Improving the experience of course selection

Designing a new directory to improve the experience of searching and updating course information for staff and students.

Original Legacy System

The students used three separate systems to apply for course streams. This negatively affected the student experience of searching for courses and the staff experience of keeping multiple systems updated.

We spent time exploring and identifying user needs through surveys and user interviews. These were turned into user stories.

My role as Product (UX/UI) was to work with the Product owner , QA, engineers and stakeholders to understand and develop a prototype based on existing user needs that had been identified through work with the students and staff. I was also responsible for providing UX best practice advice to the team, presenting designs and leading User research activities.

After consulting with the Product Owner and engineers I developed a clickable wireframe using Figma. Figma allows for collaboration so stakeholders were able to take the prototype into other meetings and see the most up to date design while I was working on it. The next stage was to test the design in front of our students.

After collecting positive feedback from students we did also notice that there was a need for a shopping cart style feature that would ease the experience. So I built a high definition version of the prototype and added the features that we learnt would be useful for students in their deciding factor.

I tested the designs using Zoom so students were at home or work in their natural environment and were able to test the designs while I took down the data using remote testing software. I recorded the tests in video so our engineering team could also have access to the tests as their view on the solution is very important to the final outcome.

One of the most significant discoveries during the user testing and interviews was an unofficial excel file that students were using to make sense of the complex list of options for courses. This came up several times during multiple sessions and resulted in us incorporating the layout into the final design of the shortlist. This was received really well by students and staff.

After the launch of the plugin, we used hotjar to continue to monitor and collect feedback from students and staff so we could begin work on enhancements for a future sprint.

Having been at the School for over a decade I’ve worked on a lot of technology development projects. Working with Mark on the new Course Directory is the first time that we’ve had someone with both the skills and the dedicated focus on user experience and related design. It has transformed the way we work! Where in the past user design involved making a stab in the dark about what we think might be best or providing our own personal opinions of what we like/understand, Mark has been able to go out to our key users and ask them. Where we might ask leading questions or provide a mock up for approval, Mark has employed a range of techniques to watch user behaviour, which has resulted in user-led design - we watch where they look on a page for a tool and we put it there! The result is a tool that is far more in tune with user needs, more intuitive and received with much greater satisfaction. I wouldn’t want to work on another project without Mark again!

- Stakeholder feedback

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