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Project Scope

  • User Research
  • Business Premises
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Task Analysis
  • Dev Requirements
  • Concepts
  • Conclusions

My role

  • UX Research
  • Project management
  • UX Design
  • Presentation Design
  • Product design

Not only was this project great, but the teamwork behind it was excellent! This is an excellent interface. I wish it was widely available.

Client image
Yulia Goldenberg, Ph.D.
Lecturer
@
Study Hub
The Academic College, TLV-Yaffo
Introduction

As part of my psychology BA studies and the Human-Computer Interaction major, I participated in the UX design for complex systems course, and this is my team's final project - we decided to improve the existing student portal.

We knew that as a group of students, it will be difficult to leave our personal thoughts and beliefs about how a product like this should behave and look.

Company Goal & Mission

We came up with a defined goal and mission which will lead us through the project process:

Goal

Creating a convenient and understandable system that mediates between the student and the services of the educational institution.

Mission

Making information, tasks, and assignments easily accessible to the student.

System Goals
Main Objective

Integrate existing college systems so the students can perform actions and receive information in a fast and accessible way.

Secondary Objectives
  • Improving the user satisfaction survey score.
  • Reducing unnecessary communication with technical support.
  • Increasing the percentage of system logins.
  • Reducing performing actions time.
  • Reducing user error percentage in the system.

Competitors Analysis

We performed a detailed review of our current competitors which are similar systems being used in different institutions, then we gather the findings into pros and cons:

Pros
  • Simple and intuitive system navigation.
  • Accessible lecturers contact information.
  • Calendar with relevant and contextual information.
  • Accessible files per class and time.
Cons
  • Irrelevant info & actions located in key system locations.
  • Irrelevant info & actions for different type of users (student / lecturer)
  • Bad use of UI and layout.

System Added Value
  • Simplicity: Provide ease of use for the users, by the salience of main features, without confusion.
  • Efficiency: Lowering the number of support applications, and therefore it’s institute’s resources.
  • Certainty: Provide certainty for the user's actions through a holisticand consistent experience throughout the system.

Key Success Factors

We defined these success factors which can help us messure how well our design is performing when launch and being used by students:

  1. Reduce lecturer's information search time to 1.5 minutes.
  2. Reduce download a presentation / document time below 1.5 minutes.
  3. Reduce works and exercises submission time below 2 minutes.
  4. Increasing the average system satisfaction to at least 4 out of 5.

Stakeholders
  • Potential users: Students, lecturers, technical support teams.
  • Customers: Universities & colleges
  • General stakeholders: The founding team

Discover User Research Methods

We knew a deep and profound research would provide us the answers we needed to base our product's decision on.

We performed both quantitive - user feedback questionnaire, and qualitative - user interviews, methods, as well as questioning the technical support team in our instution and some of our lecturers, all of this in order to get to the bottom of it.

We committed the following qualitative and quantitative methods:

  • Users feedback - 50 student: Self reported, open-ended and close-ended information
    provided by a sample of users (students) through an online questionnaire.
  • Interviews - 5 students & 3 lecturers: A researcher conduct interviews with potential users (students and lecturers),to discuss in depth what the participant thinks about the topic in question.

Qualitative Research - User Interviews

At first, we wrote an interview script for us to use while interviewing the students.

Here are some of the comments we received from students about how they are using the current system:

  • I realized that this is the given system and I need to accept it, there isn’t any other option.
  • I felt frustrated, if I understood what is written on a button - I would not be wasting time.
  • It's disappointing, you invest a lot of money in tuition and you accept a reasonable system to work with.
  • I felt I had to fight to be able to grab the courses I needed.
  • I'll be more patient next time, I do not know if there will be a change.

Quantitative Research

The questionnaire we built consists mainly of questions about two categories:
Actions and information items, and in each category, there were 17 questions.
For example, under the category "Actions" there is an item "Sending a message to a lecturer".

On each item, participants were asked to rate according to two categories: importance and frequency.
From 1 (very low importance) to 4 (very high importance), and from 1 (very low frequency) to 4 (very high frequency).

From the results we received - we could see how many people (N) marked the score on a 1-4 scale.
To get an exact result of which item is more important / more frequent, we created a formula with a wider scale of 200 (the number of participants N=50, times the number from the 1-4 scale) so ​​that each result shows the numerical value of the item.

