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University of Michigan School of Information


Design Clinic

Design Clinic

Proposal open date: June 1
Proposal close date: August 2 (for September-December project), November 2 (for January-April project)
Project timeline: September-December or January-April
Project duration: 15 weeks
Number of projects needed: 20

Design Clinic Website

Note: This program runs in both the fall and winter semester. Projects are being recruited for both terms.


In Design Clinic, interdisciplinary teams of four to six bachelor’s and master’s students, matched with a professional mentor, collaborate and innovate on fast-paced, self-driven, semester-long projects, acting as consultants by managing projects, scoping deliverables, executing on mutually-agreed upon outcomes and creating a plan for sustainable implementation. Project areas include librarianship, digital preservation, data science and user experience design. Depending on the needs of the project, student teams may leverage design thinking methodologies, data analysis skills, digitization strategies and user-centered design to produce prototypes for their client.


  • Deliverables will vary by project and are based on the client needs and project scope. Examples may include:
    • User research reports
    • User experience testing
    • Personas
    • Heuristic evaluations
    • Competitive/comparative analysis
    • Information architecture analysis and updates
    • Workflow strategy and documentation for archival work
    • Data cleaning, analysis, and visualization
    • Lo-fidelity prototypes, such as wireframes or clickable (but non-functioning) digital interfaces

Client Requirements 

  • Level of engagement for course/program 
    • 30-60 minute weekly or bi-weekly meetings with student team
    • Regular feedback and communication to student team based on the course schedule
    • Introduction to stakeholders and users for interviews and/or data gathering
    • Access to organizational data, systems and/or resources necessary to project completion
    • Attend Fall/Winter Term Student Project Exposition Event (optional)
    • Complete project evaluation
  • Special requirements for the course/program 
    • Work with students to scope the project, define deliverables and provide clear feedback on progress
    • Provide relevant information and context to student teams about the company, organization and/or project
    • Products and projects should be stable and not pivot in scope or product type during the Design Clinic program
    • Include opportunities for creative and innovative exploration of the challenge

Additional Details

Past Projects

  • Connecting People to Food Resources. Students assisted FoodFinder in serving a larger audience through conducting user interviews and a competitive analysis to provide recommendations.
  • Design Clinic Students Improving Higher Education Outcomes. Students worked with TechSmith to improve higher education outcomes through virtual learning platforms.
  • Communication Design. Students analyzed Comerica Bank's current methods of internal communications, looking for ways to improve those methods or introduce new methods to help increase internal engagement.
  • Assessing Risk for Older Adults. Students helped a local nonprofit develop an online assessment tool for caregivers, to increase awareness and utilization of the resources available to help them avoid and respond to potential crises.
  • Interface Updates to Messenger Bot. Students assisted a company developing a Facebook Messenger bot designed to interact with students traveling internationally.
  • Data Analysis of Trends in US College and Research Libraries. Students conducted analysis on three data sets for academic librarians regarding faculty status, determining trends over time and answering questions about the connection between faculty members receiving doctoral degrees from research universities and likelihood of receiving tenure.
  • Smart Finance with Alexa. Students assisted NBC Universal in creating a voice experience in the finance space for millennials, researching the problem space, interviewing potential users, building personas and prototyping ideas.

Client Testimonials

  • "The students created advanced mockups of a new user interface for our Builder tool that we'll use to guide product development of both the Builder and the entire application. They've also given us a new approach to product development—the way they conducted interviews and the processes they outlined for turning their interview notes into real, actionable items is a process we'll definitely be trying to replicate going forward."
  • "I'm extremely thankful to the wonderful students who helped us design a better outcomes calculator. They helped us think of the offering as something more and imagine a better, more well-rounded version of the product—I firmly believe that it will be well-received by our clients and create an impact in the lives of patients."

Past Clients

Contact us

Engaged Learning Office | | (734) 763-1251

Please complete this form to submit a project proposal for one of our client-based courses or other programs, or to receive information about these opportunities throughout the year.