How might we redesign LearnER to be more effective in helping first-year students learn about ER modeling?

Exam in Interaction Design 3

LearnER was developed to teach first-year IT-students about Entity Relationship (ER) modeling, a crucial concept in database design.

However, the website was not achieving its desired results, as users were finding it difficult to navigate and understand the content. It was decided that a redesign of the website was necessary to improve the user experience and increase the effectiveness of the platform.

Duration: 11 weeks.

Focus: Design Thinking, user testing, user research, prototyping, design principles and information architecture.

The exam assignment

The case was from the lecturer in the Database course, and the task was to redesign LearnER in a way that would make it easier for first-year students to learn about ER modeling.

This included enhancing the usability, revamping the information architecture and navigation, improving the feedback in tasks, implementing curriculum content, reducing cognitive overload, and making the website more visually appealing.

The result

Grade: A

The redesign of LearnER was successful in addressing the identified user needs and pain points. The updated website had a more intuitive navigation, improved visual appeal, and provided better feedback when the user checked their answer and had better incorporation of course content

Although a second round of user testing was not conducted, the team was confident in the effectiveness of the redesign based on the positive feedback from the lecturer and the examiner.

The changes made could possibly result in a more enjoyable and effective learning experience for first-year students learning about Entity Relationship (ER) modeling.

"You think constructively about the user experience. In addition, you use theory well, and you consistently lean on a development framework, such as Design Thinking, which makes everything neat and tidy. The test participants have a good spread of competency, which is nice. I also like that you used SUPR-Q to measure user satisfaction. Nice usability report and good job!"

Sturla Bakke, Lecturer in Interaction Design 3, H√łyskolen Kristiania

How we approached the assignment

We used Design Thinking to approach our process in a creative, human-centered way with good collaboration and structure. In my role as group leader, I was responsible for project management (the design process and tasks), overseeing the designs, facilitating brainstorming sessions, organizing all project documents, as well as conducting user tests.

We started with the Empathize phase, which involved conducting research to understand the users of our solution. The team used the contextual inquiry method to observe the users. the observations helped us to understand how the users use LearnER and their needs and problems, as well as to confirm what we arrived at in the first empathize phase. We identified areas that could be improved and created specific personas to help us understand who we were creating the solution for. Our findings showed that there needed to be a focus on providing good feedback, implementing course materials, improving the presentation of information, reducing cognitive overload, and improving the game aspect of the solution.

Next, we moved on to the Define stage, where we combined all of our research and identified the user's problems. We transformed these problems into opportunities for innovation through "How Might We" (HMW) questions to identify their needs.

In the Ideation phase, we used these HMW questions to conduct a brainstorming session, generating and sketching ideas for each one. We voted on the ideas digitally using FigJam to narrow them down.

From there, we refined the highest voted ideas and created low-fidelity, clickable wireframes to prototype potential solutions. The team designed low-fidelity prototypes to save time and resources as we were going to test them and change the design based on the insights.

Finally, we tested our prototype with five users to gather feedback and validate our assumptions. The test participants did the tasks effectively and efficiently, but we found some areas where test participants struggled to achieve their goals or required more time and effort. For example, on the modeling page, some participants misinterpreted the button to reduce task text as a back button, and others did not realize that the pill shape with a number represented the difficulty level. However, overall, test participants were very satisfied with the layout, navigation, and presentation of information in the solution.

Based on this feedback, we returned to the Ideation and Prototyping phase and made adjustments and created a final, high-fidelity prototype to present.

Throughout all phases, we used a Kanban board in FigJam to plan, coordinate, and assign tasks and responsibilities. This increased productivity and team focus and improved collaboration.