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.
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.
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.