I worked with a team of designers to address the College-Ready Education Challenge posed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We sought to design a technology solution to help students succeed in high school in a rapid three-week sprint.
My Role: UX research and design
We started with a general look of the American education space. Using published academic research, federal/state data, and education-focused journalism, we attempted to gain insight into:
- Trends and innovations in education technology
- Changes in 21st century teaching techniques and learning styles
- The relationship between education and quantifyable socioeconomic outcomes such as income and life expectancy
We then coordinated 30 interviews with students, parents, educators, school administrators, and subject matter experts (education non-profit and edtech professionals). For each interviewee, we sought to understand their perspective, experiences, and observations with respect to:
- The current state of education
- Measuring success and achievement both in school and out of school
- Education standardization
- The efficacy of high school education as preparation for post high school life (college or otherwise)
I was particularly interested in speaking to students who were both recent high school graduates and current college students. I believed this demographic would be most able to tell us how high school prepared them for college and where it fell short.
Synthesis, problem identification, and target users
Issue Statement: High schoolers need help with time management, planning, and goal-setting skills.
- Be inclusive – The tool should be helpful for and available to all students.
- Be clear – This tool should support a student’s ability to sort through a large number of tasks with competing timelines, with little to no learning curve.
- Emphasize progress – Show users how much they have accomplished and how each step brings them closer to an objective.
From our student interviews, we generated two distinct user personas for whom we would design.
Prototype, test, and iterate
We pursued two separate concepts for the initial mockup of this tool one mobile and one desktop. I pursued the mobile option because I believed that a mobile application would allow students to quickly check their progress and to-dos while on the go.
I prototyped a task manager and calendar tailored for high school students. Within the application, students could view a list of to dos organized by time or class. I also created a feature that would allow a student to breakdown a large project into smaller, discrete tasks.
We revised our initial mockups then applied visual design.