6 October 2020Comments are off for this post.

User Personas: Step-by-Step Guide

In the first part of this article, I explained the definition of user persona, what is the goal of creating it, when is the best time to make user personas and how many of them you need.

In the 2nd part of this article, I want to focus on how to actually create a good persona and what are the elements it should consist of. I also add a few tips from my personal experience of creating personas many times before. You can also download our great template to build your own user persona down below!

So let’s start. The personas are so effective because they are built upon real data about your target audience. It all seems rather straightforward and easy, but... how to actually start creating them? 

 

The main steps to create your user personas

Conduct user research

The first step to create user personas is to gather data about your users. The best way to gather comprehensive data is to apply both quantitative and qualitative methods to your research.

For quantitative research, you should gather as much data as possible. The most common way to collect information about your (potential) users is to run closed-ended surveys and pools. This way, you will know general information about your customers - demographics, their occupation, the time they spent online, and so on.

Qualitative research requires much more effort but is necessary to truly understand your users. You put yourself into their shoes by observing their verbal and non-verbal behavior, including their facial expressions, body language, and emotions. To achieve this, meet them in person and conduct deepened user interviews. 

You can also shadow them as they do everyday tasks, or observe how they use your or your competitors’ products. If you don’t have the possibility to meet your users in person, consider conducting a survey consisting of open-ended questions.

Plan your research wisely to make sure the time was spent as efficiently as possible. 

The type and amount of methods you choose should correspond to the time and resources you have. I personally recommend taking some time to do the research properly, because it will serve as a base for lots of design and business decisions in the future.

Consolidate the gathered data

Now that you conducted user research, you face large amounts of data. To organize it, you should look for schemes and consolidate them into user segments and their main attributes. Use data ranges to reflect all of the important information about each user group. 

There are a few methods to make data consolidation easier. The most common is the use of spreadsheets, especially to consolidate results of surveys and user testing. If you use more research methods, you might find it easier to organize the results into affinity diagrams or empathy maps. The empathy maps are also a great way to supplement user personas in the future.

Create your user personas

Once you consolidate all gathered data into user segments with ranges, you can derive user personas for each segment. Make sure each one represents its group well and highlights its most important attributes and details. Try to make the persona as similar to a living human being as possible. To make it easier simply follow the guidelines and tips in sections below.

The process described above is the most common way to develop personas but it may vary depending on a project. In each case, to be effective, personas should be accepted and understood across the team and all stakeholders.

 

What should a user persona consist of?

A persona is not an actual human being, but it should be described as and give a feeling of a real one. If it feels fake, it means it is not done the right way. To achieve this human-like impression you should pay a lot of attention to the description of a persona.

Follow our guidelines and tips to be familiar with the most common attributes used to describe user personas.

A name & profile photo

The persona has to be fleshed out. The goal is to make the persona memorable for everyone in the team, so it needs to have a clear, consistent identity. Give them a fictional name that is fairly common, eg. “John”, or more descriptive like “John the Admin”.  

Next, add a photo. It should reflect the average age of users from the segment. It should also give an impression of their financial status and personality. Make sure the photo is consistent with all of the information about the persona you collect. Avoid using photos of well-known faces, including the ones of your coworkers and celebrities.

A sum-up quote

It’s beneficial to sum-up the persona with a 1-2 sentence quote that best captures their personality in the context of the product.

Metrics

You should add a demographic profile based on real data. The chosen metrics depend heavily on the project, but the rule of thumb is to include age, occupation, education level, the location of a persona, and its family status.

Goals

Your products should answer directly to your users’ goals, so this information is crucial for every aspect of your business.

Basic questions to answer: What does the persona want to achieve in relation to our product or service?  What are his/her goals and needs?

Motivation

Every activity people take is motivated by something. If you understand your users’ motivation, you can use it to your advantage and propose a glove-like fit solution.

Basic questions to answer: What is the persona motivated by? Why does he/she have such goals? What could possibly, realistically, drive him/her to the product or service?

Behavior

Your users try to achieve their goals all the time. The question is: how do they do that? If you know their journey, you can learn from it, make it easier, or propose something new that will be better adjusted to the audience.

Basic questions to answer: What does the persona do to achieve the stated goal right now? What does the journey look like? 

Frustrations

Whenever you are building a new product, or want to improve an existing one, you should be aware of the frustrations your users face on a daily basis. You should know if the products on the market are good enough, or if there are any pain points you can cover.

