Redesigning the online classroom experience
A case study.
Google classroom came out as a solution to schools in the coronavirus pandemic but, with great powers comes great responsibilities 🕷, and google couldn’t keep up with the school’s and student’s needs. It was a personal project and my role was of a product designer, constraints were limited data and metrics I worked on solving problems of overs Millions of students, parents and teachers, let’s find out how. 🧐
The research was done with a total of 10 people which includes 6 students and 4 parents, through one to one interviews and phone calls. I also referred to the internet, twitter and play store to gain insights on the problems faced by students, teacher and parents.
I was able to find some experienced designers like Niteesh and Rahul addressing the same issue which kinda gave validation to my hypothesis and research.
Pain Points Discovered💢
- Tech barrier makes logging in experience difficult.
- Use of 2–3 different apps to manage online classes.
- Online classes lack discipline.
- Bad UX copy and poor visual feedback.
So, how big the problem is ? This much ⏬
Unfortunately, students from the government schools could hardly afford a smartphone, so let’s discuss about those who have access to smartphones.
Now let’s try fixing each of these problems one by one.😁
1. Tech barriers make login difficult😥
Only 2 out of 10 users were able to login to the app without any assistance.
Android was launched in 2008 and ios was launched in 2007 and after that, it took 7 years more in India for smartphones to reach 242 M users which were 18% of the total population (2015), Hence -
- Parents are not familiar using apps like Gmail and setting up accounts.
- Students of grade 1st to 8th are also not familiar with setting up accounts.
Logging using School ID and Parent’s number📲
The new design brings a 2-step process, which uses school id and parent’s number to log in, this makes login easy because -
- Parents are familiar with receiving text SMS and OTPs.
- Gives more control to parents in case of password lost.
2. Use of 2–3 apps to manage online classes📚
- Microsoft Team is made for offices and teams.
- Each app has its own method to operate and it’s difficult to learn them altogether.
- Each app requires different accounts to manage.
Making Google Classroom a one-step solution⚡
Schools need 2 basic features video conferencing to conduct classes, chat to send announcements and interact.
- The new design integrates google meet with google classroom to conduct video conferencing.
- Announcement tab allows interaction with students, send messages and instructions.
- The new design has records of previous classes which allows parents to check attended/missed classes.
3. Online classes lack discipline😤
- You must have seen memes or videos where students enter the wrong name to bully teachers.
- Parents have no idea what’s going on in classes, students often are found busy with entertainment apps during their live class.
What makes schools disciplined that our app can incorporate?🤔
To understand this let’s look at a typical day of any student.
- Strict timings.
- Under teachers’ surveillance 24×7
- Fear getting reported for misbehaving.
- Control over students.
Let’s see how I improved discipline with these insights.
A. Strict Timings
B. Control over students
C. Teachers’ surveillance
4. Bad UX copy and poor visual feedback😵
- 9 out of 10 users couldn’t understand “hand in” meaning.
- 4 out of 10 users couldn’t tell if their work was submitted or not.
According to the first two principles of Heuristics -
- The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within a reasonable time.
- The system should speak the users’ language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms.
- Students can easily understand submit meaning instead of hand in.
- Loading animation gives good visual feedback after submission.
- Smaller touch target for withdrawing homework prevents accidental click.
Results of redesign😍
I tested the new design with the same 10 users and found out -
- 60% increase in successful login rates.
- Integrations of google meet made it easy to join classes without setting up an account.
- All parents felt more trust in online classes after improved discipline measures
- 80% increase in understanding the UX copy on the first time.
- 60% increase in users who were sure if their work is submitted or not.