Sunshine Running System

What was delivered?

We designed and implemented a running check-in system using RFID and face recognition, as well as a record inquiry website.

I was the UX lead responsible for user research, functionality design, also responsible for database design and website implementation.

How was it achieved?

Phase 1: Background and requirements


The program is aimed to manage the mandatory running program for students to earn credits in their P.E. courses by finishing certain times of qualified long distance running. 

But what makes a run "qualified"?

Students do run and run on their own.

I conducted interviews with our potential users: students, P.E. teachers and admins. Students were asked randomly on the playground,16 in total; Teachers were my P.E. teachers and coaches in aerobics team; only 1 administrator could be reached but with rich experience. I ranked all the needs collected from the users in priority to inspire further designs.

Earlier designs of the system forces runners to stop every 200m for checking in to guarantee they kept running on their own. Runners hates that ! Thus I designed time check and identity check to replace the frequent pauses.


Phase 2: Research on technological methods


A brief research on different check methods were done. I chose fingerprint, iris, face and voice recognition as four candidates. Face recognition is regarded superior resulted from its low cost for set up and maintain, and good accuracy.

Inquiry from website would be easy if running records are connected to school accounts. Same consideration makes RFID tag be ideal as our student card are using RFID technology.


Phase 3: Determining task flow

A sketch of the total work flow is provided including all three kinds of users. The whole process was checked by users (mainly students as they have most complex involvement) and modified, adding the presentation of running results on the display of outdoor device and registration part was added for original face data collection.

A detailed task flow for students is designed and shown in the figure


Phase 4: Implementing functions

inquiry web.png

Database design and implementation:

I implemented database using MySQL, leaving out administrator in the design because of time limitation for implementation. 

Data collection and processing (by my teammate, the JAVA developer)

  • JAVA is the main language used in development, including data transmission, face recognition and RFID recognition.
  • PCA algorithm was used for face recognition (referred to open source codes).
  • Swing was used to generate basic graphical user interface of the outdoor device according to prototype


Online Inquiry system
I designed and implemented the web of inquiry system connected to the database. There are different pages for different user types, students and teachers. Feedback function was not able to included yet.


Personal Insights

  • Designers should care about the latent needs of the users, and think out of the box! 
  • Technology should be chosen according to real environment settings;
  • A blueprint of on-campus experience:
    • Long-distance RFID will perform better if used in wearable devices (e.g. intelligent bracelet), No need to check in manually!
    • More functions are feasible using NFC and Wi-Fi for data transmission: access control of dormitories, libraries, labs, etc., purchase in canteen or in school supermarkets; in-class activities like checking in and answer questions; daily workout tracking and data recording...... This is cool and practical!
  • We have come to a stage where digital artifacts are shaping our life. I wish to contribute to this big picture in a user-friendly way!