Student Healthcare


Designing an app to bring students closer to their university's healthcare system and take control of their personal health.


11 months


Product Designer


Ariya Zheng, Product Designer

Tsikata Apenyo, Founder

Peter Wagner, Software Engineer

Aliza Seidenfeld, Operations/Product


The college health landscape is disjointed as students come from a variety of providers and learn to manage their health for the first time. UniHealth was envisioned to be part of a larger digital healthcare and health data management ecosystem to help school administrators improve the on-campus health experience.

In less than a year, we took the app from just an idea to a launched app with university clients, amassing a team and funding along the way.


Immediate access to campus health services and ways to get care packaged in an understable way.


Consolidates all important health and insurance information across platforms in a secure way. Implements a digital ID system for schools to use.


Links users to all on-campus or off-campus medical and wellness offerings in one spot, which are often not consolidated with a hospital system.


Students lack autonomy over their health care and lack knowledge about their university's health resources.

As a student myself I was all too familiar with a general dissatisfaction amongst my peers with the healthcare they were experiencing while going to school. Administrators similarly feel there is more to be done to improve their student's health experience on campus. This was confirmed by UniHealth's research, which is summarized in the following.


Before I joined the project, user interviews were already conducted with students, providers, and health administrators for a total of over 30+ interviews. After some first few rounds of designing, we also interviewed 5 more students with more UX-oriented questions. I took the time to review them and identify key conclusions. We used these conclusions to help identify many features we wanted the app to incorporate. I've highlighted 4 of the key improvement opportunies we noted below.

  1. Students were confused about when and where to seek care.

College-level students not only have busy schedules that prevent them from walking to care centers, but often feel pressure to go to class even if they are feeling unwell. Interviewees mentioned that they sometimes didn't know what symptoms warranted an in-person visit vs. self-care for example. We saw an opportunity to help schools create paths and guides for students to follow.

  1. Students weren't aware of additional health/wellness resources school administrators were offering.

Students were knowledgeable on care that they were already expecting, but administrators have a hard time communicating other care initiatives (workshops, group therapy, preventative care, etc.) to students and understanding what sticks. We saw an opportunity to push care students could be interested but were not aware of. We also saw an opportunity to use engagement information from our app to help administrators inform their programming.

  1. Students often see providers back home outside of the school network.

Many college students get checkups and other health care when they are on break back home. This in combination with many students still using their parents' insurance, means that schools are working with patients who are in other networks besides their own. We saw an opportunity to merge students records from portals and insurance information to allow for ease-of-access.

  1. Students were frustrated by long appointment wait times and a lack of communication.

The most negative response we received consistently was about the difficulty of a scheduling an appointment. While we could not change a school's appointment systems or their resource availability, we figured that showing wait times and providing guidance could provide more transparency and free up appointment slots by guiding patients to the right places.



I also took a close look at Yale's student health to understand how our design could fit into or reinvent what they had. Each school's way of managing student health differs but Yale serves as a good model for a school that has attempted to cover all their bases and continuously update their system.

Too many things to keep track of.

Students had to parse many different resources, often with no connecting links between them. These included:

  • Student health center websites

  • Their student health manual

  • Their student health portal

  • Health & Emergency numbers

  • Wellness / Community center websites

  • and more…

Here, we saw our design's primary improvement opportunity—to centralize these resources as well make finding what you want quick and intuitive.


How do students actually keep up with resources on campus?

Students are digital-natives, care about the facts, and proactive about their healthcare. These conclusions were made by talking to students and observing their experiences through contextual inquiry exercises.

  1. Word-of-Mouth

    Students are often relying on their peers to make informed decisions because they don't want to sort through a density of info and because they trust their peers.

  1. Search

    Students will use search engines on their phone/laptop. when they are in an urgent need of specific information. Whether the information appears quickly is unsure.

  1. Going in-person

    Because students are on-campus all the time, they can find it easier to just go to a location/center and ask a person their questions.

Through our research and talking to the team, I came up with some goals in designing the app:


Will students choose to open our app instead of asking a friend or searching it up?


Are we actually delivering the information students want to see?


Are we improving students' access to and understanding of their healthcare beyond what they have now?



Over the course of months, my small design team of two built out all the designs. The first step I took was to highlight scenarios in which people would be using the app and ordered them in terms of priority and similar categorization:

Requiring immediate or semi-immediate care

Looking for mental health care or resources

Looking for continued, specific follow-up, or long-term physical care

Need health center directions or contact information

Looking for general wellness resources or ways to improve well-being

Looking for insurance information

Renewing medication information / prescriptions

Looking up health record information

Different health departments and the student health center

General campus health information / non-health network

Personal profile information

Based on these categories, we came up with an app flow that prioritized a home page that highlighted school resources with shortcuts that would connect to a "my health" page with personal information.