Basic questions to answer: What issues and pain-points does the persona currently face within the given context? What is he/she struggling with? What stops him/her from taking action?

Expectations

Users spend most of their time using other apps and websites than your product and by using them they acquire certain habits. It is crucial to keep it in mind and know these habits and expectations well to not confuse the user.

Basic questions to answer: What does the persona expect from the product? Does he/she have any habits from using similar products or services?

Environment

Surroundings constantly affect user behavior, including where they live, what they do in their spare time, what technical devices they usually use, and so on.

Basic questions to answer: What technological devices does the persona use? How do they spend their free time?

Technology usage

It is especially important to know what type of platform to focus on and how to embrace the technology not to surprise or confuse users.

Basic questions to answer: How tech-savvy is the persona? How fluently do they use new technologies? Do they use social media, or mobile apps often?

Personality traits

People’s personality traits determine their behavior and decision making, so choose them wisely. 

Basic questions to answer: What are the most dominant personality traits of the persona? What drives their behavior?

Brands & Influences

Surprisingly, you can tell a lot about people just by observing what influences their decisions. If it is your competitor it will be beneficial to take a look at their marketing tactics.

Basic questions to answer: What are persona’s favorite brands that influence his/her behavior?

 

Additional tips

The points listed above are the most crucial information that persona should consist of. These are a starting point that can be customized according to the project, for example, you can also include a short bio, daily routines, hobbies, job responsibilities, and much more. I have also collected a few handy tips that will help you create effective user personas:

Use real data

Don’t just make things up. Don’t base the persona on assumptions nor guesses. If you do, you will create a user you would like to have, not a user who actually is on the market. 

There’s a saying “design for someone who does not exist and you will have no customers” and I totally agree with that. The more you move away from real data, the less effective and useful user persona will be. 

Keep your persona alive

Don’t just create and leave it for the next few years. People change, technologies evolve as fast as never before. So do user behavior and expectations. You should update your personas with continuous user research to ensure the best possible match to the target group during each stage of the project.

If your product is already used by users, you can run customer surveys or scan the performance through analytics tools. If you have more time and resources, it’s always beneficial to run more qualitative research, for example user interviews, usability testing, diary studies, and so on. It will help you to keep track of constantly evolving user needs.

Be consistent

Make sure the descriptions of user personas you create are appropriate and consistent. Otherwise, it will feel fake and you may end up with an inconsistent, chaotic product. 

Make them feel human

If your persona feels cold and doesn’t feel like a real person, you can add a bio section that will cover the background of the persona. Remember, user personas have to be memorable and their goal is to create empathy and share an understanding of the target group, so try to imitate a real human being. 

To express the more human side of the persona you can also use the details of your real customers (acquired during the research phase) or you can base it upon your customer’s social media profiles. 

Keep it serious

Remember, it’s a business document. Personas serve as guidelines and help to support business and design decisions, so avoid adding irrelevant, unnecessary information. If you want to add some details that are not related in any way to the product, omit it. Be serious and specific. 

Use templates

There are plenty of templates on the web that really speed the work up! At Setapp we use a user persona template that involves all crucial information in one place. Sign up down below to download it, it’s completely free!


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Agnieszka Körber
A passionate User Experience Designer and Cognitive Scientist. She's been easing interactions between humans and digital products for the last few years.

15 September 2020Comments are off for this post.

User Personas: Why Are They So Important?

Currently, the market is filled with digital products, including web and mobile applications. Yet somehow, according to statistics, 90% of new startups fail. Some of the main reasons are lack of market need and no interest from users, which may indicate some apps were built upon wrong assumptions of their founders. The top rule when creating a new digital product should be then to understand that you (as a creator) are not your user, and the key to success is to understand your audience, and then meet their needs. User personas are a great tool to achieve that.

What is a user persona?

A user persona (called also “a persona”) is a fictional character based on real data. It represents the key segments of the (potential) users of a product or a service. These users share similar behavior patterns, product requirements, preferences, and goals.

Building personas is an essential step to understand who your users are. It answers the question “Who do we design for?” which affects the whole process of product design and development. The more realistic the personas are, the more market-fit products can be created.

Personas should be based on qualitative and quantitative user research, to properly reflect key characteristics of the audience of the product. It is important to remember that the personas are as good as the research behind them.

