Research

A student performing tasks on an EdTech product during a user testing session.
Article

The right people at the right time: Building a best-fit user feedback panel for user tests

User testing is a critical component of the product development process. You need your users’ feedback to shape your EdTech offering in a way that meets their needs and creates an enjoyable user experience. But when it comes to following the best practices of effective UX testing, not just any users will do. The reliability of your tests depends on your ability to recruit the right mix of users at the right time.

Photo of students using educational software
Resource

Observe your users in the wild with this downloadable worksheet

When you’re observing users in the wild, one thing’s for sure – there’s a lot going on. To help you capture key insights, observations and ideas on-the-fly, we’ve created this worksheet you can download and print to make sure you don’t miss any important details when you’re in the field.

Photo of UX researchers reviewing user data reports at Openfield.
Article

Quality reporting is the key to realizing the full ROI of actionable UX research

Most EdTech companies now understand the importance of UX research in developing products that meet the needs of students, instructors, and administrators. But the thing about UX research is that it’s actually only the first half of the equation. Without thoughtfully prepared reporting, your UX research is really just a pool of data. By adopting effective presentation strategies for reporting research results you can ensure your findings are carried through the rest of the development process.

UX researcher working on report early in the discovery phase.
Article

Early and often: The importance of UX research throughout the product development process

EdTech companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of UX research in successful product development. The numbers bear this out, with industry surveys showing an uptick in companies who identify the need to conduct more in-depth customer research as digital products continue to revolutionize the marketplace. That’s a step in the right direction, for sure. But the reality is that many product teams remain uncertain about when and how to incorporate UX research. 

UX researchers reviewing quantitative data to discover problems in educational software products.
Article

UX research methods (part III): When to use quantitative data to justify product improvement decisions

Qualitative research may be the bread and butter of UX testing, but quantitative UX research methods have an important role to play in the iterative product design process. There are many reasons product teams should consider using quantitative research, from the identification of existing problems to justifying expenditures in order to get buy-in from stakeholders.

Article

UX research methods (part II): Unlocking user insights with qualitative testing

In this article, we’ll dig into qualitative UX research and explain what it is, why it’s important, and how your team should approach it.

Students being observed using educational software by UX researchers.
Article

UX research methods (part I): Avoiding user bias with observational user testing

User testing is a crucial component of successful product design. Without the insights that on-the-ground testing yields, designers can only guess at how users will actually interact with their products.

Article

How CX and UX come together to meet users’ needs and inspire loyalty

A harmonious integration of customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) is especially important in EdTech, where educational IT managers and instructors have become accustomed to not just strong products, but also to comprehensive, personalized service.

Corporate training staff using EdTech product for career growth.
Article

Nontraditional learning: How EdTech tools are different for corporate and personal users

When most people think EdTech, they naturally imagine students and instructors in K through 12 or higher education settings. But learners and teachers can be found everywhere from boardrooms to living rooms. And while the reasons for learning vary, companies that make learning products for corporate and personal use can benefit greatly from the knowledge of their counterparts who target K-12 and higher ed sectors.

Product release dates for classroom software.
Article

Makers of classroom technology must align product releases with academic calendars

In general product design, frequent releases is accepted as the best way to update products. But in EdTech, timing can be the difference between success and failure. Learn the best practices for product design and development release cycles that consider the natural cycles of academic calendars.

UX researchers reviewing research report.
Article

Are your stakeholders user research skeptics or superfans?

If you’re an advocate for user research in an organization that doesn’t value it, you might feel like you’re shouting into the wind sometimes. Too often, stakeholders (and we’re talking about executive leadership and even designer/developers) consider research an obstacle to rapidly launching a product or update. Recruiting users to interview, analyzing results and reporting on findings takes time, and in a quick-turn release cycle it may be too late by the time you get the answers you need.

The Openfield team looks to other industries for best practices that will improve educational products.
Article

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.

A college professor reviews test results as students follow along in a connected app.
ARTICLE

Building powerful EdTech tools starts with understanding students & instructors

Remember that you’re creating products for two audiences with distinct but overlapping needs. Instructors select the tools for their classrooms, so tech companies often develop products with them in mind. But for every one instructor there may be 600 student users, and if something goes wrong with the app, instructors get 600 emails about the problem.

Carefully balance rock formation illustrates the need to balance ux design and research activities.
ARTICLE

​Research vs. design: balancing your UX budget for better outcomes

In the mad dash to launch a new product or major upgrade, product teams tend to expend more energy on designing features than on understanding users. In organizations that don’t place a high value on user insight, there’s a perception that design moves a project forward, while research holds it up.

iClicker app
CASE STUDY

New connected digital experience for students and instructors fuels rapid market dominance.

Whether it’s a classroom of 20 or a lecture hall of 200 students, instructors and students in higher education expect in-classroom technology to reliably and efficiently foster the most effective learning environment possible.

CoursePoint interface
CASE STUDY

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.

A UX design regenerates inspiration by enjoying a difficult hike.
ARTICLE

Looking for inspiration? Go off-screen.

Sometimes, the best problem-solving comes from shaking off tunnel-vision and stepping out from behind a screen.

A UX team lead reviews product roadmap updates with her team.
ARTICLE

faUX v realUX: What EdTech leaders need to know to when evaluating a UX partner.

Now more than ever companies need to be careful about choosing a partner that specializes in UX at its core.

Children using educational software in the classroom.
ARTICLE

Three ways research improves UX outcomes

Research is the foundation of best-practice UX, leading to gains that can be transformative for digital products. But all too often, product teams either forego research altogether, or they fail to implement it properly.