The Aalto Space application is designed for students, staff, and visitors to book spaces in the Aalto University campus area in Otaniemi, Espoo. I set out to uncover the underlying problems with the booking system and to give voice to students' frustration. For this post-hoc research, I implemented a user experience survey, a customer journey map, user personas, and a service blueprint.
This case study was made during the Basics of Service Design course which is offered by Aalto Open University.

Aalto Space was launched in September 2016. The app causes mixed feelings among its users.

Log in screen (left) and scanner function (right). 
Are you an Aalto Space app user?
How frequently do you use the app?
When have you experienced the most trouble with Aalto Space?
Participants were also asked to describe a situation when they experienced difficulties using Aalto Spaces. They were also asked to rate the app 1-5 stars, and express their user experience with an emoji. 
83% had trouble finding free spaces via the app.
50% experienced difficulty when reserving a space via the app.
42% found it difficult to navigate via Map-function via the app.
33% experienced trouble logging in. 

I asked participants to express their experiences with the Aalto Space app with an emoji. These are the responses.

“I have never been able to make a reservation, due to not finding a space and the scanner not working."
Survey participant #1

On App Store, Aalto Space has a rating of 1,5 stars out of 5. According to my research, current users would give the app 2,8 stars.

The most common complaint was that “The app doesn't work.” However, this is too vague of a problem to solve. I set out to find out what this really entails. Specifically, it referred to problems with logging in, reserving spaces, navigation, and finding the right space.
Even minor technical issues take away from the user experience.
The physical space has to work congruently with the app - and the other way around.
I understand now that success is not only determined by numerical data. Anecdotal evidence, for example, users’ stories, is needed to determine whether or not a service or product is user-friendly. Aalto Space has 40 000 downloads as of December 2022 and it has 500 daily users (source:, but these data points don't tell if the app is functioning as it should. In my research, the app causes frustration among students. 
“There are frequent situations when the app shows that a room is free but then keeps canceling reservations instantly. The app is also slow to function and doesn't update in real-time unless I quit and restart.” 
Survey participant #2
The service blueprint is a visual diagram, a tool, to map out different parts of service usage and how technology, actions, and people are using the service/product. The aim of this blueprint is to align business goals (for example increase downloads, and smoothen the onboarding process), find weaknesses that go beyond visual design, and improve on them.

To update, ACRE has made its own user experience survey regarding Aalto Space. The survey was conducted in March 2023. 
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