Case Study: Improving Usability of Living Room

Rinto Andrews
4 min readApr 22, 2021


I have recently enrolled in the UX Design Mastery course at growth school. As part of the Design Thinking exercise, I have taken up the challenge Improving Usability of Living Room.

How to increase the use-ability of the living room?
What are the modifications that can be done in the living room?
What changes can be done, so that people will be spending more time in the living room?

I have gone through series of steps of design thinking to solve this problem.

Step 1: Empathise

“Empathise” is the first stage of the Design Thinking process. In the empathise stage, your goal, as a designer, is to gain an empathic understanding of the people you’re designing for and the problem you are trying to solve.

I started creating questions by selecting mostly used things in the living room. And started creating questions based on those things. Also, check on likes and dislikes about the living room.


  1. Which component do you think most important in the living room, from the list?
    Light & Color, Sofa, Coffee Table, Wall Decorations
  2. What size of sofa do you prefer, Ex 3 Seat, 4 Seat?
  3. Do you like to have storage space attached to the sofa?
  4. Do you like to take nap on the sofa?
  5. Which color you do prefer in the living room?
  6. What kind of light do you prefer?
  7. Do you like to have storage space associate with the coffee table?
  8. Do you prefer to have indoor plants on the coffee table?
  9. What kind of wall decorations do you like?

User Research: Consolidated user research is given below

Step 2: Define

During the Define stage, you put together the information you have created and gathered during the Empathise stage. This is where you will analyse your observations and synthesise them in order to define the core problems that you and your team have identified up to this point

I have listed the most important problems faced by the users. The most relevant problems are listed below.

Why is it important to the user?

Users would like to spend time more time in the living room for relaxing, reading, take naps, etc. Most users want a comfortable sofa which is the most important part of the living room.

Step 3: Ideate

During the third stage of the Design Thinking process, designers are ready to start generating ideas. You’ve grown to understand your users and their needs in the Empathise stage, and you’ve analysed and synthesised your observations in the Define stage, and ended up with a human-centered problem statement. With this solid background, you and your team members can start to “think outside the box” to identify new solutions to the problem statement you’ve created, and you can start to look for alternative ways of viewing the problem


  1. Design sofa with leg support and head rest.
  2. Design sofa with storage
  3. Design sofa with cup holder
  4. Design Coffee table with storage.
  5. Use ceiling lights.
  6. Use light color for walls.
  7. Indoor plants in coffee table.

Top 3 Ideas

  1. Design sofa with leg support and head rest.
  2. Design sofa with storage
  3. Design sofa with cup holder

Step 4: Prototype

The design team will now produce a number of inexpensive, scaled down versions of the product or specific features found within the product, so they can investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage.

I have combined these 3 ideas into single prototype.

Features of this prototype.

  1. Adjustable Head rest and leg support helps to sit comfortably.
  2. Foldable cupholder space. While watching movies users can use foldable cupholder to put cups and sacks. Users can fold it up so 3 person can sit comfortably.
  3. Storage spaces helps to put TV remote and other things uses frequently.
  4. This sofa will not take large space of the living room.

Step 5: Test

Designers or evaluators rigorously test the complete product using the best solutions identified during the prototyping phase. This is the final stage of the 5 stage-model, but in an iterative process, the results generated during the testing phase are often used to redefine one or more problems and inform the understanding of the users.

User 1: Rating: 4/5

Likes/Dislikes: Comfortable sofa, Storage and cupholder is useful.

User 2: Rating: 4/5

Likes/Dislikes: Comfortable sofa, It would be better if we can make convertible hand rest.

User 3: Rating: 4/5

Likes/Dislikes: Comfortable sofa, Headrest and leg support is useful

User 4: Rating: 4/5

Likes/Dislikes: Comfortable sofa, Storage and cupholder is useful.


I have started learning UX design because of curiosity towards how UI/UX effects human integration with mobile application (I am iOS Dev). I have been developed around 12 mobile apps. Mostly UI has been done by some one else. I started developed my own app and i got stuck with UI/UX so that i started with learning UX design. The design thinking project gives lots of learning and its first step to UX design world.