The goal

This design research project investigated the dynamics of bulletin boards. Our final proposal was to increase the value in and sense of ownership of bulletin boards while using crowd-sourced labor.

The users

Our primary users were the students who used bulletin boards for advertising and informing themselves.

The team

I worked with Ji Tae Kim and Albert Yang on this project.


Final concept


1 social rule

  • Outdated posters or posters covering other posters should be removed

3 system rules

  • Place a recycling bin nearby each board for easy disposal
  • Divide board with category system for easy organization
  • Only one bulletin board per building

 concept details


Concept implementation

While we weren’t able reduce the number of bulletin boards to one per building, we implemented the other rules of our proposal on a board at CMU. We wanted to avoid proposing a digital solution, as we felt a digital system would compromise the accessibility of bulletin boards themselves.

Impact over time

While the organization of the board significantly dropped after 2 months, the heavy usage of the recycling bin was a success. I do believe the construction wall covering up the bulletin board lowered the value of the board, in addition to decreasing overall real estate, leading to more disorganization.






Graffiti walls


Guerrilla velcro modeling

 process for research


Early interviews & observations

When first researching the problem space, our primary focus was understanding the behavior and motivations of relevant stakeholders. Through examining patterns we found in our preliminary research, we began to see a recurring cycle.

The “Bulletin Board Cycle”

  • People post on as many boards as possible and don't take down their posters after
  • People post over other posters, which are often outdated
  • Bullet boards overflow, losing value in the eyes of students

Observation insight

This is an "official board" which requires posters to be submitted and approved. However, over 40% of posters were outdated (shown in black). This led to an insight about the bulletin board system: the university doesn't really care.


Graffiti walls

We placed graffiti wall surveys on several popular bulletin boards, but they were actually covered up by other posters. We also submitted surveys to be posted by the administration, but they were never put up. This supported our earlier hypothesis that bulletin boards are a low priority for CMU.

Guerrilla velcro modeling

We sat around a coffee shop on campus and used a flexible modeling toolkit in order to find out what peoples' ideal bulletin board would look like. With the toolkits, we were able to collect interesting ideas as well as further our understanding of peoples' priorities.

Concept test

We tested a similar concept to the Broken Windows Theory on a small scale bulletin board, removing outdated posters and creating categories. Our tests proved successful, so we decided to move ahead with a larger scale implementation.