Insights

Join us for ongoing reflections on the role that UX research and design plays in helping people learn and teach better.
    Photo of two puzzle pieces representing the relationship between UX and Market Research
    ARTICLE: Sarah Freitag

    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.
    ARTICLE: Annie Hensley

    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
    ARTICLE: Adam Sonnett

    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
    ARTICLE: Crissie Raines

    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.
    ARTICLE: Lauren DeMarks & Alex Hiser

    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.

    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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