Catapult_cover page

What's Catapult chicago?

Catapult golden circle

Catapult is a non-profit, peer-selected coworking space that helps tech startups scale. Other than offering space and amenities, Catapult has an active community formed by startup founders and sponsors who share experiences and help each other navigate the highs and lows of startup life. 

The project goal is to help Catapult differentiate itself among the plethora of coworking spaces and refresh their strategic vision to attract a steady source of potential candidates.

My role

In a team of 3, I did:

  • Research synthesis
  • Ideation
  • Digital wireframing
  • Mock-ups & prototype
  • Usability Testing
  • Project visuals / Deck and book production


  • Sketch
  • InVision
  • Illustrator
  • Axure RP
  • InDesign


  • User journey
  • Site map
  • Strategy guide book 
  • Prototype
  • Wireframes


After the project completed. Catapult Chicago took the website wireframes and style guideline we gave and reinforced the website. They've received positive feedbacks from current residents and potential candidates.


The Approach

Understand the Value of coworking

Catapult user interviews

We interviewed total eight users to learn what does startup founders value regarding the coworking space.  We discover that founders do not care about the fancy amenities that most coworking spaces offer. Instead, they are looking for an environment that allows them to focus on building their own business.

Affinity mapping1
affinity mapping2

Understand the process of finding office space

We analyzed the user journey by using the “5Es” framework. 

The 5Es framework is a simple way to tease apart the discrete parts of an experience. It can be applied to any experience and it helps to reveal complexity and detail that might otherwise go unnoticed.

People can break down their experiences in terms of:
Entice: How did you get interested?
Enter: How did you get there?
Engage: What did you do during the process?
Exit: How did you finish it?
Extend: How did you maintain the relationship after the process ended?

User journey of finding coworking space

By comparing the user journeys of Catapult users and non-users, we noticed both groups are doing lots of work in the enticement phase to find the appropriate work spaces. In Catapult’s current application process, the unique screening and pitching experience are what differentiates them from other competitors. 

Interview Findings


testing the existing website

To understand how effective Catapult’s website is in its current state, we sat with 4 test subjects and asked them to look for basic information (eg: price, location, type of business, etc.) on Catapult’s website and then do the same with 2 of Catapult’s 4 main competitors: 1871, WeWork, Make, or Assemble.

Testing Findings



Key Insights

To summarize, to tell a compelling story of Catapult experience to the potential users, we need to address on the following insights:

Key insights


Design Principles


The Master Plan

master plan

These three strategies address the interaction between founders and Catapult:


Improving the website to make it easier for founders to connect with the Catapult family.

Open house events

Hosting open houses and other events provide an opportunity for founders who are not members to experience Catapult’s community.

Founder’s list

leverage Catapult residents and alumni to regularly mine potential candidates regularly from their network and initiate interactions with them.


THE Validation

The pattern of how people navigate website

navigation process

Top criteria

Users begin their search by identifying their core needs: office size, location, and price. If users can’t find the information they’re looking for, they are likely to get frustrated and leave the site.

Secondary criteria

Things like community and programming are helpful selling points for a space that already meets their basic needs, but are not the primary criteria that convince a customer to buy. 

Supplementary criteria

Blog entries and press articles may be helpful, but only to someone who is already seriously considering the space and has the time to explore.


Open Card Sorting

card sorting

We used open card sorting to determine how information should be presented on Catapult’s website. Our open card sorting involved giving 7 test subjects cards with relevant words and phrases (in this case, the content sections from Catapult’s website) and had them organize the cards into groups and explain to us the choices they had made.

People arranged information according to priorities

One pattern that emerged from this was that subjects expect to find information arranged according to priorities: basic criteria, secondary criteria, and supplement criteria.

People grouped information based on types

We also found people consistently organized information having to do with: people, programming, and messaging.


Revised Site map

Revised Catapult site map

A better solution would be to map content to the expectations and needs of Catapult’s desired audience. The options in the global navigation header should base on priority. With the information presented in this way, users can easily find answers to their basic requirements. Once they can decide whether or not Catapult is a fit for them, they can then move on to explore secondary and tertiary needs in greater depth.

We tested the navigation with three users. All users were able to find the information promptly.

THE Design

We redesigned the website layouts to give Catapult staffs a style guide reference for future website revisions. Due to Catapult’s budget, they do not have a designated web design developer to customized the website. The current website is hosted on Square Space and managed by the marketing director. To work with the constraints, we developed the design based on the current Square Space template and made sure it is feasible for Catapult staff to execute the design.


Navigation Based on priority


Homepage only provides Enticement

Instead of placing the majority of contents on the homepage, the homepage should only provide enough critical information that attracts users click and being directed to the dedicated page. This principle could shorten the length of the homepage and allow users to get the overall picture of the site more efficiently.

homepage compare

Icons aid scan-ability

amenity c.png

Diagramming the Catapult experience

Diagramming Catapult’s unique experience allows the contents to stand out and be understood more easily.


Multiple calls to action

Adding buttons and questions in different place creates multiple opportunities for founders to provide contacts.


show “Catapult experience” by title, images & quotes

Titles will improve scan-ability, images will convey imagery and a sense of environment and pictures are worth a thousand words and quotes can be a powerful tool to support the website content.


style guide



Click on the image below to play with the interactive prototype.  


The Catapult team was satisfied with the deliverables. They said they were able to fresh their mind to look at the problem in a different perspective and know how to implement the action plans.
However, in the process, there were two things I wish I could have done better:

Always keep end-users in mind

While working with clients, it was easy to consider everything in client’s perspective. In the early research process, we were developing design principles that based on Catapult’s need but not users’. We were fortunate to find out and revised the principles later in the process. This is a key element that I want to remind myself in every future project.

Balance user research and testing

The nature of this project is substantial research based. We spent lots of time doing user interviews and synthesize the information we received from founders. Often we got the repeated result from founders and was stuck in the process. Later, when we started testing existing website, we found out substantial problems and were able to address them. However, we only fully tested the information architecture and have only one testing done for wireframes. I would like to do more user testing for the new wireframe design and validate our revision.