Canvas is the home base for all Northeastern academic programs. Faculty and student resources are available to help maximize teaching and learning on the platform.

Canvas is Northeastern’s learning management system and digital home base for course content, assignments, and communication.

Open, intuitive, and born in the cloud, Canvas streamlines all the digital tools and content that teachers and students love, for a simpler and more connected learning experience.

I led the research of Canvas Learning Management System(LMS) which was the initiative to learn more about how the portal is treating students and faculty members and what can be improved. The improvements and suggestions impacted a wide range of students and faculty members.


  UX Designer

Type and Timeline

8 weeks


Figma , Google docs
Google Slide
Google Spreadsheet


UX Designers
UX Researchers
Content Strategist

Research Goal

What is the problem that I’m solving?

After nearly a year long search, Northeastern selected Canvas as its next Learning Management System(LMS) and has fully transitioned from Blackboard to Canvas. Information Technology Services at Northeastern University would like to deep dive in LMS, explore and understand difficulties students and faculty members are facing.

— Objective

What is my end goal?

Key Research areas and questions:

1. What are the notable behaviors, preferences, barriers, and technologies that impact usage of the Canvas account?

2. Identify needs and opportunities that Northeastern University can offer.

3. Observe and understand students current steps that they take to explore certain task.

— Deliverables

What solution am I providing?

After a thorough analysis of data and conducting User Interviews , I was able to present my findings to Leadership. I found out that Canvas is highly regarded and students are enjoying it.

However, the pain points raised by students raised was lack of information provided to the instructors, and theirs response to Canvas was not up to par. Educating professors and instructors on the better usage of Canvas and all its functions can address the issue of a misleading interface.

— Process

What is the process I followed?

8-week user study to assess the effectiveness of Canvas offerings as participants used them in their natural environment. Participants were gathered from across the different colleges and courses.


The discovery phase is a journey of discovery with the aim of getting to know user pain points, frustrations and to gain can understanding of the user.

Two methods of research contributed to my discovery:
1. Qualitative Research
2. Quantitative Research

After a fair meeting with stakeholders for Canvas I had a fair understanding of the problem and goal forreseaarch which gave me a direction to write down good survey questions that could be on point and be understandable to my audience. I conducted a survey with 21 questions and was successful in receiving 700 responses.


Survey Results:

The survey was 21 questions long and I received 700 responses. This survey was facilitated through the Communications team at Northeastern University to avoid any errors and be consistent in asking open ended questions. Some of the main and important survey question and answers to highlight:


During the define phase, I sorted out the user requirements and the initial ideas to create personas.

User Personas: With the help of the survey results I was able to create user persona as these are important to see things from a users perspective.

User Scenario’s: User Scenarios describe in details what users do on an app or on a website and why they do it.


During the usability testing, I had 5 participants in total for the usability study. This was conducted remotely and via Teams meetings.

User Interviews


1. Professors use a specific format

2. Simplify the number of clicks a student does in order to access assignments, grades, due dates, lectures.

3. One suggestion would be to set the modules so that the most recent week is at the top. The module for that week should have links to everything for that weeks that Includes assignments, lectures, discussions, sign-ups for presentations, office hours.

4. For assignments, something should be done, so that I can click a button to see a list of comments made on assignment with a link to the pdf of the assignment if there are any comments made within pdf. Also, the pdf viewer should be full screen. At the moment it takes up 1/5 of the screen, so you can barely read 5 line of the part


Instructors should be encouraged to..

1. Lay out their courses using modules as often as possible.

2. Delete unused tabs , assignments etc.

3. Be consistent throughout the course with their usage of certain tools within Canvas.

4. Use integrations whenever possible, rather than forcing students to use tools outside of the application.

5. Fill in their contact information for easy student access.

Knowledge Base Articles on Northeastern Websites and ServiceNow…

— Takeaway

What did I learn from this project ?

I enjoyed a lot while doing this research and have grown my skillsets in terms of communication and showing empathy towards users. Defining the interview process, doing mockup interviews, co-ordination, and digging up insights from the user made me understand the significance of UX research. I learned how important it is to know what users want and how simple things that are ignored can be meticulously designed to serve users’ demands.