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Transforming the International Relocation Experience

Moveboard is a website that combines the best of Pinterest and Google Scholar for all things related to international relocation

My Role

Team Leader, UX Researcher, Product Designer

Project Type

Team Project for UBC's New Product Development Course


Design Thinking Method, Opportunity Scoring


Figma, FigJam Qualtrics, Microsoft Excel

Project Timeline

4 Months (January-April 2023)

International Relocation is a Life-Changing Decision. Yet...

With the high cost of travel, many people do not scout locations in person before relocating. Thus, people are unable to predict and prepare for life after relocation regarding housing, cultural interactions, social life, transit, financial management, and more. The move itself can be overwhelming and stressful for people, especially for those who moved alone. After the move, adjustment can also be challenging, causing some individuals to feel loneliness and isolation. As a team of international students and immigrants, we feel the pain. Thus, we wanted to see if others also face this challenge.

Design Process

We used the Design Thinking Methodology to tackle this problem space. Additionally, we applied the tools we learned from class, including exploratory interview, Better Brainstorming, opportunity scoring, and trade-off matrix. With the time constraint and the project's focus on research, we focused on first 4 steps of the Design Thinking Methodology. In addition, we included business consideration.


Please feel free to explore all the steps by clicking on the corresponding emoji!


Secondary Research

Competitive Analysis

Exploratory Interviews

Lead User Interviews

Better Brainstorming

Affinity Mapping


Needs Identification

Consumer Segment

Design Decisions


Opportunity Scoring

Trade-Off Matrix



High-Fidelity Prototype


Barriers to Adoption

Real, Worth, Win


As a designer, I need to understand my users and test my assumptions about the problem space.

Secondary Research: The Attractive Market

The relocation industry in North America is an attractive market, fueled by the large and growing international population. 


Large Number of Foreign-Born People

In Canada, more than 1/5 of the population are foreign-born individuals who went through the immigration process (Statistics Canada, 2021). In the US, there were 1.1 million new lawful permanent residents, 707K naturalized persons, and 77 million people who arrived on visas in the US  (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2018)


Growing Industry

The global relocation services market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% from 2021 to 2026, and reach a market size of $254.2 billion by 2026 (Research and Markets, 2021). The North American market is expected to be driven by the increasing number of corporate relocations, the growing number of international students, and people moving for better economic conditions (Research and Markets, 2021).

Despite the attractive market, based on our competitive analysis, there is a gap in the market as competitors' solutions do not satisfy all of users' needs. 

Competitive Analysis.jpg
Primary Research: Diving Deeper

To learn more about relocation challenges, my team conducted primary research using 3 techniques

Technique 1: Exploratory Interview

We started the primary research process by interviewing few international student and working professionals

Participant Criteria: 

  • People who have moved and are staying for at least 4 months (not vacation)

  • People who moved recently (< 3 year)

  • People who moved by themselves (not with family, not with partner, etc)

  • People who moved to a new city where they do not have much support/know people

  • People who have moved internationally

Lead Users.png

Technique 2: Lead User Interviews

Lead user interviews allowed us to gain another perspective and knowledge from people who have lots of experience in the problem space. We also got to see which of problems overlap with what the other interviewees shared.

Technique 3: Better Brainstorming

After a few interviews, my team implemented the Better Brainstorming technique to generate more questions to ask. We included the new questions ​in the later interviews.

The Better Brainstorming technique created by Hal Gregersen and covered in the Harvard Business Review is different from traditional brainstorming technique. Instead of generating answers, such as solutions to a problem space, when brainstorming, this technique suggest participants to brainstorm questions.

Brainstorming questions allowed us to understand our problem space better by exploring our curiosity and shared questions we had about our problem space.

Here are examples of questions we came up with: 

  • What are the subjective and objective information that people need to move?

  • Where are people getting reliable subjective information?

  • What’s a trigger for the user to look for a solution?

  • What are the main obstacles to people getting reliable and trustworthy information?

Analysis: Affinity Mapping

Combining our interview data from Exploratory and Lead User interviews, we identified needs, benefits, and pain points. Then, we used Figma to conduct an affinity mapping too further analyze our data. 


In summary, we grouped our findings into 13 themes


Root Cause: Lack of Quality Information

Through additional interviews and analyzing our data on Figma, we identified that the lack of quality information is the root cause and the biggest challenge. It is said that we are living in the ‘age of information.’ Yet, people who relocated internationally expressed dissatisfaction with the quality and quantity of information accessible to them.


In addition practical aspects of planning, such as securing housing and arranging for transportation, there are also emotional and psychological factors that can impact a person's ability to adjust to a new environment. With the high cost of travel, people may not potential locations in person before deciding to relocate. Thus, people need to rely on quality information to make life-changing decisions and navigate their new lives.


