collection & Collaboration Feature
My role in the following study is as a User Experience researcher. My team existed of one designer, several developers, one business analyst and myself.
LearnAlberta is an application for teachers that houses Alberta’s current curriculum, future draft curriculum, and resources. A new feature was projected to be added called My Boards. My Boards is a feature that allows teachers to create their own personal space to plan their lessons, gather curriculum and resources, and have the option to share and collaborate with other teachers across the province.
Having returned from a maternity leave I was asked to join a meeting where developers, designers, and leadership were together to review the functionality of this new feature in the application. I immediately went through the many workflows that this new feature would have and was left frustrated and full of questions. Determined to validate my conclusion that users may have the same experience, I convinced my director to let me do some testing.
selection of Teachers
Teachers who have taught in the classroom for more than four years
New teachers who have less than 4 years of classroom teaching experience
Mix of people who are comfortable with computers/technology and ones who are not
Mix of people who teach different divisions (eg. K-3 teacher, a 4-6 teacher, a 7-9 teacher, a 10-12 teacher)
Mix of people who are school-based and central office-based
After interviewing several teachers about their process with lesson planning and collecting resources, it was discovered that they would copy-and-paste out of curriculum PDFs into Word or Google Docs to create and customize or highlight content in printed documents. Now that we had an application with the digital curriculum, we knew we needed to offer teachers the capability of capturing and customizing their curriculum content in an online space, with the option of sharing.
Areas in scope of the usability evaluation
Creating a board
Viewing a board
Moving curriculum elements over to their board
Sharing a board publicly
Sharing a board to a specific user
Using remote testing with teachers on the province we were able to identify pain points and continued with one-on-one testing.
With the one-on-one task analysis I was able to narrow the tasks and observe workflow to provide input for the design direction. My measure of success is an increase in the creation of Boards within the application.
Working with a Business Analyst on this project we were able to create user stories.
Working with the designer and developer I discussed the feedback received, and provided recommendations:
Provide a notes section
Provide a comment section
Allow the upload of third-party content
Simplify the collaboration form
They were able to address some of these and we remote tested again.
With these results we could see where improvement was occurring and where we needed to focus our efforts. Sharing and collaborating was still at 50% success and adding elements from curriculum view was at 60%.
During the following sessions of one-on-one user testing I came across an interesting discovery. One of the teachers asked if I would like to test one of their student-teachers (preservice). The responses and discoveries I made impacted the direction we are now focussing on.
When I continued with testing preservice teachers it was discovered that as they are in post-secondary and building the foundation of their workflow when creating lesson plans, finding resources, and collaborating with their peers, this user was going to be a major influence on the usage going forward. Veteran teachers had their systems and process created and we were developing something delightful in experience to entice them to utilize our application. Preservice users were still developing that process and our application could help them with that from the beginning.
I recently created a briefing note for our executive leadership team to outline and justify the need to reach out to the post-secondary institutes in the province to begin the feedback process.