How to build an EdTech design system that supports multiple products
Most EdTech companies understand the value of design systems. Comprehensive UX design systems are much more than just a static library of fonts, colors, and reusable components such as buttons. Actionable design systems also establish principles to guide the usage of individual components. The result is improved efficiency, more effective design governance, reduced design debt — and a more user-friendly product.
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.
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.
Top 10 tips to produce effective, user-friendly microcopy
Chances are, your product team already pours ample resources into making your products as user-friendly as possible. You work hard to get the user flows and UI elements just right. But what about the verbal components of the interface?
If you’re like many EdTech companies, microcopy — or the many verbal cues found throughout your product, from buttons to prompts and instructive overlays — may be a last-minute consideration. This often means that microcopy is written on the fly, without rigorous guidelines or user testing.
Avoiding Dependency Hell as product teams scale
For EdTech companies, the opportunity to develop single, enterprise-wide products is both exciting and potentially lucrative. But with bigger projects come bigger challenges throughout the UX process. With multiple UX teams, product teams and engineering teams all functioning separately within the same project, building products at a large scale opens a web of complex communication issues for the teams involved.
Borrow cues from search, retail, gaming to improve UX in EdTech products
From administrative tasks like taking attendance and grading quizzes to features that enable students to learn and succeed, EdTech products have become more and more powerful. But that power can make these tools more complicated for users. Learn how to align tools with common mental models from search, retail, and gaming.
Evolving your design system over time improves team efficiency
Often, design systems are treated as “one and done” initiatives — drafted, agreed upon and set in stone. Many a design team has embarked on a fool’s errand, thinking they could anticipate every design need that may arise in the future. If you instead adopt a continuous release approach for ongoing improvements to guidelines, you essentially mirror the product development process itself.
Refreshed UX aligns product with mental models of nursing instructors.
Wolters Kluwer sought to address issues with one of its products, Lippincott CoursePoint+. Openfield helped them identify problems which led to a realignment of the user flow to match the mental model of its instructor user base. In addition to helping them solve specific challenges with the product, we identified new UX processes that have resulted in them adopting new viewpoints and practices that will improve team efficiency and user satisfaction across their product suites.
Unified Design Language reduces disruption for students and instructors, increases efficiency for product teams.
From “many for many” to “one for all,” Macmillan Learning sought to simplify their products by creating a single common design language, elevating user experiences and advancing internal efficiencies along the way.