Whether it is information on housing, cultural norms, social life, or any other key aspect of life in a new place, having a quality resource can make all the difference in helping people feel more comfortable and confident as they embark on their new adventure.


As much as I want to solve all of users' problems, I need to define the key problem to solve through design.

So What Does "Quality Information" Mean?

We then defined what "quality information" mean by listing the needs and benefits users hope to satisfy.

Persona: Meet Jane

Additionally, based on our research, we decided to target students and working professionals who are moving internationally for at least four months alone with limited or no previous moving experience with the main need of information. Jane, our persona, is a great example of someone who is part of our consumer segment. 

Meet Jane.png

Jane Wang, Moveboard's Primary Persona


This is the stage where I brainstormed a wide variety of solutions to the users' problem, which is my personal favorite stage!

What Does Jane Care About?

To create a recipe for the solution, we needed to understand what our customer segment, Jane, cares about. Based on Harvard Business Review's Turn Customer Input into Innovation article by Anthony W. Ulwick, opportunity scores are a great way to identify what Jane cares about and which of Jane's needs are not satisfied yet.

Thus, we conducted a survey to examine how important (importance rating) each needs/ benefits are to our customer segment and how satisfied (satisfaction rating) they are with current solutions regarding the needs/ benefits.

Based on the importance and satisfaction ratings, the opportunity score was calculated with the following formula: Importance + (Importance - Satisfaction) = Opportunity

Slides NPD (1).png
The Trade-Off Matrix

Using the trade-off matrix, we identified the relationships (negative, positive, none) between the different needs. As much as we wanted to satisfy all the needs with our product, we needed to prioritize because there are many trade-offs between the needs, meaning satisfying a need can be at an expense of another. 

Tradeoff analysis.jpg
Prioritizing: Trade-Off Decisions

 In summary, we focused our design on the five needs with the highest opportunities scores.

Quality Over Quantity

Quality includes the quality of the information itself, such as having accurate information and the presentation of the information like having an user-friendly display. Interestingly, the needs with the five highest opportunity scores are related to the quality of our information

  • International relocation involves various factors, such as immigration policies, that can change frequently. Thus, having up-to-date information is crucial as relying on outdated information can lead to unexpected problems. 

  • As reflected in our primary research and opportunity scores, people had challenges with navigating certain sources, such as government websites. Therefore, we prioritized easily accessible to allow users to quickly and conveniently find key information.

  • Our users will rely on our information to make life-changing relocation decisions, so their trust in our resources is a must. 

  • It’s crucial for our users to make informed relocation decisions using accurate information. 

  • International relocation is already stressful enough, so users do not want to be overwhelmed with information. 

Other than trustworthy that goes hand-in-hand with the other needs, the other four have tradeoffs, mostly related to the quantity of information. For example, if we have versatile information all in one place, it will be extremely challenging to fact-check everything. Moreover, the large amount of information can negatively influence the user experience.


Therefore, we prioritize quality over quantity. It’s important to note that we still include many key information needed to make important relocation decisions. However, our solution is not a “one-stop shop” that includes very detailed information like house/ apartment listings.



  • Up-to-Date


  • Easily Accessible


  • Trustworthy


  • Accurate


  • No Information Overload

  • All in one place

  • Versatile information

Basics Over 'Unique'

Another theme of our trade-off decisions is having basic vs. more unique benefits. We were surprised by the survey results as we wrongly assumed that our users would have wanted benefits that my team viewed as more unique, such as personalized, relatable, or proactive information. Instead, our users’ basic needs when information searching, like having accurate information and not feeling overwhelmed, have not been met yet. Therefore, using our opportunity scores as a recipe for our design decisions, we prioritized the basic benefits.



  • Up-to-Date


  • Easily Accessible


  • Trustworthy


  • Accurate


  • No Information Overload

  • Proactive information


  • Relatable


  • From a real person


  • Real-time


  • Personalized

Brainstorming Solutions

Next, we started to brainstorm possible features with 2 brainstorming sessions. Here are some of our favourite ideas: 

Search Engine with Fact-Checked Information

Like Google-Scholar, information included are all fact-checked and from reliable sources. Fact-checked information can also be verified. Displaying the source and the dates the our solution and sources are last updated can also help users. 


Quiz and Email Updates

After completing a quiz (which is an advanced filter), users will be given tailored relocation information and advice. Based on users' quiz answers, they will be send regular emails with up-to-date information


ChatGPT Inspired Chat Bot

An AI chat bot that can answer users' relocation questions like a real-time conversation. 


Fact-Check Extension 

A browser extension or plug-in that allow users to fact-check the information they are viewing. 


Bite-Size Information and Dashboard

Like Pinterest, users can browse through bite-size information and save and organize their information in a dashboard.

