StudyHub • Learning Platform
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StudyHub • Learning Platform

Category
Complex System
Web Design
My Role
UX Design
UX Research
Product Design
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Yulia Goldenberg, Ph.D.
Lecturer@The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
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Not only was this project great, but the teamwork behind it was excellent! This is an excellent interface. I wish it was widely available.”

StudyHub- A learning platform designed for students and educators.

Project Overview:

As part of my psychology BA studies and UX major, I participated in the UX design for complex systems course, and StudyHub is my team's final project - we decided to improve the existing student portal.

The Problem:

The StudyHub project aims to address the problem of the existing student portal at The Academic College of Tel Aviv–Yaffa. The current portal lacks convenience and clarity, making it difficult for students to access information, tasks, and assignments. Therefore, a new and improved system is needed to act as a smooth intermediary between students and the institution's services.

Company Goal & Mission:

We came up with a defined goal and mission which will lead us through the project process:

The Goal

Creating a convenient and understandable system that mediates between the student and the services of the educational institution.

The Mission

Making information, tasks, and assignments easily accessible to the student.

System Goals:

Main Objective

  • Integrate existing college systems so the students can perform actions and receive info in a fast and accessible way.
 

Secondary Objectives

  • Improving the user satisfaction survey score.
  • Reducing unnecessary communication with technical support.
  • Increasing the percentage of system logins.
  • Reducing performing actions time.
  • Reducing user error percentage in the system.

Competitors Analysis

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My team and I examined our current competitors, which are similar systems being used in different institutions, and compiled a list of pros and cons:
Pros:
  • Simple and intuitive system navigation.
  • Accessible lectures contact info.
  • Calendar with relevant and contextual info.
  • Accessible files per class and time.
 
Cons:
  • Irrelevant info & actions are located in key system locations.
  • Irrelevant info & actions for different types of users- such as students and lecturers.
  • Bad use of UI and layout.
  • Accessible files per class and time.

Key Success Factors

These success factors can help us determine how well our design performs when launched and used by students:
  • Reduce the lecturer's information search time to 1.5 minutes.
  • Reduce downloading a presentation/document time to below 1.5 minutes.
  • Reduce works and exercises submission time below 2 minutes.
  • Raising the average system satisfaction above 4.
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User Research methods

In order to base our decision on our product, we knew deep and profound research was required. A quantitative feedback questionnaire was conducted, as well as qualitative user interviews, and we spoke with members of the technical support team and several of our lecturers to find out more.
We committed to the following qualitative and quantitative methods:
  • User feedback - 50 students: Self-reported, open-ended, and close-ended information provided by a sample of users (students) through an online questionnaire.
  • Interviews - 5 students & 3 lecturers: A researcher conducts interviews with potential users (students and lecturers), to discuss in depth what the participant thinks about the topic in question.

Qualitative Research- User Interviews

Before interviewing the students, we wrote an interview script. Our students provided us with some feedback regarding how they are using the current system:
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Quantitive Research- The Process

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The questionnaire we built consists mainly of questions about two categories:
Actions and information items, and in each category, there were 17 questions. For example, under the category "Actions" there is an item "Sending a message to a lecturer".
  • On each item, participants were asked to rate according to two categories, importance, and frequency: From 1 (very low importance) to 4 (very high importance), and from 1 (very low frequency) to 4 (very high frequency).
  • From our results, we could see how many people (N) marked the score on a 1-4 scale. To get an exact result of which item is more important / more frequent, we created a formula with a wider scale of 200 (the number of participants N=50, times the number from the 1-4 scale) so that each result shows the numerical value of the item.‍‍
The Formula: [(N*value)+(N*value)+(N*value)+(N*value)] / max-value.
Example item - ”My average score”:
  • Information item
  • According to its frequency: 15 people marked 1, 17 people marked 2, 11 people marked 3 and 7 people marked 4.
  • According to the formula = [SUM (C21 * 4, E21 * 3, G21 * 2, I21 * 1)] / 200= ((15 * 1) + (17 * 2) + (11 * 3) + (7 * 4)) /200 = 0.5 - It׳s the value of the average score frequency.
 
We got a numerical value that we later added together with the importance value (same formula). According to the final scores (frequency score + importance score), we displayed the items hierarchically with a matching color coding.

Task Analysis

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Following the user interviews and user feedback, we converted the data into a task analysis format. As a result, we will have the bottom-line prioritization of all of the data items and actions our users will perform on the new platform we will provide.

User Profile

Work environment

  • Using the system is possible from anywhere with an internet connection, accessible both via smartphone and desktop.

