Since I frequently forget to capture process pictures or can't always share design assets due to security or NDAs, I've included this design sprint as a view into my personal product design process.
SKILLS & TOOLS
User research, sketching, wireframes; Illustrator, Photoshop, Keynote
At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students. This task comes in addition to many other important responsibilities. The goal of this project was to help educators match faces to names.
I began by calling a few teachers...
Whatever the challenge, I find that even brief initial conversations with users or subject matter experts help to frame my design mentality, and better understand the context and users’ needs. I started by speaking with three educators (one high school teacher & two university professors) to understand the problem. This provided insight into daily schedules, current learning strategies, and common challenges.
The conversations highlighted that knowing student names fosters a stronger relationship and contributes to future opportunities. Names are used frequently by teachers, and everyone has their own creative tricks for remembering names.
...and reviewing basic psychology principles.
Long-term memory and learning were highly relevant to the task at hand. A quick literature review provided a human-centered design perspective and relevant design principles. I focused on two key findings:
Semantic learning is key for long-term memory. // Long-term memories are stored by associations. Attaching meaning and context to memories creates deeper connections and allows for better recall. This lead me to focus on contextual learning, while also integrating visual and acoustic learning mechanisms.
Memory involves encoding, storing & retrieving information. // All stages must be successful to recall a memory. Encoding is the mechanism by which we internalize information and retrieval is the process of actively remembering. This lead me to target encoding and retrieval of information.
With minimal research, I outlined my assumptions.
The most critical assumption was the need for parental consent to use students’ pictures. Getting consent would delay teachers using a photobased tool; and parents may not give consent. Additional assumptions ranged from focusing on K-12 teachers, supporting a variety of ages and technical capabilities to minimal reliance on wifi.
Based on my research and assumptions, I crafted high-level experience principles. These served as guidelines while evaluating potential solutions and were requirements for a successful solution.
My ideas ranged from futuristic to pragmatic.
I focused brainstorming on key stakeholders, low and high tech solutions, and present and future capabilities. I explored two solutions in detail: a voice-activated attendance tool that adapted to highlight students you didn’t know yet; and an image-based tool that used facial recognition to capture classroom layout (without storing images).
I disregarded the attendance tool at the risk of creating a new attendance system rather than a supportive tool. However, I liked integrating with an existing part of teachers’ schedules. I also eliminated the image-based classroom layout after a quick exploration of the technical feasibility. I did like the method of mapping the classroom and using place as contextual information.
Introducing: Roll Call
My favorite concept, "Roll Call", focused on helping teachers to learn learn names by mapping where students sit in the classroom and providing helpful guides to pronouncing names. Teachers could focus on getting to know their students while capturing contextual knowledge that for every student in every classroom. That knowledge could then be used during class as a reference and outside of class for practice.
In addition to classroom mapping capabilities and review tools, Roll Call would include phonetic spelling and audio clips to help teachers learn to pronounce students’ names. Teachers could also quickly record themselves saying names for reference later. The tool would work on computers, tablets and mobile. It would support OCR for data input, and allow teachers to print helpful seating charts for in-class reference.
I focused first on the in-class interaction.
This involved teachers placing students on a classroom map, reviewing information, and recording names. Initial designs also focused on a mobile, tablet device. I wrote primary and secondary user requirements for each portion of the design. This scoped the project and ensured users could complete necessary tasks.
I selected Google’s Material Design style guide for visual design to allow me to focus on interactions. In addition to available online resources, I used photoshop and illustrator to craft high-fidelity screens. I shifted between sketching UIs on paper to allow for faster iteration, and creating digital screens. Key design decisions included screen layout, map interactions, and the display of student information.