The Formula: [(N*value)+(N*value)+(N*value)+(N*value)] / max-value

Example item - My average score:

  • Information item
  • According to its frequency: 15 people marked 1, 17 people marked 2, 11 people marked 3 and 7 people marked 4.
  • According to the formula = [SUM (C21 * 4, E21 * 3, G21 * 2, I21 * 1)] / 200
    = ((15 * 1) + (17 * 2) + (11 * 3) + (7 * 4)) /200 = 0.5 - Its the value of the average score frequency.

We got a numerical value that we later added together with the importance value (same formula).
According to the final scores (frequency score + importance score) we displayed the items hierarchically with a matching color coding.

Task Analysis

After we received all of the data from both the user interviews and the user feedback, we converted it to a task analysis format which will provide us with the bottom line prioritization of all of the data items and actions our users will perform on the platform.

Concept 01
Action Flow

Downloading a presentation file of a certain course

References

College of Management Academic

  • Each course displayed presenting it’s vital info.
  • Hierarchy of information is logical and intuitive.

Hadassah Academic College

  • Courses layout was clear and efficient.
  • Consistent content throughout courses.

Concept Wireframe
Pros
  • Simple layout, easy to scan and understandable.
  • Most relevant information are displayed.
  • Match between system and the real world.
  • Consistency and standards.
  • Recognition rather than recall.
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use.
  • Help and documentation.
Cons
  • Visual layout maybe to simple/cute.
  • Lack student's personal information - year, school, grades.

Concept 02
Action Flow

Submission of assignments and exercises

Visual References
  • Clean ,flat & modern dashboard UI.
  • Clear hierarchy, profile area.
  • Simple, easy to scan and understandable layout.
  • System search bar, accessible support.

Concept Wireframe
Pros
  • Information dashboard display
  • Search bar efficiency
  • Outlined important action (such as register for new courses)
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use
  • Aesthetic and minimalist design
  • Solution based customized system
  • Help and documentation
Cons
  • Can cause cognitive overload
  • Can cause orientation confusion
  • Can take time to adjust

Concepts conclusion

We presented both concepts to our classmates and lecturer and collected their feedback.

Concept 01 - Winning
  • Orientation was clear
  • Aesthetically pleasing and unthreatening
  • Usage of images created a clearer action decision
  • User friendly UI
  • Language differences could be a confounding factor
  • Might be too simplistic
Concept 02
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Division of Info and actions was clear
  • Search bar was noted positively
  • Customized layout option received positive feedback
  • Dashboard’s info caused disorientation
  • feedback concerning high cognitive overload

Next, we developed the final version of the product based on the most preferred features and layouts from both concepts.

Experience a demo prototype of the final concept - PLAY PROTOTYPE

Next Steps
Out-of-scope questions in the current process that require further consideration
  • Convert the final design to work on both mobile and tablet devices.
  • Create full user fellows for all the actions and screen in the system.
  • Define further KPI’s for more features.
  • A-B testings for main screens and features.
  • Create a system for a lecturer profile.
  • Present and collect feedback from more stakeholders.

Main Dilemmas we faced
Methodological Approaches and Research dilemmas
  • The quantitative questionnaire we published to our participants contained plenty of specific information we wanted to gather, and that could have led to form abandonment. To prevent that, we decided that all questions about the user experience are to be scaled from 1 to 4 (instead of open ended questions) to in order to prevent burnouts. 
  • The scaling wasn’t accidental. We decided to analyze our finding through an even scale based on methodological research methods, due to the fact that odd scale can lead to ambiguous results when participants are filling the ‘middle’ answer. Put it simply, we allowed our participants to choose an answer that leans towards one end.
  • On the qualitative research, when we started the competitor’s research so we can understand what student systems are on the market, we didn’t had enough knowledge about the system’s backend, and this gap led us to conduct a qualitative research with our campuses online support team, to discover and research ‘Moodle’ system, which led us to the finding that it is used by all of the universities in Israel.

Design and UCD dilemmas
  • When we designed our final concepts, we had to decide how to present the courses that are taking place on the same day within the homepage screen. We thought maybe we could present different picture for each course to differentiate between them, but after some research we decided to apply the ‘Aesthetic and minimalist design’ heuristic and have each presented with its title and a unique color gradient.
  • An issue that was brought forward at the peer review was high cognitive load - too much details. We wanted to reduce cognitive load when viewing the homepage, and therefore we allowed users to see which tasks, exams and other to-do’s they have by adding a small indication number at the title. this principle is based on ‘Visibility of System Status’ - the user knows at a moment glace what else he needs to accomplish, without being overwhelmed by information.

I would like to say thanks to my great team, I had the chance to work and learn a lot from you all: Shay Cohen Ambalo, Nimrod Sagisman, Noya Ariel, Dana Sergeev.

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