All products — yours included — are only as good as users believe them to be. Which means any EdTech product’s success hinges on its ability to anticipate and solve users’ most pressing problems, both in and out of the classroom. And it’s safe to say that without UX research, your product’s design is little more than a stab in the dark. Why is it, then, that so many EdTech companies struggle to appropriately leverage UX research in their product development process?
As an EdTech leader, you know your product needs to be user-friendly to succeed in the market. And you also know user research is key to designing solutions that satisfy and delight. At the same time, though, you may have a hard time defining the true ROI of your UX investment. Without the ability to directly connect UX activities to measurable business outcomes, you may struggle to justify your UX spend — whether that’s to your board, your funders, or even yourself.
Your EdTech product serves a range of users in different situations with different needs. That’s true even if your product is lean and focused. But as your user base and feature set grow over time, so too will the number of use cases you must account for in your UX design. Growth is a good thing. Yet when it comes to EdTech products, more use cases mean more complexity. And complexity is often the enemy of usability.
User research is a cornerstone of digital product design and development. And conventional wisdom dictates that you should thoroughly test new features and functionalities before you release them to users. But there’s one notable exception to this golden rule: beta features. Presenting a feature as “beta” can be a great way to increase your team’s agility, go to market faster, respond more quickly to your users’ most pressing requests, and test out concepts on a wider audience.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend life as we knew it — including the usual in-person educational models — students, teachers, and administrators are more stressed than ever before. You’ve seen it with your own eyes. Your EdTech product users are struggling with unprecedented challenges. And they have the elevated anxiety to match. To design the right solutions within your product — and effectively reduce user stress — you must first look at your users’ lives outside your product.