Future Dining at Chestnut

A design research project for the University of Toronto with the goal of diagnosing problems  at Chestnut Residence

Design Research Report
- Visual Design & Design Research
- Summer 2022
- University of Toronto Innovation Hub

For this project, we strived to understand student experiences, as told to us through their stories, and allow that understanding to inspire design. To achieve this, we used interviews, discussion groups, and interactive exercises to encourage students to describe their experiences to us in their own words.
Food Services at Chestnut Residence experienced challenges over the past few years related to changes necessitated by the global pandemic. Food Services approached the Innovation Hub in the Fall of 2021 seeking support to design impactful student consultation and co-design for the future of dining operations at Chestnut.

8 weeks (from beginning research to presentation)

Initial Research
We first interviewed eight Food Services staff about their experience with students and their perspectives on the new changes. We then arranged feedback sessions with the students at Chestnut where students were asked about their dining experiences and their communication with the Food Services, and further probed about any challenges they faced and their interactions with the staff members.

Our research allowed us to develop student personas with data and popular talking points drawn from our interview transcripts and feedback sessions.
Our work concluded with a final report outlining our research findings meant to be presented to the directors and administrative staff at the University of Toronto. 

We developed design principles that guide how to foster a mutually beneficial relationship between students and staff members at Chestnut. This report was presented to Food Services staff where they were invited to hear student voices and share their thoughts on our findings. The full report can be read here.
- Value of working with people from diverse backgrounds
- Importance of considering stakeholder needs
- Frequent lines of communication makes a happy client

This project served as my first foray into doing client work as opposed to personal work. Facilitating the communication between clients allowed me to learn the importance of clarifying expectations and outlining work to stakeholders involved. I was happy to contribute to a project that improved the quality of life (and food) for many students at my university for years to come.