Most digital products, such as social media, budgeting, and news apps, appeal to users on the basis of their utility or entertainment value. Individual users make the personal decision to purchase or download these products because they want to use them. EdTech software, on the other hand, is different. They are undoubtedly useful. But for student users, they may not seem like much fun when they are required to use them.
Being a great product leader requires a constant balancing act between meeting the need to release immediate improvements while simultaneously planning for what’s coming in the next year and beyond. Dealing with today’s concerns, such as Accessibility compliance and onboarding issues, has a way of getting in the way of planning for bigger trends that will have an impact on the success of your product.
The best EdTech products, the ones that instructors, students, and administrators value most, are those that truly anticipate and meet their users’ needs. Developing a product with a superior user experience requires the right UX expertise, of course. But that’s not all. Your product’s usability also depends upon how well your product team coordinates and collaborates during the development process.
As your product needs evolve over time, the ability to scale your UX resources up or down is crucial to maximizing your product’s growth — and your UX budget’s impact. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we encourage EdTech companies to think of their UX spend as an investment rather than a strict, project-by-project budget. When you invest in UX as an ongoing project (on a quarterly basis, for example), you free up your product and UX teams to work more efficiently and productively as they identify solutions and resolve problems.
As a product leader, one of your primary responsibilities is to connect the leadership team’s vision of their EdTech product with the actual needs of the product’s users. To do this well, you must execute leadership’s vision responsively. This means modulating the product roadmap as your product team surfaces new information about user needs or identifies risks associated with leadership’s vision. Leadership teams are naturally more future-focused.