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nexus case study

Nexus  College life with ASD, is a program that helps to foster, create and form healthy relationships with ASD students who live on campus. Resources and learning material for ASD Students, Roommates, Residential Life and ASD Advisors help create a more inclusive and welcoming community for everyone.


Research,  UX/UI Design, Branding, Web Design


5 Months


Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, HTML/CSS


Passion/Thesis Project


Imagine you're a third-year Resident Assistant in your college dorms, gearing up for the new college year, eager to meet the next group of 150+ residents. You feel a mix of excitement and calm because you've been through it all before, having handled various incidents in your role. After a week of intensive training, you're all set to welcome the students.

In the first week of school, you notice some unique habits and traits in one resident. After some observation, you discover that this resident has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It's clear he's having a tough time adjusting, causing disruptions among roommates and the overall building community. Despite reaching out to Res Life staff and disability services for help, the arguments, fights, and the ASD student's discomfort persist. You can't help but wonder: Is there nothing we can do to create a better experience for our residents especially with the ones with special needs?

Identifying Opportunities 

Fading Support in College:

n the realm of K-12 education, students on the autistic spectrum benefit from comprehensive support encompassing academics, communication, and social and behavioral facets. However, when entering into higher education, a stark contrast emerges as this robust support system fades away.

Limited Resources, Elevated Costs:

While K-12 institutions prioritize and provide extensive support, many colleges lack tailored assistance options for ASD students, offering limited and often costly academic aid. The absence of specialized programs for on-campus ASD students creates a void, leaving these individuals grappling with challenges in isolation.

The Need for Tailored On-Campus Support:

Unlike the structured support in K-12, on-campus ASD support for  students in higher education remains uncharted. The absence of specialized programs underscores the urgent need for tailored support mechanisms, recognizing the unique challenges these students face as they navigate the complexities of college life.


students with ASD recieve a form of post secondary education in the US


of who disclosed their disabilties to their Post-Secondary school recieved accomondations


of ASD College Students are on track to graduate 5 years after high school


New Jersey has the second highest rates in the nation

Please note this data is from 2021

How can we develop a comprehensive support framework that not only meets the distinct needs of ASD students living on campus but also enhances the understanding and inclusivity of residential life, empowering roommates and the broader college community?
Proposed Solution and Goals:


Nexus  College Life with ASD: Creating Inclusive Campus Connections with ASD Students

This program, centered around a mobile application and a dedicated support staff, is designed to ease the transition for ASD students from high school to college, especially for those living on campus. By offering essential resources, fostering healthy relationships, and providing tailored support for ASD students, roommates, residential life, and ASD advisors, the goal is to create an inclusive and welcoming community.


Empowerment Through Education:

Provide accessible and tailored resources to ASD students, roommates, residential life, and ASD advisors, fostering a supportive and knowledgeable community.


Personal Growth and Confidence:

Foster personal growth and confidence in ASD students by providing resources and support that cater to their unique needs.


Community Building and Inclusion:

Cultivate an inclusive environment by facilitating positive relationships and understanding among ASD students and their peers, residential life, and advisors.


Positive Roommate Dynamics:

Promote positive relationships and understanding among roommates, creating a harmonious living environment for both ASD and non-ASD students.


Seamless Transition Support:

Smoothly guide ASD students through the transition from high school to college, ensuring they have the necessary tools and support for success.


Inclusive Community Experience:

Facilitate an inclusive community experience by educating and engaging residential life staff, fostering an environment where everyone feels supported and valued.

User groups  affected and their needs

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Planning, Iteration, and Research Process: 
Impact Effort  Matrix

To help plan for what features would be the most priority I created this matrix.   This matrix helps to point out which features will be the most effective. Features in the top area will be prioritized over the features in the bottom areas.

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UX Flow

As this would be a learning application it follows that pattern.  Thinking about the user journey as they  hear about the application through in school advertising   and how this application would be structured.  