If you do not have any data to back up your personas and you base them only on your assumptions and guesses then they are called proto-personas.  It is not recommended to base your decisions only on such models, because they may be created around your own beliefs and background and not those of your users. However, if eventually you choose to create proto-personas, make sure to validate them with user research in the next step.

Why are user personas important?

Long story short, personas usually serve as safeguards against the most common mistake - designing for yourself. They not only help to understand the target audience, but they also consolidate data gathered during user research, and evoke empathy among the team and stakeholders. Getting into your (potential) customers' shoes supports the creation of really useful and valuable products for the target users.

To be more precise, well-done personas help to:

 

  • Create a market-fit solution

The fact that personas are created as derived characters from user segments decreases generalization, so we can fully focus on the specific needs of specific people.

The understanding of users’ problems and needs, the background of their behavior, and their expectations lead to the creation of useful products that offer exactly the features that users really want to use. At the same time, personas help to avoid wasting time on building features that aren’t useful for the audience.

If the product is already live, creating personas help to uncover gaps and contribute to the constant improvement of product usability.

Personas not only express users’ articulated needs but also may uncover such needs and goals that users may not even be aware of. It  helps to drive innovation and explore new areas of the market.

 

  • Make design decisions

Personas serve as a design compass. They help to prioritize and focus on the features that are most important for users. Referring to personas shows the best design patterns for specific target groups and prevents designers from being tempted by generalization.

They can also serve as a tool to cut unnecessary discussions about features that will not be used.

Moreover, keeping the focus on real users across the whole design phase helps to keep consistency across the product.

 

  • Consolidate data gathered during user research

Personas help to aggregate large amounts of data gathered during user research.

As visual representations, they are easy to understand, memorable, and converge all information of the target group into one place. The use of personas eliminates wasting time on going back to raw data from user research and provides instant insight into the audience’s attributes.

Furthermore, when the product is already running and personas are ready, they can be extended by ongoing user research results. Personas that are kept up to date provide a great source of knowledge everyone can refer to.

 

  • Evoke empathy among the team

User personas are human-like representations of target groups, who have feelings and emotions the team can empathize with. They provide a common understanding of users’ motives and ways of interacting with the product.

Personas can be hung on the office wall or board to keep the team focused on target groups and used during the whole process of development. How? For example, whenever someone in the team needs help making a decision regarding the product, they can refer to personas and ask “Would John use it?” to quickly validate if the feature is relevant enough.

 

  • Teach external parties about target groups

The personas serve as a digestible way to transmit information about the target groups to other people. They can be exported as PDF or JPG files and sent to outside agencies to provide a clear description and achieve a common understanding of the target audience.

 

  • Support decisions across the whole company

User personas, as representatives of target groups, are a great tool that supports a decision-making process also outside of the design phase. Referring to user personas might be beneficial for many areas of your business, for example:

    • Sales & business - Knowing a lot about your audience can affect your value proposition and business model. It may make it easier to achieve more shareholder value because personas make the target group and the idea behind them more tangible. Awareness of users’ motives, needs, and frustrations might increase lead generation by better adjustment of the approach to the target group. 
    • Marketing and social media - Marketing materials need to be adjusted to the audience to be effective. Personas are a great tool to use while creating marketing campaigns and materials. 
    • Developers - When they can empathize with users it is easier to make a decision which approach is best to take while programming.
    • Copywriters - Personas may support copywriters by ensuring the content of the product is tailored to the audience.
    • Quality assurance - It may be easier for QA Specialists to test the product when empathizing with users. Test scenarios based on real use cases bring better results. 

Additionally, if the company tends to conduct workshops using role-playing exercises, personas are great, ready-to-use characters to take.

 

  • Recruit participants for user testing

If the product is already live and running you might want to empower it with complementary user research, such as usability testing. Personas serve as great guidelines to recruit participants for qualitative studies.

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When to create personas?

As early as possible. The key moment is the beginning of a project, during the pre-design phase to ensure that the solution will be adjusted to real user needs.

Defining the target group too late might cause a lot of problems. The biggest one might be a lack of interest from the users’ side, which will end up in a great loss of time and money. Still, better late than never! It may be beneficial even for ongoing projects to keep track of the trends and adjust the features the product offers to current user needs.

It’s important to understand that user personas should never be “finished”. Times change, the same as users’ behavior, expectations, and needs. Personas should be updated with the results of continuous user research to ensure the best possible match to the target group during each stage of the project. 