"Exchange Report"


Through our interview, we learned about "exchange reports" that York University has implemented, through which past exchange students can pass on their experiences and knowledge to future exchange students to help them make more well informed decisions and be informed about more personal things, such as cultural shock and social life.


Building Trust Through Other Users

Like Tripadvisor and Reddit, allowing users to see other users using and trusting the product can help build trust. 

To short list our idea, we had a few considerations.

Users' Current Search Behaviour


Having a solution that align with users' existing behaviour can help with product adoption and allows users to use our product at ease. First, instead of other ideas, such as a service or a phone app, we chose to create a website because our customer segment currently searches their information online using websites on their computer.  We also included the dashboard feature, which allow users to save and organize their information like they are used to.

Alignment with Key User Needs

We did not want to limit our imagination so when brainstorming we accepted all ideas. When shortlisting our ideas, we used both our opportunity scores and trade-off decisions as recipes for design. We examined if and how each idea can satisfy the key user needs.

UI Inspiration

Next, I created an UI inspiration board, which helped with the ideation process and ensured I use components and patterns that users are already familiar with

UI Inspiration.png

UI Inspiration Board


Prototyping allows me to share my ideas and for users to experience my ideas.

Grayscale Wireframes

After ideating with the team, I organized our ideas and created the initial wireframes. I focused on the two main screens, which are the feed and the dashboard screens. 

Moveboard Wireframes.png


High Fidelity Prototype 

With this project's emphasis on user research and short timeline, the design process was simplified. We wrapped up the product side of the project with the following high-fidelity prototype. 


I am proud to present our final solution, Moveboard!

Our product, Moveboard (a mood board for moving), is a website that combines the best of Pinterest and Google Scholar for all things related to relocation.​ Like Pinterest, users can easily browse through bite-size information and save important information to their dashboard. Like Google Scholar, the information shared has been fact-checked.

Slides NPD (2).png





To ensure users get the most up-to-date information, our team will consistently update our website and let users know when the information was last updated. Users can also turn on notifications to receive up-to-date information based on their dashboard; if the information in their dashboard is outdated, users are notified.

Easily Accessible

Moveboard’s search bar and filters help users filter through feed and dashboard information easily to find what they need. Based on what the user clicks on, information similar to the users’ selection are shown. For example, if a user clicks on information regarding Vancouver, they are shown more Vancouver relocation information. Therefore, in a way, Moveboard predicts what users will be searching for and displays the information, simplifying the search process.


Our team understands that trust cannot be built overnight, but we have hope to build trust with our user by showing others trust our source. For example, we will show how many people saved certain information to their dashboard. Also, based on our primary research for part one of this project, people trust sources like Reddit, where others can share their approval/ disapproval of information, more. Therefore, we want to include an upvote/ downvote feature to give users peace of mind.


To fact-check the Moveboard's information, our team will conduct both primary and secondary research. For primary research, as many of our target audience are students and young professionals, we hope to approach universities and companies with a large international population and ask if the international population would be interested in sharing their experience with some compensation and helping others like them. We will then analyze the data. For secondary research, our team hopes to fact-check by learning more about the organization that shared the information and see if other sources also have the same insights. A logo will be shown so users know the information they are reading is fact-checked and accurate.

No Information Overload

To fact-check the Moveboard's information, our team will conduct both primary and secondary research. For primary research, as many of our target audience are students and young professionals, we hope to approach universities and companies with a large international population and ask if the international population would be interested in sharing their experience with some compensation and helping others like them. We will then analyze the data. For secondary research, our team hopes to fact-check by learning more about the organization that shared the information and see if other sources also have the same insights. A logo will be shown so users know the information they are reading is fact-checked and accurate.



Apart from having a great product, we also needed to considered the business side of the project launching new product. Please note it's only a summary of our business considerations below. Please contact me if you would like to learn more!

Unique Selling Proposition

For people seeking resources to make informed decisions about international relocating, our comprehensive information portal provides the information needed. Unlike our competitors, our platform is designed with up-to-date, trustworthy, and accurate information at the center, without sacrificing the user experience.

Potential Barriers to Adoption


Observability (Rogers' Five Factors)

Observability means whether someone can observe others using it. This is our most difficult barrier to adoption because the relocation search behaviour is often done privately, and observation of Moveboard’s users, such as seeing the number of upvotes, requires people to be on the website first. To address this barrier, we plan to collaborate with influencers and encourage users to share their dashboard with friends


Network Product

A network product is one that increases in value as the user base grows. This is a barrier to adoption because without enough users, the number of saves and upvotes would be low, deterring people from using the product. To address this barrier, we are not including certain features that require others' inputs in the first version, and will add them later on.


