Insights

Join us for ongoing reflections on the role that UX research and design plays in helping people learn and teach better.
    Image of design system elements showing spacing guidelines.
    ARTICLE: Chris Albert

    Why a design system should be a core part of your product roadmap

    Within any product, there exists a large set of individual design elements, from buttons and colors to menus and form fields. Together, these individual elements make up the basic building blocks of a product’s design. Design systems are the means by which product teams document those individual components, describe how they behave, and provide usable guidelines for how to build patterns and workflows. Many product teams write off design systems as being superfluous.

    Design debt weighs heavily on a product leader's mind.
    ARTICLE: Chris Albert

    The high costs of design debt – and how to pay it down

    Usability problems can crop up in EdTech products for any number of reasons. An incomplete understanding of user’s needs. Inadequately defined product requirements. Insufficient user testing. The list goes on. Many of these issues can be headed off simply by incorporating UX and user-centered design best practices in the product development process. But no matter how attentive your team is to its users, and no matter how airtight your approach, there’s another usability problem that is sure to materialize with time: design debt. 

    Members of the UX team conducting discovery session for an EdTech product.
    ARTICLE: Trevor Minton

    The purpose of UX discovery sessions – and how to make the most of them

    When we begin a UX engagement with a new EdTech client, our first priority is to quickly learn as much as possible about our client’s product and users. Our collaborative process begins with a phase of research and user understanding that includes an in-person discovery session. The discovery session allows a products’s stakeholders to identify problems, clarify goals and priorities, and align around a shared vision for their product – before identifying solutions. Here’s what you need to know about this critical planning session — and how you and your UX team can make the most of it. 

    An engineer observes a user testing session for an EdTech product.
    ARTICLE: Julee Peterson

    Why your engineering team should regularly attend your user testing sessions

    When your engineering team is in the midst of an agile development sprint, they must be laser-focused on the tasks that comprise the next leg of their work. That sort of tunnel-vision is a good thing. Good, that is, so long as it’s tempered with an appreciation of your users’ needs. You see, unless engineers intentionally approach their work from an empathetic, user-centric perspective, they will naturally prioritize technical limitations and considerations over other factors — sometimes at the expense of user needs. 

    Image of paper airplane going its own way depicts challenge of innovating in EdTech.
    ARTICLE: Trevor Minton

    Innovation in the EdTech space: Why it lags behind – and what you can do about it

    Innovation within the EdTech space can sometimes feel painfully slow. That’s especially true when compared with digital products in other spaces, such as social media, finance, and health apps. This innovation drag is felt not only by EdTech companies themselves, but by users, too.  Student users, in particular, are quick to notice when EdTech products aren’t on par with the many other apps they use on a daily basis.

    Case Study: New connected digital experience for students and instructors fuels rapid market dominance.

    Openfield provided UX strategy and design that resulted in this intuitive, innovative suite of learning tools that facilitate campus communication and create a standardized ecosystem of support at every stage of the student lifecycle.

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