Desk Space — Streamlining the co-working experience

Research & User Experience (UX) Design

The Challenge

Desk Space is a boutique co-working space in Sydney, with a vibrant community of ~200 members. They offer a mix of part-time and full-time memberships, as well as private offices for startups, sole traders and small businesses.

After a series of renovations, Desk Space's membership grew exponentially, leading to increased demand for meeting rooms and concierge services. The Desk Space team wanted to explore how they might deliver an exceptional experience to their members, while alleviating some of their growing pains.

I led a human-centred research and design project with Desk Space as part of my studies at UTS, working both independently and later with a small team.


The research needed to identify and priortise Desk Space's three biggest challenges. Working with time and resource constraints, the methodology also needed to be quick and achievable with a single researcher (ie. myself).


An in-depth group interview was conducted with Desk Space's core team to understand the current systems and processes in place, and the perspectives of key internal stakeholders.

A 'service safari' and customer intercepts were conducted in the space to identify member pain points and gains, both from a heuristic and empathetic perspective.

Scholarly and industry research was used to add further context to the research findings, and help validate the hypotheses generated through customer and stakeholder research.


I priortised Desk Space's three biggest challenges based on their impact on the member experience and business costs, alignment to Desk Space's strategy, the success of past approaches, and the potential for novel solutions.


Inefficient and disconnected member-facing systems

Adoption and utilisation of Desk Space's member-facing systems was a key challenge. While systems like Slack, Robin, Envoy and Zoom were chosen in order to streamline operations, they operated independently of each other. As a result, members had a disjointed experience when moving between systems, and functionality didn't always meet members' needs.
When members failed to adopt these systems, it led to room booking conflicts, lost parcels and dissatisfied members. By addressing the member experience and underlying systems, Desk Space stood to optimise their capital expenditure, reduce operational challenges and increase member satisfaction.


Low member participation and engagement

Part of Desk Space's customer value proposition (CVP) was a culture of collaboration and participation. In reality, members worked mostly in isolation, and social community events struggled to attract attendance. Academic research highlighted that successful co-working spaces facilitate business exchange, networking and the formation of supportive communities. By failing to engage their members, Desk Space was losing its competitive edge, at a time when there were over 90 co-working spaces across Sydney.


Poor utilisation of physical space

Despite recently renovating, Desk Space was still struggling with the limits of their physical space during peak times. High demand and limited availability of meeting spaces led to complaints from larger member businesses, who required breakout areas and video conferencing facilities for their growing teams. This was a growing concern as Desk Space planned to continue growing their membership. Given the potential impact on member satisfaction, it was important that a potential solution could manage member expectations and adapt the space or its usage to meet member needs.

The Solution

Working with a team of two collaborators, we designed a mobile-first digital solution to enable Desk Space members to explore the space and expand their professional network.

We designed UI mockups of 3 key screens — a personalised home feed, an assistant chatbot, and a meeting room booking assistant — and the relevant user flows. We also produced a report and pitch deck, with a narrative to communicate the future user experience.

The final product was featured in the UTS 'FASS Lane' Faculty Showcase.


I acknowledge the Cabrogal people of the Darug Nation, the traditional custodians of the land where I live and work. I pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

© 2024 Nusardel Oshana