Authentication App

The Design Objective

The goal of this project was to redesign the existing Wi-Fi login system to benefit the students and facility at the Emily Carr University of Art & Design.

The Project

Our group started by gathering user data about the wireless login, to gain an understanding of the problem. However it became clear that peoples dissatisfaction extended beyond the existing login interface, expending to the whole Wi-Fi network.

Most people we talked with felt that their inability to connect to the internet, or stay connected was somehow there fault, leaving users frustrated and discouraged. We built visibility into the network so that people can understand more about this limited resource, how they interact with it and the habits of the group as a whole to encourage them and perhaps nudge them to change.

Defining the Problem

I found a network survey tool to see if the issue was a perception of the user group or if there was technical reasons why the network was unreliable.


After testing the network, and consulting with a network engineer, we learned that the problems most people where experiencing where infrastructure problems. However since we could not make changes to the network we decided to address a few key points that we could design for.

Areas to Affect Change

  1. Authentication for the network
  2. Tie in to web-mail and courses site
  3. Personal impact of the network
  4. Overall network use

The Solution

To provide a more holistic solution to the problem we created a desktop application that allowed people to:

  • Connect to the network and school services.
  • To understand how long there session would last before they would need to reconnect.
  • The health of the network, based on active sessions.
  • Their personal impact on the network in upload and download traffic.
  • The general metrics for the types of traffic going through the network in the form of a icicle graph.

The application lives on your Finder bar and requires the user to log-in once with their school credentials. After that the users log-in and MAC address are stored so that you automatically gain access to the network.


The screen shows connection, current traffic on the entire network, current devices, your traffic and activity and access to school resources. The current traffic has drill down icicle charts to view total app traffic aggregated for the entire network. We hoped that if you could illustrate people browsing things like social media sites when the network is congested, they may change their habits.

The application ties into the schools email and internal course site with the same authentication system.

The application ties into the schools email and internal course site with the same authentication system.


Token - Current on the network
The types of devices on the network were shown as percentages. The goal was to hint that they may get better access if their extra devices were not on the network.

Token - disconnection notice
Built in is an indicator system for wifi congestion in a given area, utilizing a simple green = good, yellow = poor, and red = dropped connections.



Initially the scope of this problem was too limited to address the actual issues being seen. Through user research and gaining an understanding the technology, we were able to identify the extend of the issue. With this we could design a more complete solution that bypassed the need to modify the network infrastructure. We created a solution to address the authentication issue, the network status and how usage impacts the overall experience. Giving users the a little visibility helps people feel better about their user experience and perhaps will nudge them to be mindful about their internet use. Overall having better wireless infrastructure would have been the ideal solution, but using design allowed us to mitigate the some of the issues and give people visibility into others.


Kaonashi Radia →