Using Figma in Unmoderated Research with 4000+ Users during the Pandemic

It’s the summer of 2020, COVID-19 is still raging. The Belgian government just mandated all dining facilities to keep tabs (checking in with names and contact information) on every person that visits their establishment. For the most part this happens by letting people write down their information on sheets of paper.

For the canteen of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of Belgium’s top universities, this causes serious concerns: from September on between 500 and 1500 people visit the canteen daily. Not only does the “pen and paper” approach pose serious scalability issues it also raises multiple data privacy concerns.

Is there an app for such purpose - an online check-in to the canteen ?

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel contacted us to help them figure out a solution. There were two main questions:

  1. Would students and staff be willing to check in digitally (this was before the rise of national COVID apps)?
  2. How could we build a digital check-in system that offered as little barriers to entry as possible to maximise usage amongst campus population?

To tackle these two issues, we decided to build an MVP - a minimum viable product designed at the initial stage of creating the first workable version of your new business concept.

It would be tested for a week at the start of the academic year. Canteen visitors would be able to check in both digitally and on paper. In order to ensure maximal possible adoption, we decided to go for a progressive web app. Having prepared a design in Figma, we brought it to life using

We made it accessible by scanning QR-codes posted at the entrances and exits of the canteen. Upon scanning users are redirected to a page to provide their contact information. If a student has already checked in on previous days, the app remembers his contact details and makes the procedure faster and even easier.

You can try out the app and check out its original design in Figma below.

Validating at Scale

Over the course of the first week upward, 4000 people checked in digitally using the MVP. Although a small minority continued to check in via paper, over 95% of check-ins happened digitally thereby answering the initial questions.

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel decided to further implement this check-in system over the entirety of its campus.  Also, they added additional features to the application, such as live head-counts and contact tracing.  The system sported 1500 check-ins daily before it was eventually discontinued as the pandemic thankfully ended in 2022.

Also want to validate an MVP at scale from a Figma Design? is a no-code prototyping and user research platform. It enables you to turn existing Figma designs into fully functional prototypes that automatically collect the usability data you need to support your user research and innovation efforts. Wondering how to use in your next project? Try it out for yourself or have a chat with us. turns your Figma design into working web apps