Background

What is Education.com?

Education.com is an immersive learning environment that empowers teachers and parents to develop a child’s potential.  The Guided Lessons app provides pre-sequenced games for Pre-K to 5th grade students.

Redesigning Education.com's Guided Lesson App

The Challenge

Improve retention by improving the kid frame app experience.

My Role

As Research & UX Lead, I defined, prioritized, and executed the research strategy.  I also prototyped and validated the design.

My Process

This is my typical process for end-to-end projects.  I start by understanding the problem and diverging.  I converged to a specific problem to define it.  Then I diverge again to find many potential solutions for my defined problem.  Finally I converge again to zoom into one solution.  From there I test my solution and iterate multiple times to make sure I found the best solution to the problem.

Image: My design process

The problem

What was the original experience?

From customer support, we discovered that the kid frame experience needs improvement.  We were not sure exactly what area of the app needed improvement.

Image: Original Experience

Understand

Task flow

Because of the apps complexity, I first familiarized myself by mapping out the system into a task flow.  Once I understood the flow I was able to hypothesize specific pain points.

Image: Task flow

Affinity map

In order to test my assumptions and identify other pain points, I designed a usability task.  I analyzed the data through affinity mapping. 

Image: Synthesizing results of usability test through affinity mapping

Persona & job story

To ensure the entire team understood who were designing for, I documented our persona using the Jobs To Be Done Framework.  I also mapped out the user journey to visualize the users current experience.

Image: Persona and user journey map

Define

After synthesizing and documenting our research I was able to pin point our area of focus because kids don't know:

  1. Where to start

  2. What they are working on

  3. That they are making progress

Explore, validate, iterate

Design workshop

To promote collaboration I led Education.com's first design workshop!

Image: Education.com's first design workshop

Clickable prototype

Next I rapidly created a clickable prototype to test our ideas with our target audience, pre-kindergarten to 5th grade kids.  My main rationale was to make other games less accessible upon starting the app to discourage skipping around.  The screen exposing the other games is only available upon clicking pause.

Original

Redesign

Image: Major screens of clickable prototype

User testing with kids

I tested my assumptions using a usability test similar to the original usability task, to compare data.

I documented the results using a rainbow chart and wrote a blog about it!  Briefly, here's how to read a rainbow chart: 

Image: Synthesis of usability test using a rainbow chart

Create

The high-fidelity portion of this project was passed on to another UI designer in order for me to strategize for the next project in the UX pipeline.

1. Design is more kid friendly

2. Auto-start so user can follow an easy-to-follow path

3. Screen is less cluttered to deter users from skipping around.  Roly (the cat) appears if no immediate action is taken, suggesting the user is stuck.  If the student clicks Roly, the hint fills the screen.

4. If a user wants to navigate to another game, he or she must click pause.  From this menu, the user can easily navigate anywhere in the app.

5. I added the "Start lesson here" so when students re-navigate to the map, they have a better cue of where to start.

Image: Major screens of hi-fidelity design

Outcome

This project was de-prioritized for a while.  While waiting for development I continued to conduct user texting with kids on new games, new artwork, & worked on the revised flow of new game maps!  Check out an illustration I worked on here!

Key Takeaways

1.  User testing with kids is very different from user testing with adults.  Because the data you collect can vary so drastically from kid to kid, ensure that you have double the amount of users, and have them spread across the age-range you are testing for.  Next time, I may further decrease the scope to a more specific age range since kids who can read have a very different experience than kids who can't.

2.  Design workshops are a great way to get engineers & other stakeholders involved.  There are a few things I learned to guarantee a smooth session.  First, make sure its a small, yet diverse group.  Second, make sure you have a time to time box things to maximize efficiency.

 

3.  This was my very first project at Education, week 2 of being at the company and a lot about this design process has changed since then.  Remember that there are many ways to do these design sprints, design critiques, and the entire design process.  We must remember to not just iterate on the designs, but on the process too!  We should never stop learning and we should constantly be finding ways to improving how we work together.