School Resources
and User Actions

User Records and Info



Focusing on the home page and the health passport!


Search bar allows for users to use fuzzy search to find whatever they want.

Departments are listed by relevance and popularity.

During "after hours" users can access specific information for what they should do.

Quick actions highlight actions schools might want users to take in-app.

Phone icon allows users to quickly contact the health center or emergency services.

LACK OF BARRIER - All types of resources are visible to users by glancing at either home page or health records. Shortcuts and actions are visually separated from other pages.

LACK OF BARRIER - They can easily access emergency actions, contact information, and hours information from the home page.

RELEVANCY & DISCOVERY - Implementation of search bar, common faqs, and shortcuts allow users to find what they want.

RELEVANCY & DISCOVERY - It's not immediately obvious what each card leads to.

EMPOWERMENT - There's no content on the home page that purposefully introduces resources they might not know. If users are not familiar with certain terms or departments, they might miss services that they could benefit from.


Users can tap between all their different insurance plans, health plans, and their medical information.

Tapping on a card will expand to reveal more specific information.

Users can also export their health data to themselves, guardians, and caretakers

The app syncs with health portals to allow users to see their health records.

LACK OF BARRIER - Card wallet format allows users to skim over what information they have saved immediately.

RELEVANCY & DISCOVERY - Clear categorization of different types of records beneath.

EMPOWERMENT - Users can export their health information securely directly from within the app.

RELEVANCY & DISCOVERY - If users have questions about insurance or records, they might have to navigate back to the home page or open one of the cards first.



After creating an initial prototype of the app, we got 7 peers to test the app design. We also consulted with the rest of our team. Their feedback inspired a few changes.

  1. Departments

    Although the way departments are split make a lot of sense to health admin, these names might mean nothing to students.

  1. Quick Actions

    The shortcuts were difficult to tap and had little categorization. It was also limiting the number of quick actions schools could pick to highlight.

  1. Highlighting Resources

    With the way the current design was formatted, students would only be directed to information they knew existed. We wanted to make new resources more visible.

  1. Insurance vs. Health ID

    We put insurance and health records on the same page but students often have a lot insurance questions while they are more likely to use a health portal for records.

We realized that while the app was doing what we wanted to do in collating information (lack of barrier), it was not providing the added benefit of ease of discovery and empowerment we wanted to give users.

So we went back to the drawing board and made changes.




This design was shaped by two goals: to bring the primary user need to the fore-front and to make departments more understandable. In addition, we took into account that college student healthcare is different than general care and prioritized sexual wellness and mental healthness on top of physical health. We tested this new design against our previous one and about 70% of interviewees preferred this one more.

INSTEAD OF departments, users are guided to easily understandable categories that serve popular needs.

Tools and icons are visually separated above in a darker section. We also added a school messaging tool.

After Hours Care button will appear above during off-hours and move below "the hub" during on-hours.


All the previous shortcuts were re-named into a more understandable category, "campus resources." We also decided to highlight the other resources a user could use to make them more discoverable. An exciting addition, was that of "off-campus resources", which meant we could expand on our mission of collating resources for users.

Previous quick actions have either been absorbed into appropriate pages or re-branded more clearly as a school resource.

By vertically extending the home page, our design was able to utilize much more app real estate.

User info is available in the 'health records' tab but users can get a quick shortcut but reminded of their info here.

We've also contrasted school resources with a off-campus resources, allowing students to utilize all resources available to them.


The most confusing topic by far for students we interviewed was insurance and whether things were covered. Although insurance and records were grouped together, we realized users might be opening them in different scenarios so we decided to provide a bit more separation. Instead we used the space below the insurance card to provide a list of common FAQs.

Now that there are tabs, we can use the space at the bottom to suggest a search tool and FAQs.

Users can swap between an insurance and health records tab, when they were previously together.

Cards were redesigned to contain more text and highlight the header.


In order to provide more guidance to users, the care flow extends past the home page. We also allow schools to highlight popular concerns and needs, reducing the need for useres to understand how departments are segmented.


This project helped me grow immensly as a designer and this case study barely covers many of the design lessons and decisions I encountered. Although summarized above, this work actually reflects months of twists and turns where I was meeting with users, stakeholders, and my fellow designers to make a product that could really impact how students seek healthcare on campus. We tackled large problems like what features could we see users adopting and small problems like what size width should this card be. I'm grateful for the experience and am excited to see where this product goes!