How many personas do you need?

Actually, the fewer personas you have, the easier it is to design to meet their needs. Your aim is to have one persona representing one target user group. Some companies target their product only to one type of user, and in that case, one persona is enough, but larger ones, especially enterprises, may need more.

So, if you find that your customer group is very diverse and can be divided into different segments, feel free to create more personas. Make sure each one is different, memorable, and easy to distinguish. If they feel too similar they probably should be fuzed into one. Just make sure they share common attributes that overlap each other.

If you end up with more than one persona, you should pick the most important one - an ideal user - and call it a primary persona. The rest should be called secondary (or, in special cases, complementary) personas. They are also important, but not as much as the primary one. It is especially helpful while prioritizing features and justifying the decisions.

You should limit yourself to a maximum of 3-4 personas that represent main user groups. The goal of personas is to focus on the most important audiences, not to meet the needs of everyone attempting to use your product. Remember, you cannot please everyone and if you try, you can end up with a “feature creep” - a too-complicated-to-use product. 

Part 2 is coming!

In the 2nd part of this article, I will focus on explaining how to create a good persona and what it should consist of. I’ll also add a few tips from my own personal experience of creating personas many times before. You will also be able to download our great template that will help you to create a user persona for your own project. Stay tuned - or sign up for our newsletter and we will let you know when 2nd part of this article is available!

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Agnieszka Körber
A passionate User Experience Designer and Cognitive Scientist. She's been easing interactions between humans and digital products for the last few years.

29 August 2019Comments are off for this post.

From Branding to UX & UI Design – Chop Chop case study

We want to show you how the design process of our app prototype - Chop Chop - looked! As there are a lot of misunderstandings and myths around design during the software development process, we want to explain how we came up with the idea of Chop Chop, and how our Design Team approached this project.

This will give you an insight into how our team works on any given project and how valuable all stages of the design are to make a successful digital product.

How it all started

As Chop Chop (you will learn how we came up with this name later on!) was our internal project, we had a Product Owner* on board. Our Partnership & Growth Manager Ashmeet was an initiator of the project and he took the role of Product Owner. He was responsible for the preliminary research that helped to give our idea a more coherent form. And what exactly was our idea?

Product Owner is a scrum development role for a person who represents the business or user community and is responsible for working with the user group to determine what features will be in the product release.

Our goal was to create a recipe app for Millennials and Generation X with easy-to-follow and personalized recipes. We know that recipe books are good, but they are not always accessible. We wanted to give recipe creators a modern platform to share their recipes with their followers.

Brand Design

To kick off the design process of our app, we started with a brand creation stage. Comprehensive, consistent and high-quality branding is crucial when it comes to the success of a digital project. As Will Rogers said, “you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” This rule works with apps and digital projects, as well as with people.

As you can see on the graph below, the average app loses 77% of its DAUs (daily active users) within the first 3 days after the install. Lousy branding and poor visual identification can play a big role in this negative process. If your app is visually unappealing or the stylescape of the app doesn’t fit the project, your users might be more inclined to uninstall your app.

Graph: Average Retention Curve for Android Apps

For our app’s branding, we started from the very beginning following the research we mentioned earlier, we knew what kind of project we wanted to build but we didn’t have a name for it! That’s when our Senior Graphic Designer and Branding Specialist Michał stepped in.

The first step for Michał was to meet with the Product Owner for an interview, during which he tried to gain as much information as possible about the project, its purpose, target group, business goals, etc. Ashmeet explained in detail the whole idea of the project, as well as the results of the research.

Name creation workshops

The next step for creating a brand identity was a brainstorming workshop to create a name for our app. A lot of the time, people choose the name for their project randomly, not paying enough attention to this important step. At Setapp, we understand the importance of a great name for a digital project. There are few elements that you always need to remember while creating a name for your app:

  • Try to create a brand name that connects with a product. Obviously, it’s not a must but a name that automatically connects with the app’s purpose makes it much easier to sell. Doesn’t Chop Chop immediately bring the vibe of a culinary experience?
  • Keep in mind the language of your users. If you’re creating an app solely for Chinese market, consult a native Chinese speaker whether the name sounds right. It’s best to come up with a name that sounds right to anyone, no matter age or native language. That’s what Chop Chop does. No matter if you’re young or old, your native language is English or Japanese, Chop Chop immediately makes you think about cutting and cooking something delicious. Perfect for a cooking app!
  • Make it easy to remember. A perfect name stays in your mind after hearing it just once. That’s why the name should be short and easy to pronounce.
  • Originality is a must. The branding specialist who carries out the brainstorming workshops has to make sure that the name you decide on is new and original. You don’t want your project to be mistaken with any other and if your brand name is not original enough, you could find yourself having difficulties with various registrations and even possible litigation from existing brands.