Trialability (Rogers' Five Factors)

The third barrier to adoption is trialability, which refers to how easy and risk-free it is for users to try the product. To minimize barriers of adoption relating to trialability, we simplified the onboarding process, and users can see some free information before paying


Relative Advantage (Rogers' Five Factors)

The fourth barrier we identified is relative advantage, which refers to the degree the new product is better than existing solutions. Our satisfaction score suggests that users are not satisfied with existing solutions. However, relative advantage is subjective, so we must test our solutions with users.

Real, Worth, Win


Is It Real?

In addition to the sizable and growing relocation market mentioned earlier, our opportunity scores further support our hypothesis that there is a gap in this market, in which users need accurate, up-to-date, easily accessible, and trustworthy information without information overload. Thus, we have validated our problem space. With that said, further consideration, especially around technical feasibility and data collection is needed

Can We Win?


We are not expecting the target audience to change their consumption habits. Our solution is to fill a gap that already exists. We designed Moveboard to fulfill the most important attributes that we recognized from our survey that are not yet satisfied by existing solutions. Hence,we believe we have relative advantage over competitors' product which can be validated through product testing. Additionally, we believe our advantage is sustainable and can survive responses by competitors because Moveboard is a network product, which will be difficult for others to copy as our value come from a large number of users.

Is It Worth It? 


Since relocation information is an unavoidable and important need in people’s lives, they are willing to seek solutions proactively, making our target audience a self-search segment. Based on the survey, there were several needs ranked significantly higher than "affordable", which indicates the willingness of potential customers to pay for fulfilling their priority needs. However, while there is a willingness to pay, the customer lifetime value is low, which means that we might not be able to generate a significant amount of revenue from repeating purchases. Further financial analysis will be needed to identify whether the opportunity is worth pursuing financially. 

Go or No-Go: GO!

Based on our considerations and analysis, we would recommend going forward with Moveboard. The main reason is that based on our interviews and opportunity scores, we have identified a gap in the market that our solution can address. In addition, based on our analysis using the RWW criteria and Rogers' Five Factors, we believe our concept is worth pursuing.


With that being said, we should proceed with caution as we need to be aware of the risks. Please see the "Looking Ahead" section for potential steps to minimize the risks.


As a resilient life-long learner, I reflect and learn through my projects!

Challenges and Key Learnings

"Better Brainstorming" Technique

Brainstorming questions helped us to understand our problem space better. Instead of focusing on being right or coming up with the perfect idea, we explored our curiosity and shared questions we had about our problem space. These questions allowed us to identify the gaps we had in our research, allowing us to add questions to our later interviews and gain more insights to further define our problem space.

Send Survey to More People


We discovered that sending surveys can be tricky and we shouldn´t send just the number you need. The process showed us that even when the number of people you need to fill out the survey isn´t massive, we should take into account that not all of them will answer. An infinite number of problems can come up, and on top of that, they might just not do it because they lack interest in your project. So we learned to send our survey to more people than needed, not only to gather more and broader data but to make sure the minimum amount is covered.

Scheduling Meeting Times


A major challenge our team faced was finding meeting times. First, we had conflicting schedules, in that our avaliable times hardly overlapped. For example, on Wednesdays, each teammate had class one after another from 10:30am all the way to 10pm. In addition to our schedules, external factors, including a few team members traveling and getting sick, made it even more difficult to find meeting times that all members could attend. Luckily, our team members are all accommodating. We collaboratively found times that worked for most if not all team members and also sharpened our ability to communicate with each other asynchronously. 


As a designer, I also need to think about other considerations, which align with my ABCD framework.

Next Steps

Validate Our Solution


The main reason why we suggest to go forward with Moveboard is that is that we believe we have identified a gap in the market that our solution can address. Thus, it's essential for us to validate our solution to see if it actually effective addresses' users' pain points. We recommend conducting a concept testing using the BASES II method to estimate users' interest based on their purchase intentions. That way, we can test our solution without the actual product. We also plan to do usability testing to make sure our product is user-friendly and to gain additional feedback.

Collect Additional Data


We would also like to conduct further research. In particular, we wanted to examine the the opportunity scores for a combination of needs. To illustrate, we collected the opportunity scores based on individual needs, such as “accurate” and “no information overload”. However, we do not know how satisfied users are with a combination of needs. For instance, although users may be moderately satisfied with accurate information, they may experience information overload when getting the information. Therefore, the satisfaction score for both “accurate” and “no information overload” may be much lower. 

Financial Analysis


One potential challenge we may face is developing a clear and effective monetization strategy for our product, as we have not yet tested potential revenue streams. As mentioned before, our survey respondents ranked several needs significantly higher than "affordable", which indicates the willingness of potential customers to pay for fulfilling their priority needs. With that being said, we should explore various pricing models and premium features to determine what will work best for both the business and our users.

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