UX research and design for better learning outcomes

We help leading EdTech companies create best-ever user experiences that enable people to achieve new levels of learning and teaching success.

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My working relationship with Openfield is one of the best I’ve had. I value and trust the partnership we’ve built together. We see them as another member of our team who has been instrumental in building great customer experiences with our products.

Selected clients and product teams that we collaborate with:

Macmillan Learning logo iClicker logo Wolters Kluwer logo Barbri logo Catalyst Education logo Uplift K12 logo Cincinnati Museum Center logo Yaatly logo ExecOnline logo

Insights from Openfield

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Photo of two puzzle pieces representing the relationship between UX and Market Research

Just how valuable is your EdTech product? Ask both your UX and market research teams.

UX research and market research both assess the value of your EdTech product for its users. These two distinct groups of researchers have pretty different ideas of what “valuable” actually means — and how it’s measured. Your UX research team determines your product is valuable when it meets the needs of students, instructors, and administrators in learning environments. The central question for UX is whether or not your product is helpful in an educational environment and easy to use. Market researchers, on the other hand, ascertain your product is valuable when your product is purchased. The most important questions for market researchers are, “Will this product sell? And to whom?” 

Photo of a college professor helping students use learning software.

Turn instructors into EdTech product champions with exceptional onboarding

EdTech users expect more of your product than ever before. Not only does your product need to be easy for users to navigate, but it also must facilitate a superior learning experience. UX (user experience) and LX (learning experience) add up to a truly valuable EdTech product in today’s classrooms — and not just for students. It’s important for your team to remember that instructors are learners, too. Instructors need to feel comfortable and confident with your product. And ideally, they will be convinced of your product’s role in the achievement of learning outcomes. Your team needs to prioritize instructors’ engagement with your product — and prove it with exceptional instructor onboarding. 

Photo of professor giving a lecture to students

Integrate instructors’ expertise in your EdTech product’s UX design to improve learning outcomes

Your EdTech product is just one facet of a greater educational experience. Technology, content, and teaching methods are all essential to creating an optimal situation. And of course, these three facets only become relevant when instructors and students are skillfully using them — to teach and to learn. It’s all too easy to have tunnel vision with your EdTech product. You’re naturally dialed in to the most important principles of UX. You know your product needs to be intuitive, predictable, and familiar for your users to have a seamless interaction. But your focus on good UX can actually erode the learning experience — the very thing you are designing to support.

Photo of UX design team reviewing work on EdTech software

Manage your EdTech product’s resourcing needs with the right UX partner

EdTech product development rarely moves along at a predictable, constant pace. There are phases of frantic activity. And there are phases of watching and waiting. The ebb and flow inherent in your product’s life cycle keeps things interesting — and difficult to properly staff. Now more than ever, striking the right balance with resources is a job unto itself. And you may be considering hiring an outside UX agency to support you. Up to this point, you may not have felt the need for an external UX partner. Not so long ago, your product team probably spent time and energy focusing on nice-to-have features. And you had the capacity to do so. But the EdTech landscape is different now. You have to prioritize the features you know your users require in the post-Covid classroom.

Photo of a blind man using EdTech software on a mobile device.

Does your EdTech product need to prove its commitment to accessibility with a VPAT?

One of the most important continuing conversations you’ll have about your EdTech product is about how it meets accessibility standards. Adhering to accessibility guidelines isn’t just about avoiding penalties. It’s just the right thing to do. All of your users deserve access to the same information, no matter what their physical or mental abilities. The World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) are meant to ensure your product’s content is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Making sure your product lives up to those principles is not a one-and-done affair. It requires constant evaluations and improvements. You may need to do an internal accessibility audit to work through small compliance issues. Or you may need to go a step further with a VPAT.

Photo of a teacher and two elementary students using e-learning software.

How EdTech leaders can score quick UX wins without sacrificing the long-term product vision

UX issues are an unavoidable part of digital product development. That’s true whether you’re updating an existing feature or readying a brand-new EdTech product for launch. The real question isn’t whether you’ll encounter usability issues, but what you do about them. Identifying the symptoms of your usability problems may be easy enough. Perhaps your CX team is swamped with complaints about a particular task, or maybe you’re seeing a lack of engagement with a specific feature. But diagnosing the underlying problems — the why behind those glaring symptoms — can be much more challenging. Of course, doing so is necessary if you want to find the right solutions.