U-WORLD - Design online learning platform

The challenge

Learn how to design technologies that bring people joy, rather than frustration. 

Learn several techniques for rapidly prototyping and evaluating multiple interface alternatives -- and why rapid prototyping and comparative evaluation are essential to excellent interaction design. 

Learn how to conduct fieldwork with people to help you get design ideas. How to make paper prototypes and low-fidelity mock-ups that are interactive - and how to use these designs to get feedback from other stakeholders like your teammates, clients, and users. 

Armed with these design-thinking strategies, I’m about to be able to do more creative human-centered design.

I took this course challenge to an actual project I’ve been working on, design for online learning platform called Vkruge.info (In The Circle). My challenge was to provide a platform showing a range of online courses, webinars, each course description, lessons dashboard and a lesson itself.

Storyboard

Creating simple storyboards, aka Personas, helped me to get into the skin of high-end customers, understanding their problems. This got me closer to providing them a right solution.

Storyboard 1 - understanding the real need of the customer
Storyboard 2 - how to get the solution for customers daily lives

Research

Converting storyboards to real solutions was not so obvious and immediate. I made a research, learning how existing online platforms work. I realized that at that moment there was a huge development and investments of millions of dollars to make this industry accessible to everyone on the planet like it does today. Khan Academy, Coursera, Udemy and many other platforms already worked and provided complex learning experiences.

I wanted to discover how they do it. So, I signed up and became a student on some of them.

All had a list of common things: homepage with courses, full courses catalog, course description, short video, syllabus, enrolling. Very straightforward.

I also realized that behind that simple strait-forward flow there was a complicated learning architecture, probably created by a tens or hundreds of professionals. 

I realized that I jumped into a deep water of unknown, and my work becomes based only on emotional experience.

I loved it!

Wireframes

I created many simple sketches with pencil on paper, sitting on a round table with my clients, arguing about every possible step and solution.

The sketches had been converted to computer versions.

Homepage with of coursesvariety
The homepage of a signed student showing courses he’s enrolled.

Then I created a wireframe for every step and possibility, trying to get the most detailed flow.

Interactive mock-up and User Testing

In order to learn how the wireframes actually work, I created an interactive mock-up using the InVision platform. 

Now it was easy to do a user testing.

I created an Evaluation Plan and Test Task List, then I recorded user behaviors.

Evaluation plan
Evaluator using prototype
‍Evaluator using prototype

Immediately I saw mistakes, made some changes to mock-up, reuploaded and tested again with other evaluators. I repeated this steps again and again until I and my clients had been satisfied.

What have I learned from this project?

Education platform is a very complicated task. I worked almost alone, except the student who learned with me during the course and gave me their feedback, which was very helpful. But, not enough. In order to build a good enough e-learning, you need a great team of researchers, educators, strategists, UX designers collaborating together, making some design sprints and A/B tests again and again.

After all, it’s a never-ending story. This project should continue to grow, be redesigned, revisioned, reconstructed for better user experience, answering a new educational needs.