Weird Enough Productions
Roll: UX Research and Wireframes
SUMMARY: Weird Enough Productions is an educational platform that strives to teach students to critically analyze the different types of media they are presented with on a daily basis. Teachers who sign up for this platform are able to create lesson plans based on the various media provided by W.E. Productions.
How can we build platform that is robust enough for all users (including teachers, students and parents)?
How do we encourage student engagement?
How do we encourage teachers to go beyond the free trial?
Users want a platform that will allow them to plan out their lessons, present that lesson to students and track their progress along the course.
Provide teachers with features that will help make presenting a lesson via the platform as easy and straightforward as possible.
Use badges as a way to encourage students to progress through assignments.
Make sign up as easy as possible for types of users.
Due to financial and time restrictions , this project was done over a short time period. Much of the initial research including, competitive analysis and user personas were already completed. Although not ideal, I had to rely on the clients prior research. One benefit however was my prior teaching experience which proved extremely valuable in this situation.
Although the client did provide some of their own research, the one aspect I felt their research was lacking, was speaking to actual users. Many of the clients findings were from their own thoughts on what was needed on the platform. Doing my own research was a good way to validate their findings and find user pain points they may have over looked.
I was very excited to beginning user interviews as an early step in this process. I created a script and questions. The goal was to find common needs that teachers have when interacting with various educational platforms. Unfortunately, I soon learned that my client could not provide access to actual users. As a compromise I did call on teachers in my network to validate or invalidate some of my assumptions along the way. This was done via phone interview and Facebook survey.
Speaking to actual teachers provided a number of insights.
Teachers didn’t just want access to reading materials, they wanted information on multiple formats to help keep students engaged
with the subject.
Teachers wanted to the ability to see a quick view of their weekly lesson plans.
Ideally, they also wanted the ability to grade assignments right in the application.
After reviewing all the available research material, and gaining an understanding of the goals and features that would be included in the new platform, I decided to dive right into creating the information architecture. I created four (4) IA's to represent each of the paths the four (4) types of users would take.The AI became a useful tool throughout the duration of the project. The entire team was able to refer back to the AI to ensure major pages and functions were accounted for. Also, as myself and the graphic design worked together on early sketches it was helpful to indicate what pages we would each work on and in tracking overall progress. Matching each node with a sketch also helped me work though areas that could be refined.
I created several user flows. One for each of type of user (Individual Teacher, School Teacher (high tier), Students and Parents). This gave the whole team a detailed flow for each user and quick snap shot of how the user would reach their goal. It also provided details regarding what information would be needed on each page.
Below are the lowest fidelity wireframes that I created. These wireframes were a quick and easy way to begin laying out each of the pages including the features we planned to include. It also provided a great visual that I was able to use to discuss with the rest of the team to show the step by step of the features and how the user would flow through the process.
These medium fidelity wireframes, which were created in Sketch were done early in the design process. After talking with the stakeholders and going over my previous pencil sketches, it was agreed that my original wireframes would be used as the basis for the project going forward. Seen here are the Teacher Profile Page and the Lesson Plan Page.
What I Learned...
1. Things don't always go as planned. Although I made it clear to the stakeholders that one of my first steps would be to do a usability test and interview their current users, in the end, it wasn't possible. As a last resort, I did do a few informal interviews with teachers in my personal network which validated the additional features I suggested. I also wrote a script for the stakeholders as a guide to do their own interviews at a later date.
2. Using collaborative tools makes remote communicate easier. As I was creating my original Information Architecture document, it became apparent that my stakeholders preferred a format that was more collaborative. They wanted to be able to comment directly on the document I was creating. I decided to look for a solution and found Realtime Board. With RTB I was able to create the IA and allow the stakeholders and designer access to the document which made talking about it and making changes must easier.