MateUp is an online social networking platform focusing on international students which main goal is to help ease the students’ moving processes.

MateUp aims to help ease the process of moving to a new country that international students have to go through by helping them make connections through features that allow them to meet fellow international students based on the country of origin, language spoken, or universities.

MateUp will also help them in finding resources that they might need by providing them with information regarding venues and events. This is the first app I designed based on a project I did during my MA.


Research / UX Design / UI Design / Branding


June 2022 (Redesign)
August 2021 (First iteration)
February 2020 – May 2020 (Research & Planning)


There are more than 485,000 international students in the United Kingdom and they make up to 19.6% of the total students in the British higher education system. In addition, 35.8% of all postgraduate students comes from various countries outside of the UK.​​

For these students, moving to an unfamiliar location could be a challenge, especially for undergraduate students who have just started experiencing living alone. It might be difficult to figure out how things work in the new city, things like transportations, how to find food, or even everyday norms and cultures that might differ from the student’s original country. It is especially hard if a student is not used to communicating in the new language—which in this case is English


Create a social networking platform that helps international students get settled in a new country.


Research was done by interviewing 10 international students which came from different countries, including 3 from mainland China, 1 from Taiwan, 2 from India, 1 from South Korea, 1 from France, 1 from Lebanon and 1 from Indonesia.

The struggles for most international students come from finding everyday items and food ingredients that they are used to. This is mainly an issue for the first few months and they have stated that they would have enjoyed learning about these things earlier. Another pain point for these students is the struggle of getting used to the different culture and social norms of the new country. This includes the confusion they get when encountering norms that they are not used to which according to the participants have landed them in some awkward social situations. They mentioned that they would have preferred to have these basic everyday norms explained to them earlier to avoid miscommunications.

The respondents also struggle to find friends from their home country, however this struggle applies only to those coming from outside of mainland China and India as it was easier them to find a community pre-departure.


A social networking app where:

  • Students could meet fellow students from their home country/the same university. The app would make it easier for students to make new friends through a discover new friends feature.
  • Students could interact with fellow students by creating new posts where they could post questions, polls, and images. They could also interact using the messaging feature.
  • Students could create and join community groups to meet new people offline. The group would be managed and moderated by fellow students.
  • Students could create and join events.
  • Students could get restaurants, entertainment venues, and stores recommendations from fellow students. The recommendations will be based on the students' search history, country of origin, university, and what the students' friends have recommended.

Based on these findings, I created 2 personas which resemble MateUp’s potential users.


This is the wireflow I created for the second iteration.


As MateUp is the first app I designed, I wasn't really happy with the original design and decided to go back and redesign it. I have included the first iteration in the next section.


This is the initial design I created for the app.