on Slack, Discord, GroupMe group chats, r/Purdue subreddit, and personal messages/group chats

We wanted to understand what issues existed at Purdue due to COVID-19. How did we decide on gathering such a large set of data? A survey!

We had a total of 146 responses after one week. We affinity diagrammed our survey results to find common trends. Below are the biggest trends about confusion and frustration around COVID-19 information at Purdue.

Inconsistent Information

"The problem was
different people saying different things.
Some people would say quarantine for this long and others say another thing..."

When to Quarantine?

"I was
confused about the steps regarding quarantining."

"I wasn't sure if it was second or third hand exposure so I didn't know whether to quarantine or not."

Unclear Information

"The problem was
different people saying different things.
Some people would say quarantine for this long and others say another thing..."

After wrapping up the survey, the team needed to dig deeper into the issues we gathered from the survey, specifically about the confusing Protect Purdue guidelines.

Follow-up Interviews


Dive deeper into the issues we found through our surveys, specifically about the confusing Protect Purdue guidelines.


Reached out to survey respondees who indicated they were willing to be interviewed and other students within the UX program

When interviewing the survey respondees, we asked them to elaborate further on their poor experiences with Protect Purdue and its guidelines. Our major findings were:

Protect Purdue's guidelines were inconsistent with outside sources
Protect Purdue fails to adequately update students on policy changes
Protect Purdue's rules and guidelines are too generic as every situation is extremely complex
Students turn to outside sources which may not be consistent with Purdue's guidelines

Many students reported confusion around quarantining at Purdue, whether it be confusion during the quarantine process or when they needed to quarantine. With that in mind, we aimed to learn more about the quarantine process, starting with being contacted by a contact tracer or reporting yourself due to COVID-19 exposure.

Quarantining: Expectations vs Reality


Understand the gaps and frustrations both students and Protect Purdue leadership faced during the quarantine process


Reached out to previous students through Slack, Discord, and the who have been in quarantine.

Cold called and emailed Protect Purdue leadership like the director, head case manager, marketing head, etc.

Interviewed both sides to understand how the quarantine process was supposed to be vs in actuality

We interviewed some members of Protect Purdue's leadership aka the Protect Purdue Implementation Team along with case management. We also interviewed 14 Purdue students who have been in quarantine at Purdue. Our findings from both case managers and students are shown below.

Protect Purdue Implementation Team

  • Case managers are supposed to call students twice a day during quarantine
  • Cases are decided by a case-by-case basis; students are not told about this process, increasing confusion since students are not told if they are safe
  • Students are not contacted by case management if they are deemed safe
  • Students are not always required to quarantine if they test negative, furthering inconsistencies

Students with Quarantine Experience

  • Reported they did not hear from their case manager beyond the initial and final release call
  • Wanted someone to contact when they have questions while in quarantine but aren't given contact info over the phone
  • Wished Purdue would work harder to make students comfortable in quarantine housing
  • Did not like having to call the help hotline, be on hold for hours, and redirected until an answer is provided

After hearing from both sides in regards to their experiences with students in quarantine, we deduced that communication between the two parties is lackluster. In order to reduce the confusion and frustration students and case managers had, we needed to design a solution that could directly and more effectively connect both stakeholders.

Stakeholders and Frustrations


Reflect on the current information we had and clearly list the pain points we needed to address


Review our interview findings from both Purdue students who experienced quarantine and the Protect Purdue Implementation Team

I wanted to take a moment and let the team see all of the information we had gathered up to that point. The two main stakeholders in the quarantine process are the student and their case manager. Both sides experience pain points, but our focus is on the student's experience.

Purdue Student's Frustrations

Transition into Quarantine

  • Does not have an efficient way to contact their case manager
  • Does not know what they need to bring to quarantine
  • Worried about what is going to happen in the next ten days

During Quarantine

  • Feels they went into quarantine unprepared
  • Feels the information they receive via phone call + paper packet was brief, unspecific, and subpar
  • Communication between them and their case manager is limited tp daily calls, if they call at all. No other way of contacting them.

Case Manager's Frustrations

Transition into Quarantine

  • May struggle to reach some students as they do not answer their phone
  • Overwhelmed by the number of cases they need to juggle

During Quarantine (Monitoring)

  • Exasperated when students don't pick up their phones; voicemail is usually full
  • Stressed because they continue to manage multiple students at a time
  • Feels misunderstood by students

Narrowing to the Main Problem


Narrow to a specific avenue and finalize our scope


Met with our sponsors for a generative thinking workshop where we populated the virtual whiteboard with everything we found in hopes to make sure we were solving the "best" problem

Due to the vast amount of data we collected over the semester, our team was left with a lot of information that we weren't sure how to sift through. We knew communication was the main issue students faced, but there were so many facets within that area. When we talked to our sponsor for advice, they offered to host a workshop that would enable us to narrow our scope to begin focused ideation.

In this workshop, we wrote down every single pain point and opportunity we found in our research. We then affinity diagrammed our work and confirmed the biggest frustration was about the quarantine process by noting how many sticky notes we had around the communication group.

To encourage generative thinking, we created "how might we" statements. We came up with two main statements that allowed us to narrow down further.

Our finalized scope was to reduce confusion when quarantining in student quarantine housing by improving communication between case management and students.

Mocking up our Solution


Visualize our solution to use for early concept testing results


Started with rudimentary sketches in order to concept test from students. We did this to make faster iterations for our design.

We created rudimentary sketches to ideate on potential solutions to address the communication issue. Key sketches move into wireframes.

Gathering Feedback from Users


Use concept testing and usability testing to understand if our design and layout is useful for our users


Concept and usability tested with students who have been quarantine to ensure the most accurate feedback. Iteration occurred after each test, if necessary.

"I wish I had something like this when I was stuck in quarantine... I never got called [by my case manager]."


This was my first time as a student team lead and I was so intimidated taking on an exploratory project. After meeting a few times each week mentoring the new students, I would be very exhausted and take long naps because of how exhausted I would feel. I pushed through and learned a lot about being a leader on a UX team and I started to like taking on more responsibility. I knew I needed to change and better myself which is why I applied for the position.

As time went on and I learned how to be a better leader, I started to improve rapidly. I gained a lot of practice with presentation and public speaking, making key decisions, and keeping a team moving and motivated. This experience was an influential point in my development as a designer and human being.