Before the creation of ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation), graduate students attending CSUN had to physically hand in their dissertations. Now, thanks to the CSUN IT Department, graduate students can turn in their dissertations online via the first version of ETD. This first version allowed graduate students to submit their thesis and dissertations electronically to the CSUN Office of Research & Graduate Studies. It creates an end-to-end online workflow for the creation and approval of a master’s thesis, eliminating the need for paper submissions and manual routing.

META+LAB was commissioned with revamping the first version of ETD and adding features to increase the ease of process for research and communication between graduate students and professors.



Before updating the older version of ETD, we conducted extensive research to find out how we could improve upon the current product and what features we would add to increase the ease of use and benefits for both the graduate students and the professors. During this research and discovery process we studied the first version of ETD and spoke to faculty and staff about pain points in the platform.


Reviewing the original design of the application, the team determined that it needed a more modern user interface. At the same time, we needed to maintain the established workflow of the original version. Our first step was to use wireframing to ensure that we met both of these requirements and incorporating both existing and new features. After wireframing the new version, our next step was to apply the internally-developed Metaphor UI kit in order to give the application the established CSUN branding look and feel. With the design interface complete, we were ready to start the development phase and see our prototypes realized as a web application.

In looking at the original website we determined that the website needed a facelift to make the application more modernized. Our first step was to create a new yet similar flow to the website for its users in which we turned to wireframing the site in order to meet the needs of both the existing and new features. Our next step was to apply our UI Kit called Metaphor to the application in order to give the website the branding approved via CSUN as well make them similar to existing CSUN based websites. Once both these steps were signed off on we moved into the development phase where we took our prototypes and made them a reality in which you will see on the newly operational website.