YouTube Learn: A Proposal in Strategic UX Design


Project 4 was an exciting challenge. Our team of three UX designers were tasked to explore a problem/area of opportunity for an existing brand so that we can work with technical constraints. Our teammates had diverse interests in gaming, media, and education. Never-the-less, we all agreed to look at YouTube. With over 300 videos uploaded a minute, YouTube has something for everyone, surprisingly in the higher education sector.

The platform engages users with videos from content creators. Therefore the opportunity identified was to create a learning platform that goes beyond simply presenting content by way of videos/tutorials, and bring users to its site by offering structured and transparent learning content.

Our solution: To create YouTube Learn; a learning platform that aggregates all of YouTube’s educational videos in one place by using the massive open online course (MOOC) model. This external platform will exist as one of YouTube’s properties just like its gaming channel.

Our roles:

Each team member shared tasks in user research, ideation, wireframes, visual design and task delegation as well as working independently on a few responsibilities

Team members:
- James Calle
- Shelda Eason
- Alexa Szal

Team YouTube Learn: From left, Shelda Eason, Alexa Szal, James Calle

Project Deliverables:

- User Research (surveys, interviews and contextual inquiries)
- Synthesizing data
- Competitive/comparative analysis
- Usability testing
- Low/hi fidelity mock ups
- Userflow
- Wireframes
- Interactive prototype

Survey findings:

Out of 44 responses, we were able to get key information concerning online learning habits:

40% of our respondents sought information online 10+ times per week

Most important factors in online learning were ease of access, legitimacy

of information, and price

92% of our respondents uses YouTube as a source

Most respondents use YouTube to seek out subject-based learning

User interview
Contextual inquiry

Quotes from respondents:

“ is direct — it has structure. YouTube videos sometimes have nothing to do with the subject. ” — L.

“The volume of results that show up. [The search results] are kind of a blessing and a curse. It’s tedious scanning and reading and finding exact info you want.” — S.

“Legitimacy of courses is based on people’s reviews, if the person sounds and looks like she knows what she is talking about. Programs like Coursera already have credibility.” — A.

Synthesizing our data:

Our team went to work making sense of the data gathered by surveys and and user findings. We categorized responses via topics:

Search methods

Learning behavior

Paid vs. free




Search methods category
Reviewing learning behaviors
Discussing our findings

Comparable Analysis:

The landscape of online learning is shared by notable sites such as, Coursera, edX, Udemy, etc. Heuristics played a role in determining how YouTube stacked up against these sites specifically for online learning.

Comparing YouTube to, Coursera, Udemy and edX
Competitive findings
Competitive findings

Key takeaways:

Our findings showed that although most users were familiar with YouTube, they would rather go to sites such as our Coursera for a more formal learning experience. This was due to a lack of organization on YouTube’s platform as well as the credibility of content creators since anyone can post a video on the channel.


Our three main user personalities were based on user responses which gave empathy to their experience.

Feature Prioritization:

Information from interviews, competitive/comparative analysis, surveys, and developed personas allowed us to prioritize usable features for YouTube Learn.

Identified which features were best

We were then able to identify the Most Viable Product (MVP) for our design:


Progress tracking section

Filtering categories

Comments sections

Playlist queue

Userflow and Designs:

The user flow displays the course of action the user’s journey will take on YouTube Learn which also provide a design for wireframes.

Design Studio
Lo-fi Wireframes

The usability tests revealed several problems with our design. Some were:

Users wanted to know the difference between how credible the video content was on YouTube Learn. They felt that it was still difficult to discern its credibility.

Playlist and videos were confusing.

Comments in Community section was confusing — not sure if it was for the video playlist or the selected video.

Progress Tracker was not clear. Users preferred to have a description for videos viewed and which videos they should consider.

Second iteration:

Hi-fi Wireframes with annotations

Interactive prototype Demo:

Project 4 insights:

Usability testing is a key component in design and testing. Being that people have different learning behaviors, we found that our users had different concepts on the best visuals for a platform with so much content.

Similarities in our team’s characteristics was both a blessing and curse. We found that because we have compliant personalties, we lacked leadership in areas where we needed to make immediate decisions. However, we were able to hurdle through and learn to make the best decision for our prototype by deadline.

Have fun with the project. This is a safe environment to make mistakes and learn from them.

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