With all those rules in mind, our Branding Specialist Michał carried out a brainstorming workshop for our project. He invited several people, based not only on their creative skills, but also on their proximity to the target group. Our branding workshops consist mainly of team based tasks but there is also some individual effort. By the end of the day, all the members of the group had decided that Chop Chop was clearly the best name that meets all the requirements of our project.

As the name was now ready, Michał was able to start working on the logo and the visual identification of the project. It is important to note that the results of his work had a huge impact on UI (User Interface) creation that happened later.

Chop Chop’s logo, in a similar manner to the name, immediately sends a message out about the scope of the project. The invisible knife works great with the name Chop Chop and it’s also very flexible when it comes to animated visuals.

Chop Chop - cooking app logo

With the whole branding ready, our UX Designer Agnieszka was able to step up and work on the User Experience of our project.

User Experience Design

After the successful brand creation process, it was time to build the User Experience (UX) for Chop Chop. Our UX Designer Agnieszka started her work by conducting an in-depth analysis of the project, its target personas, business goals and the competition analysis. Some of those things were done by the Product Owner at the beginning of the whole process but it was necessary to make significant refinements and in-depth analysis solely for the purpose of UX Design.

To prepare a high quality User Experience, it was essential to clearly define target personas of the project, its business goal and its value for the final consumer. It was also very important to go through the benchmarking process and analysis of the competition.

Another crucial part of the whole process were the interviews with a carefully selected group that resembled the target personas decided earlier on. We try to not work on assumptions - it’s important to do things based on facts, data and the results of analysis, rather than our gut feelings. Key insights from the interviews were:

  • Users usually use Google search to find recipes. Therefore, a search feature within the app is a must-have.
  • Some of them use tags (e.g. ‘vegetarian’ or a certain ingredient e.g. ‘tomato’) on websites to filter the recipes. Hence, filters are a must-have.
  • All users pay a lot of attention to images, they click on the recipes which present photos of ‘mouthwatering meals.’ Therefore, high-quality pictures would be a welcome addition.
  • Users look for recipes on the Internet when they want to be inspired, want to prepare something delicious for guests or they have some ingredients which they want to use to prepare a meal.
  • As users want to be inspired, a recommendation section would be highly appreciated.
  • One user said that he makes multiple portions of the meal (not to waste opened ingredient packs). This means we should add some kind of calculator.
  • Users usually cook using written recipes.
  • Users often browse the comment sections to see other people’s opinions and genuine pictures of the food they made. Hence, we should provide users the possibility to add comments and to rate the recipes.

UX Interviews gave us a lot of very important feedback. It was crucial to understand the problems that amateur cooks have, their action flow while cooking and what they’re looking for in a cooking app. We got a lot of feedback that truly changed our perspective and had an impact on the scope of our project.

For example, one of our interviewees said that one of her worst cooking experiences was making a crème brûlée. She had all the ingredients ready and started cooking but when she was almost done, she realized that she didn’t have a blowtorch to finish off the dessert. She was mad that her cookbook didn’t clearly state the unusual equipment required at the beginning of the recipe. That’s why, that apart from the ingredient list, we decided every recipe in Chop Chop will also have an equipment list clearly visible.

User stories and User Flow

After finishing up the interview process, our UX Designer Agnieszka was ready to create user stories. Not going into details, User Stories for UX Designers are short sentences that look like this: “As a user I want to … [basic user goal].” Based on those stories, designers get to know exactly what the potential users of your app want to accomplish. As you might guess, every project has multiple user stories.

Once Agnieszka was done with gathering all the User Stories, it was time to create a User Flow. It is an essential part of a UX Designer’s work. It covers all of the actions that might be done by the user throughout the app and it connects them all in a logical manner. A UX Designer’s job is to make the User Flow as intuitive as possible, while covering all of the possible ways to interact with the app.