Pain points

  • Lecturer's contact details, set reception hours
  • sync academic calendar, course registration,
  • home screen personalization, submissions dates,
  • tests from previous years, and course syllabus.
 

Goals in the System & Motivation Level

  • Receive information: course and assignment calendar, exam dates, lecturer's messages, and previous year's exams.
  • Take actions: submitting assignments & exercises, downloading & viewing presentations, ordering documents, course registration, and paying tuition.

User Requirements

Information

  • Dates of submission of works
  • Daily calendar
  • Test and exams dates
  • Messages from lecturer
  • Tests from previous years

Actions

  • Works and exercises submission
  • Download & viewing presentations
  • Ordering documents & certificates
  • Courses registration
  • Payment of tuition

Concept 01

Action Flow

Downloading a presentation file of a certain course
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References

College of Management Academic
  • Each course displayed presenting it is vital info.
  • The hierarchy of information is logical and intuitive.
 
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Hadassah Academic College
  • The course layout was clear and efficient.
  • Consistent content throughout courses.
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Concept Wireframe

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Pros

  • Most relevant information is displayed.
  • Match between the system and the real world.
  • Consistency and standards.
  • Recognition rather than recall.
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use.
  • Help and documentation.
  • The simple layout is easy to scan and is understandable.

Cons

  • The visual layout may be too simple/cute.
  • Lack of student's personal information - year, school, grades

Concept 02

Action Flow

Submission of assignments and exercises
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Visual References

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  • Clean, flat & modern dashboard UI.
  • Clear hierarchy, profile area.
  • Simple, easy to scan, and understandable layout.
  • System search bar, accessible support.

Concept Wireframe

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Pros

  • Information dashboard display
  • Search bar efficiency
  • Outlined important actions (such as registering for new courses)
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use
  • Aesthetic and minimalist design
  • Solution-based customized system
  • Help and documentation

Cons

  • Can cause cognitive overload
  • Can cause orientation confusion
  • Can take time to adjust
 

Concepts conclusion:

Our classmates and lecturer reviewed both concepts and offered their feedback.

Concept 01 - Winning

  • Orientation was clear
  • Aesthetically pleasing and unthreatening
  • The usage of images created a clearer action decision
  • User-friendly UI
  • Language differences could be a confounding factor
  • Might be too simplistic

Concept 02

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Division of Info and actions was clear
  • The search bar was noted positively
  • The customized layout option received positive feedback
  • The dashboard’s info caused disorientation
  • feedback concerning high cognitive overload
As a result of both concepts, we then designed the final version based on the features and layouts that were most popular with the users. Check out the demo prototype of the final concept :

We faced the following dilemmas:

Methodological Approaches and Research

  • We published a quantitative questionnaire with plenty of specific info for our participants, which may have led to form abandonment. To prevent this, we opted for scaling all user experience questions from 1 to 4 (vs. open-ended questions) to avoid burnout.
  • The scaling wasn’t accidental. We decided to analyze our findings through an even scale based on methodological research methods, due to the fact that an odd scale can lead to ambiguous results when participants are filling in the ‘middle’ answer. Put simply, we allowed our participants to choose an answer that leans towards one end.
  • On the qualitative research, when we started the competitor’s research so we can understand what student systems are on the market, we didn’t have enough knowledge about the system’s backend, and this gap led us to conduct qualitative research with our campuses online support team, to discover and research ‘Moodle’ system, which led us to the finding that it is used by all of the universities in Israel.

Design and UCD

  • When we designed our final concepts, we had to decide how to present the courses that are taking place on the same day within the homepage screen. We thought maybe we could present different pictures for each course to differentiate between them, but after some research, we decided to apply the ‘Aesthetic and minimalist design’ heuristic and have each presented with its title and a unique color gradient.
  • An issue that was brought forward at the peer review was the high cognitive load - too many details. We wanted to reduce cognitive load when viewing the homepage, and therefore we allowed users to see which tasks, exams, and other to-do’s they have by adding a small indication number at the title. this principle is based on ‘Visibility of System Status’ - the user knows at a moment glance what else he needs to accomplish, without being overwhelmed by information.

What's next?

Out-of-scope questions in the current process that require further consideration

  • Convert the final design to work on both mobile and tablet devices.
  • Create full user fellows for all the actions and screens in the system.
  • Define further KPIs for more features.
  • A-B testing for main screens and features.
  • Create a system for a lecturer profile.
  • Present and collect feedback from more stakeholders.

Thanks to my wonderful team, I learned a lot working with you: Omer AviramNimrod SagismanNoya ArielDana Sergeev.

Final grade in the course: A+.

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