The AI Education Project is a nonprofit organization that strives to increase equity and accessibility in AI education. They do this by providing curricula to high school students from marginalized communities, disproportionately impacted by AI and automation. Currently their curriculum is hosted on Google Classroom, however, they are experiencing some emerging problems.
The very first step in my team's process was to familiarize ourselves with the curriculum we were designing for. This meant that we conducted a deep analysis of the current user experience on Google Classroom, taking note of UX elements we found useful, elements we wish we saw, and frustrations we had.
The users we were accounting for were high school students, typically 13-18 years of age. Furthermore, the AI Education Project also aims to serve learners from disproportionately impacted communities. This includes those from low-income, rural communities, those who attend schools without a lot of dedicated CS classes, and those who have limited access to technology
With the average demographics of the typical AI Education student in mind, our team conducted some further research on our target users to understand what limitations they may face when learning as well as they access to technology in the learning space. Through this extensive research, we found that students suffer from not being able to have consistent platform to learn on.
- Designing solely on Figma
- Solely focused on the student persona
- Designing for a desktop client
- Four weeks to design a proof-of-concept
The next step in our process was to analyze and map out the current AI Education user journey. We did this to help refine our problem statement and fully gauge the scope of the project.
Insights and Opportunity
In our analysis, we found that we found that the most negative stages in the current user journey were the submission process and ability to track learning progress. To elaborate, for example, confusing submission forms hindered users' ability to successfully turn in assignments. On the other hand, users tended to have a negative experience tracking their progress as next steps were not often made clear. Another major stage in the user journey that reflected negatively was the learning stage as a whole. The road bumps in this stage were that it is hard to navigate the current platform, there was no instructional help, and it was difficult managing assignments and lessons.
Our team came to the realization that the fundamental issue we needed to target was related to the overall flow of the course curriculum. Because links from the course curriculum led to a superfluous amount of tabs, we found that students were getting distracted and ultimately disconnected from shuffling between it all. Thus, engagement with the curriculum declined as a result.
From our journey mapping, our team was able to define our problem statement:
"How might we streamline the student’s experience of navigating between and within lessons to increase student engagement in the curriculum?"
Our team's research stage continued by conducting audits of existing Edutech learning platforms. In our analysis, we found that a several of these platforms favored UI elements that continue to keep students engaged and encouraged. Such elements include:
- clean and easy to grasp cues to track progress in courses
- relevant metadata to cater to specific user needs/interests
- learning material being organized into sections to make content more digestible to students.
Finally, we took the results from our usability testing to refine our designs and iterate up to a final deliverable. Our designs showed that the user experience for the AI Education can be narrowed down to just a few clicks, eliminating the distractions and unnecessary tabs that came with the existing platform.Check out our interactive prototype!
Important Due Dates: In our mid-fidelity prototype, the initial concept was that the "current tasks" box would appear if the user hovered over a lesson. By having a "modules due soon" section in a fixed position at the top of the screen, users are presented with a sense of urgency. However, fun and delightful visuals placed around these dates would make these tasks seem less daunting.
Lesson Descriptions: users are informed about lessons before delving into them. This gives users a preview of what is to come.
Expandable Lessons View: Lessons that a user is currently learning would be expanded to showcase their progress and lead users between the different modules more efficiently. Since users want immediate access to the modules they are currently working on, the current lesson is visible while other lessons are presented as negative affordances.
Lesson Due Date: Previously, the "next due date" was ambiguous in whether it was for lessons as a whole or individual modules. Now, there is a clear distinction between module due dates and lesson due dates.
Learning goals: Learning goals for each module are clear and visible to give purpose to each lesson and help motivate the user.
Delightful Visuals: We sourced fun and playful visuals from undraw.co to make the learning experience more pleasurable .These visuals carry the same theme and are present throughout the whole experience.
Everything in One View: All of the module's content takes place on one scrollable page so that users never have to leave or transition back and forth between different pages. This eliminates the previous pain points of having superfluous tabs.
Expandable Lessons View: To keep up with the users' need for visual consistency, we refined the notes section to mirror the course outline sidebar in both its functionality and presence on the page.
The purpose of this page is for the user to take a moment to celebrate their learning milestones and achievements. We wanted to make sure students felt validated in their hard work and efforts.
The pitch submission affordance was added to the page to fulfill the users' need for direction. By replacing the "try something new" button, students have full reign over how they want to move on and what steps they want to take after completing the course. Now, in addition to course suggestions and upcoming events, students have the ability to submit a pitch to a competition hosted by The AI Education Project -- which is also the next step in their curriculum plan.
After working on this project for four weeks, my team and I presented our work and interactive prototype to the AI Education Project. The next steps for AI Education included reaching out to a pro-bono developer to build the new platform using our prototype.
Reflecting on this project from my personal experience, I learned that designing on a team remotely required an extra level of communication and organization. In order to maintain a shared vision between four people, it was essential for us to meet over Zoom before every iteration and make sure we effectively express our individual ideas. This was a great opportunity for me, because now I can say that I am comfortable tackling projects under remote circumstances.