Applying insights from user research to a digital science education product.
- INTERACTION DESIGN
- USER RESEARCH
From classroom observations and anecdotal teacher feedback, the UX team at Britannica was finding that one of the biggest struggles for students working in our Pathways: Science program was with the note-taking process.
Two main issues were coming up in conversations with users. One was that students were being asked to take notes mid-lesson, then decide at a later step whether each note supported their selected answer or not. The second was that the prompt on the form itself was too open ended for this age group.
I created first sketches, then refined those into a prototype for the purpose of user testing. My director and I conducted user tests with the prototype created in Axure, and a remote desktop sharing tool to facilitate and record the sessions.
Each session was about 50-60 minutes long, and were a blast to conduct. There is a contagious enthusiasm that these teachers bring to their classes, and as we found, also bring to being participants in a user test.
One of the biggest hits was replacing a very open-ended prompt of “I found…” in the notes fields with more guided questions such as “What information here supports or contradicts your idea?” Having a reminder to connect the text they were entering would help to cut down on some of the more random copying and pasting, the teachers reported.
The standout change was actually a change to the flow of the lesson, specifically, when we asked a student to judge the notes that they took, and decide whether the notes support or contradict the idea they chose at the start of the lesson. It was a good reminder to look under the surface for potentially important changes in a redesign.