Researched and redesigned an adult online learning platform for a leading nonprofit focusing on female youth empowerment.
Title: Adult Learning Platform: Reimagined
Tool: UserTesting.com for usability tests and Adobe XD for wireframe
Time in Development: 80 hours
Developed for: A leading nonprofit focusing on female youth empowerment
Collaborators: Francesca Socolick, Ming Luo, and Xue Li
Audience: Non-technical adult volunteers
Although this nonprofit focuses on youth empowerment, the organization relies heavily on the help from adult volunteers. As a result, this online platform is used to educate adult volunteers on the nonprofit's culture, lesson plans they can use with the girls, and other information regarding how to manage a big group of girls.
However, the current design shows low adoption rate, as well as high drop out rate. This creates a gap between the nonprofit and its volunteers. As a result, the turnover rate for volunteers after the first year ends is as high as 60%. The nonprofit believes that, with the reimagined platform, this problem can be alleviated.
As the UX researcher for this project, my role was to investigate users' pain points on the online learning platform. I worked closely with various teams as they served as Subject Matter Experts to glean relevant insights about specific parts of the platform that their teams are working on.
Moreover, I planned, conducted, and analyzed qualitative researches on the target group. Each page was carefully evaluated through multiple UX research methods including focus group, usability test, and observation.
After the research were done I took over as the UX designer to redesign the platform, as well as its accompanying learning materials. I employed user-centered design methodologies to drive a better user experience on the platform.
Understand the needs of users.
Identify unmet user needs.
Create design proposals from data collected, complete with a wireframe to communicate the ideas in a concrete way.
Before I started my investigation, I got some data from a large scale survey on the platform from the previous year and used the data to determine direction of my own research. The quantitative data did not give much understanding of the users' psyche while using the platform, other than that they are not too happy using it with some surface-level specification.
So, I started out with a focus group to understand a bigger picture of the volunteers. Why did they come to the platform? Their biggest challenges? Did they receive any training prior to their time on the platform? If so, in what form?
Some of the answers from the focus group need clarifying, as a result, I joined two Facebook groups to observe behavior of volunteers "in the wild".
Then, I was ready to dive deeper into each page and element of the platform. Usertesting.com was selected to be the tool of choice when it comes to usability test. I created three different tests to evaluate different aspects of both the platform and users' behavior.
After analyzing all data from six sources, there were the total of 12 key findings but main issues can be summarized as:
Lack of prominent visual signs
Incomplete content for different age groups
The number of fragmented low-level issues are very common and are often solved through informal network. We suggested that the nonprofit should not intervene and try to solve them centrally.
I created a presentation to propose the findings to directors of more than 30 teams who are either working on the platform or are using platform. The presentation was met with critical acclaim from all participants who are also Subject Matter Experts.
After the research were done, I took up a responsibility of a UX designer to translate the findings into a new reimagined design.
I found that paper sketches help me get my idea out quickly and can gain feedback from in time. I also share my idea with my team through these sketches. This way, we can be sure that our ideas align and help us proceed in a faster and more effective way.
You can see in the picture above that I made several sketches before narrowing down to the direction that I wanted to go. Then, I use Adobe XD to get a better idea of how the design will look like on screens.
The final version of the wireframe was used to review with the team and get feedback before the designs were finalized. In the end, the design received recognition from directors of the teams involved.
This project had some great challenges but the most critical one, for me, would be learning how to translate the known pain points into changes in design.
Because of business reasons, this design has not been launched yet but I was assured that both the insights and design proposal has been very valuable. After my tenure on this project ended, a developer team will take over this project. The makeover of the platform is scheduled to go live in early 2020.