Since the BoomWriter platform was already existing, it was very necessary to scope out the redesign project into comprehendible milestones that aligned with inter-team dependencies before I hit the ground running. This project scope was set in line with business deadlines and pre-set launch dates.
To begin, I audited the entire teacher-student platform to obtain an in-depth understanding of the current application, it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses. I also performed competitor analysis during this stage to for better placement of what is currently working in the education industry and where we are looking to create solutions.
Application Map — Results of the Audit
The Application Map unearthed a few issues that needed resolving. Our current product structure segmented the platform into three parts, namely: StoryWriter, WordWriter and ProjectWriter. The core functionality of the entire platform remained the same — getting students to write more and enjoy writing. Though the product segmentation was beneficial at one point in the lifetime of the application, it was becoming more confusing to teachers based on previously conducted research as to which application would serve their students better and for brand consistency and marketing.
I presented the map to the team to synthesize my findings and discuss full app functionality, business goals and milestones.
Prior to my joining, the incredible team had previously implemented in-browser user tracking tools that generated a wealth of research information. Nonetheless, to begin feature scoping, the team and I conducted remote research with some of our users (teachers in this case). With the approval and assistance of the Product Manager, we were able to set up in-person, moderated research sessions with some teachers from Texas and remote sessions with out of state and international teachers.
The remote sessions (via Zoom) were recorded and processed through a collaborative audio transcription tool (Temi) which allowed me to highlight and extract relevant findings to be shared with the Product team. Teachers also walked us through some typical project creation steps via screen-share to shed some light on problem areas within the live application. The total hours of research conducted surpassed 120 hours.
The dark room process of synthesizing the large amount of data that has been accumulated so far began. Collaborative tools like Invision, Slack and Temi allowed the product team to work closely on identifying user needs and experience gaps in a well organized manner that made sense.
Several brainstorming sessions later, I begun ideating, sketching and white-boarding possible solution concepts. The next step was converting these concepts to wireframes for review. I maintained the current multi-app segmentation while creating a consistent and interchangeable experience across all three applications in preparation for a future single application experience. User satisfaction during migration and brand integrity were critical at this point.