Our team, Salon Redux, worked closely with the two founders of Classroom Salon, an online collaborative platform. They charged us to create better user experience, and to enhance the flipped learning model.
We applied different research methods to understand Salon users and to examine this collaborative platform. Research methods in the first phase included:
The deepest problems we found can be classified into two main camps: usability issues, such as confusing navigation and troublesome feature recognition; and workflow issues, like numerous modes of operation. Informed by research findings, we came to the following three vision:
We created five personas, including instructors and students. The personas show that users play different roles in Classroom Salon. These imagined characters helped us determine what basic features the platform should support.
With the five personas, we created two scenarios for liberal arts and science courses. Liberal arts users rely more on discussion features within Salon, while science courses use a mix of functionality, such as texts, videos and images.
We created a concept map to fully understand the problem space, including current feature set, workflow, and information flow. Creating the map prompted us to think about what features were important, which ones were duplicated, and which ones only served to create confusion. The finished map allows us to see how the components and stakeholders of Classroom Salon interact with each other, which validated our visions and guided us through the prototyping process. See the full map
Based on the concept map, we created three sets of prototypes for ideation and concept testing, including: two sets of paper prototypes and a high fidelity interactive prototype (click to interact with it).
As our final design, it consists of two main solutions to make Classroom Salon more captivating and intuitive to its users. Firstly, remove modes as they currently exist, and replace them with implicit modes that enable/disable with time in accordance with Flipped learning practices. Secondly, we created a voice for Classroom Salon. This voice anthropomorphises the website, allowing it to be more pedagogical and to promote student involvement and best teaching practices.
In the end, we created a process book to document the whole process and gave it to our clients for future design implementation.