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Because there  is a lack of resources,  to best  tackle this   pain point,  Nexus' app would be a learning application.   I also wanted  to incorporate   illustrations  into my design. The wireframes helped me to  establish a structure for the app as well as  manage where the  illustrations would go so that there is a balance. 



Nexus (noun) a relationship or connection between two people or things. This program works to to help college students with Autism spectrum disorder create and form healthy, long lasting relationships while living on campus.


The logo conveys the quirkiness and full of character that embodies students who are on the spectrum. The four sections in the “X” show the four groups of people that work together to make this program come together. 


The monochromatic color scheme represents the idea of a spectrum visually. The lighter shades of colors mix and blend in together to make the dark blue just like the four groups work together to build relationships. 

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UI Design and  Prototype

Using the branding, and the learning style  structure , I created key  experiences of how this application would look like.  View the prototype here.

Account Creation-New Users

During the account creation process, the school info helps to cater to and provide more information related to that school.  Also during the account creation process, asking which group, and the topics you would like to learn more about helps to cater more information and lessons towards that. 

Account Creation-New Users

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Course Learnings

The Home Screen for returning users on Nexus' platform serves as an interactive hub, encouraging users to seamlessly continue courses they've started. Simultaneously, it offers personalized recommendations based on their activity and preferences indicated during the account creation process, ensuring a tailored and engaging learning experience.

Within the Course Learning feature, users actively engage with the content by taking notes, highlighting key points, and bookmarking specific videos and articles for future reference. This multifaceted approach allows users to leverage Nexus' app resources to the fullest, even after completing a course. The ability to rate and leave reviews not only fosters direct communication with Nexus but also builds a vibrant community on the platform, providing valuable insights to other members and facilitating continuous improvement

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Category and Discovery

The learning section of the tab shows the different categories of topics that are offered on the app, and also how much a user has completed.  It is also a way to discover and find new courses.


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Chat Feature

The chat feature of the application works with the users in the ASD Advisors section. The chat feature allows users to chat with a professional in the school so that they can provide the most accurate information that pertains to where the user is living. This feature is available 24/7 so the user has someone to talk to whenever an issue or concern may come up.

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Fostering a  Community

When users bookmark or take notes, this section auto-populates. It gives users easy and quick access to any resource they may need. Lastly, the stats/rank feature promotes and encourages the user to use and stay part of the Nexus community.


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The website complements the application. The website serves as a marketing tool that brings awareness to the issue through the use of statistics, an explanation of the issue, and then how Nexus works to solve this. It also brings together the ASD community by creating a space for people to share their experiences. Through the website, colleges and universities can get affiliated and get on the application.

The website was first designed on Figma,  and then built out using HTML  &  CSS. 
Visit website  here. 

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This is the last component for Nexus. It is a marketing pamphlet. Essentially, once printed, a brad would go in the middle and the pamphlet can be fanned out. Again, this works with the website to provide information about the importance and need for this program as well as how the mobile application would help each group.


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My learnings:

Balancing Brand Cohesiveness:

Achieving a balance between various components to serve distinct purposes while maintaining a cohesive brand identity presented a significant challenge. This underscored the importance of thoughtful design decisions to ensure each element contributes harmoniously to the overall brand narrative.

Navigating Visual Integration on Mobile:

Integrating illustrations into the mobile app without overpowering information required strategic design choices. The use of cards and layout emerged as effective solutions, highlighting the significance of user-centric design approaches to enhance visual appeal without compromising functionality.

Crafting Authentic Narratives for Advocacy Through Design:

he process of developing compelling copy for the app, involving extensive research, writing, and editing, was not only a design challenge but also an opportunity for advocacy. Drawing from personal experiences as a resident assistant not only enriched the authenticity of the content but also highlighted the potential of design to serve as a powerful tool for advocating impactful initiatives. This dual role of design, both functional and influential, underscores its capability to shape narratives that resonate authentically and contribute to positive change.

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