ARTICLE: Trevor Minton

How A Comprehensive Approach Improves EdTech UX Outcomes

The EdTech sector is experiencing an increase in funding and investment. However, you still need firm justification for UX research and design initiatives across a long chain of command. That means if you want to invest in user research and design services, your product team needs to demonstrate a clear return on investment.

As specialized EdTech UX research and design experts, we’ll guide you through each stage of our comprehensive approach to UX design, including outcomes and deliverables. This guide will allow you to assess whether Openfield is the right UX partner to drive measurable value for your EdTech.

How Openfield Supports Your Internal Team at Every Product Stage

Stage 1: Kick-off & Alignment 

Before we start a project, Openfield and your internal team need alignment on the UX problem we aim to solve. Spending sufficient time at the outset of a project to clearly define project goals helps direct the discovery process and assures us that our solutions adequately address your product needs and business goals.

Common UX challenges at this stage

  • Your product team is aware of user frustration or design debt, but they can’t pinpoint what it is or why it exists. 
  • Stakeholders have competing viewpoints and you can’t seem to agree on product goals and overall vision for your EdTech.

Openfield’s solutions

  • Openfield interviews users and reviews existing usage data to understand your specific user needs. With user-backed insights, you’ll have full confidence in the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • As an objective third party, Openfield leverages user insights and data to facilitate internal alignment on product vision and goals.

Typical UX services and activities

  • Kickoff meeting with product team and stakeholders
  • Review of existing data and insight
  • Usability audit and heuristic evaluation
  • User interviews
  • User journey mapping
  • Creation of task flows
  • Alignment

Outcomes and Deliverables

  • Full-team understanding of the product vision, objectives, and intended user base
  • Prioritized understanding of what users really care about
  • Alignment of documented task flows supporting primary revision tasks
  • Success criteria to evaluate the performance of future design concepts

Openfield’s Kick-off and Alignment stage ensures your team starts any UX project unified around clear user needs, and business objectives. It’s a rock-solid foundation for developing successful solutions.

Stage 2: Concepting and Feedback 

During this stage, we will generate and evaluate a wide range of ideas that support the needs of your users, in addition to your short and long-term vision for your EdTech. 

Common UX challenges at this stage

  • You need to see the broad range of design options for your EdTech solution before deciding on a direction
  • You have plenty of good options, but you need to synthesize the best options into a sensible and strategic direction

Openfield’s solutions

  • Our designers implement agile methodologies, which allows them to test multiple concepts at once and pivot as necessary.
  • We can combine the best of the best to create a solution that ticks all the boxes for your short and long term product vision.

Typical UX Services and activities

  • Rapid Concept Iteration
  • Reviewing & Remixing concepts
  • Concept Refinement
  • Reviewing and prioritizing concepts

Outcomes and Deliverables

  • Concepts that align with task flows and meet user needs
  • “Remixed” flows that combine and leverage the best ideas from initial concepts
  • Prioritized flows for usability testing

The Concepting and Feedback stage yields an optimized solution that synthesizes the best ideas while aligning with both user needs and long-term product vision. Our agile, data-driven approach ensures the final design maximizes usability while avoiding potential pitfalls, setting the stage for a successful EdTech experience.

Stage 3: Refinement & Usability Testing 

During this stage, we further refine leading design solutions and allow users to interact with proposed solutions in the form of prototypes. With prototypes, we can validate solutions before investing in an extensive engineering build and release. 

In user testing sessions, UX researchers give users a working prototype and a script of tasks to complete without prompting. Next, they ask users to “think out loud,” or describe their experience and decision-making while they use the prototype.

It’s critical at this stage to understand the nuance of user tests. With Openfield, we typically have a research lead conducting the test and a designer observing the test. Both are hyper-attuned to the verbal and nonverbal cues that indicate user confusion or frustration, such as frequent pauses or certain facial expressions. In those moments, our team knows exactly what questions to ask and how to ask them to uncover valuable insight.

Common UX needs at this stage

  • To impress users and stakeholders alike, you need a sophisticated user experience and user interface (UI) design.
  • Your strategic prototypes must be validated with user testing.
  • Before exerting engineering resources, you need the utmost confidence that your solutions deliver value.

Openfield’s solutions

  • Over two decades of experience in UX research and design for EdTech informs our sophisticated, iterative design solutions. We ensure your UX and UI designs surprise and delight users and drive stakeholder success.
  • We stay attentive to verbal responses and subtle nonverbal cues in user interviews and testing and ask incisive follow up questions to gain deeper insight into user pain points. Our process leaves no stone unturned, so you feel excited and confident about finalizing the design.
  • Our iterative designs future-proof your products from becoming stagnant. Our agile designers continuously validate designs through user testing and rapidly incorporate feedback. This allows your products to evolve as your user and business needs evolve.

Typical UX services and activities

  • Designing & Prototyping
  • User Recruitment & Script Development
  • User testing with design prototypes
  • Final Review & Feedback
  • Validation

Outcomes and Deliverables

  • Interactive prototype that includes approved task flows
  • Research script that outlines the objectives, tasks, and focus areas for usability sessions
  • Report on usability tests completed with 5-10 users
  • A solidified design direction ready for refinement and engineering implementation

This iterative stage of Openfield’s process yields measurably higher usability scores and user satisfaction, reducing development costs and de-risking your product roadmap for long-term success.

Stage 4: Design & Delivery

It’s industry standard to provide comprehensive design specifications primarily in the form of organized, component-based Figma design files. 

But Openfield takes it a step further. We equip your engineering with comprehensive visual assets in addition to their functional intent.

Expect accessibility guidance, too. We explain our design decisions from an accessibility standpoint and outline requirements and opportunities for your engineering team to increase accessibility compliance through coding.

Common UX needs at this stage

  • To ensure a smooth build, your engineering team needs polished designs with supplemental context and functionality guidance. 
  • Your UX partner must be available to consult with engineering before, during, and after builds.

Openfield’s solutions

  • We provide annotations that describe exactly what the intended behaviors and interactions are for all visual assets (e.g., hover states or micro-animations).
  • After we deliver our final designs, we’re still a part of the team. We make ourselves available for any consulting or guidance your team needs to ensure a successful product.

Typical Services and Activities

  • Final Designs & Specifications to Engineering Team

Outcomes and Deliverables

  • Design specifications that meet requirements are finalized in collaboration with the engineering team
  • Final designs in Figma align with the product’s design language 
  • Organized design files, assets, and specifications delivered in a handoff meeting.

With our specialized expertise in EdTech and proven, collaborative approach to UX, Openfield enables EdTech companies like yours to deepen user engagement with sophisticated, intuitive products and services. If you’re curious how our proven approach can maximize your EdTech’s potential, reach out to us.

  • Photo of Trevor Minton
    Trevor Minton

    As CXO at Openfield, Trevor collaborates closely with our clients and ensures that our team delivers world-class design thinking and execution that results in strong emotional connections between users and digital products. He is passionately enthusiastic about music, local and international soccer, automotive design and racing, and getting under the hood of his old but new-to-him BMW to keep it on the road for another couple of decades.

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