RSO Tabling
Improving rso tabling experiences
RSO Tabling HubRSO Tabling Hub screenshot
For a project as part of a user research course, I studied the tabling experiences of Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) at the University of Washington. I conducted field, interview, and survey studies, resulting in a set of design recommendations and solutions.
10 weeks
Mar-June 2023
User Research
UX Design
Student organizations, also known as RSOs, table to showcase, promote, and advertise themselves to a larger student body. This comes in the form of setting up tents, tables, and chairs throughout campus to reach as many people as possible.

However, students face many external pain points, which create frustrating situations and hinders the tabling experience. Addressing these pain points can improve the overall experience for RSOs who put in the effort to reach other students.
"How can we make tabling more effective and enjoyable for RSOs and their members at the University of Washington?"
I conducted field, interview, and survey studies for my user research. My participants included UW Students who had tabled at least once before for their RSO.
Field study
I began my user research with a field study to better understand the process of tabling. Across three 30-minute sessions, I observed RSO tabling behavior and documented all observations. I conducted two sessions in the UW Red Square, which was a common location for tabling. My third session took place in the RSO Resource Center where groups borrowed tabling equipment. I chose this location to observe the initial parts of tabling.
UW Red Square
Interview study
I continued by user research with an interview study. I aimed at exploring the subjective and individual experiences of tabling RSO members. This included their motivations, how they felt about the process, and what personal pain points they experienced. I conducted three 20-minute interviews with a student from various student groups.
Survey study
I wrapped up my user research project by conducting a survey study. With a built understanding of the tabling experience from the field and interview studies, my goal of the surveys was to expand upon previous findings and evaluate suggested recommendations. I created a Google Forms survey and posted the link to various student forums to reach participants.
RSO Tabling survey
Setup can be difficult.Having to set up canopies, tables, and chairs, RSO members often struggled with equipment setup. Heavier equipment made tabling setup much more difficult with 1-2 members.
"The canopies [and tables] are really big. I’m not that tall. Usually, we need 2-3 people to grab everything."Bar chart showing weather is the largest difficulty with tabling.
Weather has a massive influence.As tabling occurs outdoors, RSOs were at the mercy of the weather forecast. Strong winds could easily blow canopies away if not held down. The cold and rainy weather of winter made tabling especially miserable.
Student awareness and interaction is varied.Despite being in a heavily trafficked area, RSOs saw little interaction. Many students were on their way to class, and tables were often located out the way. As revealed in the interviews, high interaction made tabling much more enjoyable for RSOs.
Map of Red Square; Student path walks around RSOs with limited interaction."I think a central place with tabling updates would benefit both general students and RSO tablers."
Help and information is not easily available.Instructions for tabling were often unclear for RSO members. With no central and apparent location for help and guidance, they most frequently reverted to asking amongst their own RSO rather than looking online or asking staff.
Based on the findings from my user research, I created recommendations to address the issues highlighted across the three studies:
  • Create a central tabling hub for updates, information, and guidelines
  • Purchasing new equipment for easier transport and setup
  • Expand upon indoor tabling options to avoid poor weather
My three suggestions were prioritized as such due to feasibility. Implementing a tabling hub would be the simplest solution, as it would involve creating another section within the Resource Center website. Improved equipment would only involve additional purchasing, but was prioritized lower due to cost and budgeting aspects. Indoor tabling options was prioritized as last due to the need for accommodation and system implementation, which would require additional time and effort.
Following the conclusion of the course and the research assignment, I chose to continue my project by designing my proposed solution. Using the University of Washington’s design system, I created a desktop view of a potential tabling hub.
RSO Tabling Hub screenshot
The tabling hub features a blog format which would be utilized by the Resource Center to post occasional updates and information.
RSO Tabling blog format
I added an event calendar to display RSO events and activities. This would allow for better discovery and increased interaction for RSOs.
RSO Tabling Hub calendar
Additional resources were listed to the side for any help that RSOs may need. I added quick links for easy access to tutorials, tips, and policies.
RSO Tabling Hub quick links
Upon completing my design, I shared my research findings and prototype with the Resource Center to suggest the implementation of an RSO Tabling Hub. The idea was well-received and is now an upcoming project set to assist in tabling RSOs.
This quarter-long research project helped me learn a lot about the processes and practices of user research. Here were a few of my takeaways:
Interviews were the most insightful.
Between my three studies, I would say that I learned the most from my interviews. Despite only having three participants, the ability to ask follow-up questions, have thorough discussions, and fully interact with students made my interviews truly enriching.
Data analysis is time-consuming.
I learned a lot about data analysis during my three studies. Sorting and organizing the large amounts of data took much longer than I initially expected. Understanding participants' experiences was not always straightforward and simple, and it required a lot of thought and effort.
Preparation is key.
One of my greatest strengths for this project was the preparation done before my studies. Having thoroughly planned each step out, I found the process to be much smoother and easier to manage. This is something that I plan to continue with future research and studies.