CLOUDstudy is a Student Learning and Productivity platform designed to help students complete their regular learning activities effortlessly, such as downloading and submitting assignments, adding contacts and sending them messages, displaying and accessing their resources, updating their profiles, scheduling tasks, and receiving updates of upcoming events and deadlines.
The students were already utilising a virtual learning application(Moodle) but expressed frustration when using the application.
My team and I were given a brief to discover how to make students have a better experience with their virtual learning environment(VLE). We had to identify the challenges and develop an innovative, useful and usable application.
Our service design had to achieve the objective of helping the target audience(students) to have a pleasurable experience while maintaining an appropriate performance level in various facets of the student’s life both in and outside of the classroom. To identify the challenges and find solutions, I used the design thinking method.
I was a Ui Ux Designer in a team. I created personas, user context scenarios, quick prototypes, carried out interviews, and facilitated my team’s ideation process. I was involved in the final design of the application. I also presented our innovative service design to users& other stakeholders.
The Problem Statement
The students need a virtual learning application that enables them in achieving overall academic excellence.
How We approached the mission
By first empathising with the customer, I followed a design thinking approach. I went on to define what the issues were and also to identify the pain points of the users. Then I ideated my findings with a problem statement. Finally, with the results gotten from the research carried out, I built a low-fi wireframe and a high-fi wireframe to visualise my idea. I utilised the usability testing approach for every prototyping step.
The main objectives for the user-centric approach were:
- To decide the features that needed to render a suitable application for student productivity.
- To classify the users’ most common problems with existing applications for student productivity.
- To identify essential experiences for selected users of the program.
- To understand users’ needs and identify ways of improving the service.
I conducted user interview to get a more in-depth insight into peoples motivation and constraints. My team and I drafted out goal-oriented and system-oriented questions. I interviewed ten students from different academic categories.
- Are you familiar with the term VLE(Virtual Learning Environment) ?
- Which VLE does your college use?
- What are the main purposes for using this VLE?
- What are the challenges you are facing while using this VLE?
- How often do you use the VLE? Daily /weekly etc
- Which features on this platform do you use the most?
- Did you find a general reluctance from students on using this platform?
- What platform do you use to contact your course mates(that you’re not connected with on social media) and lecturers?
- If there was a chat box function within the VLE, would you use it? Why?
- In the context of your studies, do you use any tools such as Evernote, office 365 collaborations?
- Do you think student competitiveness impacts the willingness to engage in forums and other forms of online knowledge sharing within the VLE?
- What device do you access the learning platform on
- Why is this your preferred means of device
- What features do you use
- How often do you use these features
- Why do you use these features
Four main barriers were recurrent across the respondent
- The navigation of their current virtual learning platform(VLE)
- The number of times the application logged them out
- Most of the respondents complained about their current VLE lacking a personal touch
- Most of the respondents complained about memorability and learnability issues on their current VLE.
Based on the interviews conducted, a persona was drafted. We reflected on the persona throughout the entire product development process.
To understand the Virtual Learning Environment(VLE) and how it operates, My team and I went ahead to study two main competitors. They were Blackboard used by students in Trinity College Dublin and Moodle used by students in Griffith College Dublin.
Data Requirements and Functional Requirements
- Calendar : Reminders of examinations and deadlines
- Tool tips
- Course information
- Upload assignments
- Send , receive and read messages
- Check attendance and Check grades
- View calendar, set reminders, edit events.
- Customize the platform and personalize it
- View and edit your profile
- Read notes and access library
- Search contacts and automatically have your classmates and lecturers in contacts.
Information Architecture(Site Map)
From the findings obtained from our user research methods, I drafted out a site map to guide the design process.
Visual Design System: Color & Typography
- #4299FF was selected to contrast nicely with the white background, and also provide a sense of calmness and inspire patience while navigating through the application.
- Headline display text is coloured with black. However, when an option is to hover on and selected, it becomes blue (#4299FF).
- Other colours used were : #818E94, #F4F7FC, #EAF0F4, #F5F6FA, #E5F3FE, #2D2F39, #FFFFFF.
- We have used Flaticon for icons.
- Other photos used in the application’s design are the course images, contact photos, and lecturer images.
- The profile photos are personal photographs or exported from Pexels.
- The same visual themes were carried through to the design of the application’s web-based companion.
- Body text is sized at 30 pts for titles and headlines to create a hierarchy. However, for the body text, we have used 14 pts text size.
- The typeface used for the logo is Blackboard, while the typeface used for the application’s display text is Poppins.
Reflection on Application
CloudStudy is an application which aims to provide its users with a less time-consuming, useful, usable, learnable and memorable experience while studying. It is user friendly and customisable to motivate students to access it more and use its features more often.
We succeeded in working in our team and sharing the duties, as well as managing our time. We started the process early, my team members and I were fully dedicated to seeing the project to completion. We were all dedicated and inspired to create an effective and efficient design that can be put into use eventually.
Initially, my team and I struggled to make XD work for all of us, but eventually, we sorted it out and started the process. Choosing the right name was another struggle as we wanted something fresh and original.