Chop Chop - cooking app user flow

Agnieszka always kept in mind the creativity of the users and their tendency to choose the most unpredictable ways of using the app. A digital product needs to be ready even for the most demanding clients.

It is also crucial to make the app responsive in all scenarios, even when things go wrong. A lot can happen with the device that can have an impact on how your product works. Your app needs to be ready for every scenario. If it crashes (every app crashes from time to time), you want it to go back to the last page opened when you open it again. That’s why a UX Designer’s job is so important - it outlines how the app works and interacts, once the development work is done.

Chop Chop - cooking app UX wireframes

When Agnieszka finished with her UX work, she passed the torch to Paweł - our User Interface (UI) Designer. But it was not the end of her work. She kept consulting Pawel all the way to the finish line to make sure that the UI reflects the needs of the prepared UX. That’s why it’s so important to have a team that works well together - just like ours!

User Interface Design

User Interface design was the last part of our design process with Chop Chop. Paweł, our UI Designer, worked closely with Michał who prepared branding of the product, and Agnieszka, UX Designer, who made an extensive User Flow. We had to align all of those elements to make sure that the results of our work are satisfying to all sides of the project.

While a black design of Chop Chop is in line with the current design trends (dark mode), the trends were not the only thing that guided Paweł. He purposely used black theme to make the pictures of food stand out and look as juicy as possible!

As you may have noticed - Chop Chop has an exceptionally big pictures for a mobile app. Again, it was a deliberate move by Paweł to make every recipe to look as attractive as possible.

Chop Chop - cooking app design

Fun fact: our UI Designer Paweł is also a professional cook! He knows best how to make a delicious looking food - it clearly shows in Chop Chop!

User Interface of Chop Chop is also controllable by voice commands. Isn’t it annoying when you need to clean your hands and stop what you’re doing, just to check the next step of the recipe? That’s when voice commands come real handy!

But for those who actually like to click through their app while they're cooking - Chop Chop’s UI consists of large buttons and clickable elements so it’s easy to click on the right thing, even if your hands are dirty.

You can check the results of Paweł’s UI work in the video below. Chop Chop got a modern, stylish look that doesn’t steal the attention from what matters the most in cooking apps - the pictures of food and recipes! Don’t you all love it?

Summary

Chop Chop gives you a proper idea of how design process looks like at Setapp. We have incredible, experienced specialists on board who take any project through the design process to deliver amazing results.

What is crucial to point out is that while every member of the Design Team has his or her own area of expertise, it also takes a lot of teamwork to deliver great designs. All stages of the project must be aligned with each other to create a coherent and high-value design experience!

Impressed by our Design Team's work?

Take a look at our team's portfolios and feel free to contact them! They'd be more than happy to talk about the design process at Setapp.

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Start with Design Sprint and create your digital project with us!

18 March 2019Comments are off for this post.

How bad UX can kill your educational app. What you can do to avoid it?

UX, UX and UX. If you’re in the business of creating digital products then you probably stumble upon this term at least once a day. Yes, it’s a staple when building high-quality user-centric products (not just digital). We all know that.

  • But what could go wrong if you screw up UX whilst developing an educational product?
  • What can you do to improve the User Experience of your Edtech app?
  • And how important is the User Experience in Edtech?

What could go wrong if you screw up UX?

Let me be upfront with you. It may well kill your app. You see, unlike in Fintech and other industries, in Edtech $$$ isn’t the most critical metric for success. It won’t win you over investors by itself, and for sure it won’t bring any value to your users.

The key to success in Edtech is the ‘pedagogy’ of your product. How engaging it is and whether kids and teachers are still using it one year down the line?

Basically, before you even implement ‘tech’ in education you need to ask yourself one simple question.

Will it bring any additional value to your users?

If your users can solve a problem with pen & paper then is it really necessary to build an app for it? Will it give something additional to the users?

Btw, with Design Sprint you can create an interactive, hi-fidelity prototype of a product tested on real users.

Real cases of failed UX

Saila Juuti, head of UX at Kokoa Standard has vast experience working on UX projects with clients from around the world. Kokoa provides world-renowned certification for Edtech companies around the world. Get yours here

Kokoa Standard

Kokoa Standard's Marika Kukkasniemi testing Ovobots robot for certification

 

Over the years she has come across many examples of lacklustre UX. Let’s look at some of them:

1. The system doesn’t save the teacher’s time - lack of automation

One Edtech trend is open platforms, where the teacher can create assignments for their students - such as open-ended tasks, multiple choice tests and so on. The purpose of these tests is to automate some of the teacher’s work.

