UX

Investing in UX: How to structure your UX budget for maximum impact
Article

Investing in UX: How to structure your UX budget for maximum impact

When product teams put together budgets for new products or product releases, they often struggle to determine how much money to allocate for UX research and testing. This confusion flows from uncertainty about how to view UX’s role in the product development process. Is UX a one-time project with precise parameters and a predictable scope, like designing a logo? Or is it an ongoing program of activities that ought to be woven through the entire development process?

An instructor viewing data on a dashboard designed to provide insights about student performance.
Article

Data visualization design: How EdTech products can tell better stories to meet growing demands for actionable insights

As EdTech products grow more complex in terms of the data they manage and the analytics they produce, data visualization is poised to become an indispensable tool. To date, many of these products have yet to fully embrace data visualization design in their product interfaces. As the expectations of students, instructors and administrators grow, it will almost certainly be considered a baseline requirement soon.

Click on image to launch article about third-party integration in EdTech products
Article

5 tips for integrating third-party applications without sacrificing the user experience

Over the past few years, the UX of EdTech products has improved by leaps and bounds. That’s true at the individual application level, anyway. But it’s a whole different story when you look at the user experience of product integrations that bridge two or more applications. It’s hard enough to integrate platforms in situations where you have complete control, but it can be incredibly difficult to integrate third-party platforms in a meaningful, seamless fashion.

UX designers and researchers reviewing design progress at Openfield.
Article

Hiring guide – choosing the right UX partner for the long haul

Your EdTech company is thriving. Your product is growing and so too must your team. It’s a good problem to have, of course. But for companies considering working with an outside UX agency, it can be hard to know exactly how to gauge their value. It’s easy to see why this can feel like such a challenging decision. The idea of spinning up an internal team is daunting, but the idea of working with an agency brings its own set of concerns and unknowns that can lead to misinformed buying decisions.

UX team members conducting an audit of an EdTech product to reduce design debt.
Article

Getting out of design debt with an actionable UX audit

Products, like people, don’t always age gracefully. When it comes to digital products, this aging process begins as soon as new features or bug fixes are introduced to a newly launched product. Over time, as more and more changes take place, design debt (or internal inconsistencies that don’t match the product’s underlying design system) naturally begins to accrue. From minor visual discrepancies all the way up to broken functionalities, design debt fragments and undermines user experience.

UX team members meet for daily design reviews to increase collaboration and efficiency.
Article

Daily Design Reviews: An evolved design review process fit for the complexity of EdTech products

At Openfield, we found that the same old design review process didn’t quite fit the bill anymore. Instead of formal, infrequent design reviews, we needed to develop a design feedback loop that was as agile and iterative as the development process itself had become. And that’s how we landed on a system of daily design reviews.

ARTICLE

‘Good enough’ usually isn’t: Avoiding traps that sabotage MVP success

Minimum Viable Product. Minimum Awesome Product. Minimum Loved Product. No matter what you call it, your product needs to delight users on the first release and every iteration beyond that, or it will fail.

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.

UX designers conducting empathy session as part of inclusive design practices.
Article

Inclusive design: why EdTech companies should go beyond compliance

Truly inclusive product design aims to create products that work seamlessly for all people, in all situations. This may seem like a tall order, but it really should be your company’s goal. Not only is it an ethical imperative, but it’s good for business, too.

UX team collaborating with EdTech product owners.
Article

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.

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.

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 user is confused about how to use an EdTech product due to its lack of onboarding features.
ARTICLE

How onboarding helps users get up to speed on your EdTech products quickly

Improving the on-ramp to your product makes users confident in their choice and increases their satisfaction. The bottom-line benefit of a better onboarding experience comes from both greater customer retention and reduced customer service.

Openfield leads a session to show how product teams can shorten Google's 5 Day Design Sprint.
WEBINAR

How to condense the 5-Day Design Sprint without giving up key outcomes

All product leaders have a list of desired improvements and fixes that often feels impossible to get on top of. And while Google’s 5-Day Design Sprint is the gold standard for ideation, design, prototyping, and testing ideas, it’s just not always practical or even possible to secure that much time from your participants.

Design elements underscore the importance of universal design systems in EdTech products.
ARTICLE

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.

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.

The Openfield team helped establish the universal design language for Macmillan Learning's products.
CASE STUDY

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.

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.

friction in UX
ARTICLE

In EdTech products, friction can be good or bad. A balance of both is the answer.

User journeys through apps, software and websites must follow optimized paths with no confusion or distractions.

UX design leader talking about the cost of UX inaction in educational software products.
ARTICLE

UX is not a one-time event. What EdTech product leaders need to know about the cost of inaction.

Keep it active … or face the consequences. While many organizations make the commitment to implement UX practices, we’ve found that many adopt best practices of UX only to a point.

A disabled student and his teacher using an educational app together.
ARTICLE

User experience really does mean all users, part 3

While achieving compliance in your digital products is important, it’s a first step. Make it your goal to reach ALL users through the practice of inclusive design

A user with physical impairments working on a tablet in the classroom.
ARTICLE

User experience really does mean all users, part 2

It’s important for EdTech product teams to embrace industry guidelines and best practices around accessibility. The web and technological advances create new opportunities and have the potential to remove communication barriers many face in the physical world. Yet millions of people can’t fully reap the benefits of those opportunities because of inaccessibile digital products.

A blind student using a Braille keyboard.
ARTICLE

User experience really does mean all users, part 1

Governments (including the United States) have made strides in implementing or updating regulations and policies that ensure that people with disabilities do not face discrimination and have equal access and opportunity to use the web and digital products. While regulations provide a baseline, industry guidelines can provide more context and direction for accessibility in UX. Features like screen readers, text-to-speech, closed captioning and sticky keys are commonplace thanks to established industry guidelines.

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.

Trevor Minton, VP of Product Experience at Openfield, talking about ROI of UX investment.
ARTICLE

Running the numbers – calculating the ROI of your UX investment

Do you really know what’s at stake? Check out these calculators to help you combat the risks of UX inaction and envision your ROI.