A common error in these kinds of systems is the lack of feedback for students. The teacher may be able to set which of the three answer options is correct, and the software can easily create grades based on that, but there are no fields for explaining why one answer is correct and another is not. In the worst case, the system doesn’t even say which of the answers was correct.

A system which only provides points still requires the teacher to go through the questions with all the students - a time which they could use to give more personal support to those students, who actually need it more.

2. The system doesn’t scale to all of its target users

Edtech products often try to cater to a large target group. What works for a 10-year-old doesn’t necessarily work for 14-year-olds. The graphical representation, language used, complexity and so on should be optimized for the most reasonable target group. It’s quite rare that the same system will work for 6-12-year-old kids.

3. Failing is not fun - feedback is key

In systems which provide challenges or problems to solve, failing a challenge should be a point of learning. When a student fails, the system should provide helps to move forward and create positive excitement for trying again. This requires that the challenge level is optimal for the student and the feedback is helpful. In case it’s not, the previously mentioned scaling problem may exist as well.

What can you do to improve the User Experience of your Edtech app?

I asked again Saila from Kokoa and Paulina Tervo from Lyfta about some practical tips on streamlining UX in Edtech.

First up Saila. Below she shares her three tips for good UX in Edtech:

1. Tell your user clearly, which problem they are solving

The best motivation to use an app for learning is if you know what you are gaining from using it. For Edtech creators, this means keeping the learning goals clear. The teachers may want to know, how the content of your solution is linking different curriculum goals, but also the learners will be more motivated if they are provided clear descriptions of what they are about to learn.

2. Design for the classroom, not just for individuals

If your target group is schools, remember that the learning environment probably involves 20 kids all trying your solution at the same time. Make the launching process as quick and easy as possible, keep the navigation path simple and support searches and prompting of the content that the user has recently viewed. Designs relying heavily on sound may also be cumbersome in a classroom.

3. The details matter

Many school solutions fall into the category of “just good enough” UX. What sets the really good solutions apart from the rest is the amount of polish and effort put to finalizing the app. Consistent aesthetics, well written and informatic system messages, smooth transitions and non-intrusive help will make the user feel good about using your solutions. Game developers need to keep the users immersed in the world they have created, so take a look at how this final level of polish is done by them.

Over to Paulina now...

Paulina Tervo is the Co-CEO and Product Director at the award-winning company Lyfta. They help teachers tackle complex topics and measure attitude change in the classroom through stunning premium quality films, VR and AR technology and pedagogy based on Finland's new Phenomenon-based learning curriculum.

lyfta app

Storytelling is key to Lyfta's success.

 

Paulina told me the key to their success is down to three key factors:

  1. Storytelling - Lyfta’s founders have a background in filmmaking and that’s what helps them to connect emotionally with their customers. It also helps them to tell the story of their product better to their customers.
  2. Gamification & Exploration - Their app is playful and filled with real-life experiences at the same time. Children can explore and interact with different places around the world, interact with different objects, take a peek into people’s home, etc. The real-life content is presented in a playful and explorative way, which makes them quite unique in the Edtech world.
  3. Co-creation with teachers - Another important reason why Lyfta has nailed UX is by involving teachers in the product development process. This helps them understand what needs the teachers have, what technology they are currently using and whether they have any experience in using digital products. On top of that, every teacher is given onboarding on how to use their product.

And now to the final question.

How important is User Experience when creating Educational products?

You should already know that by now. UX plays a critical role when creating educational products. Learner's goal's and how easy the technology is for the teachers to implement are two critical factors for an Edtech product to succeed. Get those two right from the beginning and you'll have a product which is scalable and loveable. On the other hand, if you're off the track from the beginning, chances are your product will struggle with user engagement and retention in the long run.

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OUR OFFICES

PL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICE

Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

 COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.
VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICES

POL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.
VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICES

PL: Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

ISR: 220 Hertzel Street, 7630003 Israel

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

OUR OFFICE

Wojskowa 6, 60-792 Poznań, Poland
+48 506 798 998
office@setapp.pl

COMPANY DATA

Setapp Sp. z o.o.

VAT ID: PL7781465185
REGON: 301183743
KRS: 0000334616

PRIVACY POLICY

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