Improving how people answer questions on Bestschooling.org — A Case Study

About Bestschooling.org

Best Schooling are a start-up based in London that aims to improve children education through shared experiences and factual answers by the online community.

Creating an answer on bestschooling.org

The Brief

To redesign the content creation interface to make it more user-friendly as many visitors are dropping off during the process of answering questions on the website. 
In its current state, the process forces content creators to answer questions in a ‘step by step’ flow with the need to justify each step they take.

My Role

User Experience Designer in a team of 3 (Michael Cawley, Daniel Kleimburg and myself)

How we did it

We adopted an agile UX process over the course of the two and a half week project. We started by identifying the problem and users behaviors, defining conceptual solutions and delivering a high-fidelity prototype that improves the content creation process on the website.

Research

Our initial research aim was to understand how the community on the website was being built. What foundations were they being built on? Because after all, a key cornerstone of the community — the content creator — was not engaging.

For the community to be successful, it needed to understand and respect the following three key pillars which were identified through our research: Motivation, Time and Trust. Using these three pillars we could not only ensure that the client had a clear awareness of the behavioural influences that would affect the way users would interact with this platform; but also use this insight to begin to understand and tackle the issue of the high drop-off rate when creating content.

Website Audit

We carried out numerous benchmarking tests of the current site — focusing on the task of creating an answer — and discovered that in its current form, the platform was not adhering to any of the three pillars needed to create an integrated and successful community. People were losing motivation due to the time it took to create an answer and, the terminology used — which was patronising and undermining — significantly affected the trust they had in the platform.

Quotes from people who used the website

User Needs

Our research identified that the three key user groups (personas) that this platform were targeting had very different pain points, needs and behavioural characteristics. This was a significant discovery from the point of view of the client who had assumed that everyone could be placed under the same umbrella. Needing to understand the user is fundamental in creating a successful user-centred experience; as obvious as that may sound.

The Teacher

Users like Jo were motivated to give back, were willing to give a certain amount of time to do that and wanted credibility from a website so they could trust it

The Parent

Users like Lisa wanted to ensure that their children had the best education. They wanted to find parents in similar positions to themselves for reassurance (wanting to know they were doing things well) and they have very little time due to life/work commitments

The Academic

Users like Marcel carefully selected where they gave lecture/promote their work, as they were conscious of their reputation. They only used platforms which didn’t require steep learning curves, often corrected misconceptions and made content accessible for a wider audience

Designing

Design Principles

Through extensive research we identified and addressed three key points which would increase both the content creation conversion rate as well as increase sign-up rates. These were:

  • To create a tone which is engaging to both content consumers and creators (e.g. terminology and tone of voice)
  • To create an intuitive system which allows users to complete their tasks easily without frustration, and in a timely fashion
  • To provide content creators with the freedom to create content as they wish, and easily incorporate external resources

Collaborative Design

We were able to organize a collaborative design workshop to brainstorm ideas for the new design of the content creation hub. In this workshop we had our clients, the developers and other people who were part of the target user groups of the platform. This type of method was extremely useful as it gave us the opportunity to demonstrate our insights and proposed ideas with the client through visual illustrations. It also allowed the clients to share their ideas with us, giving us get a better understanding of their business ideals for the project as a whole

Sketching

With a wealth of ideas from the collaborative design studio, we moved into the next phase of design. Through rapid paper prototyping we were able to quickly refine and iterate potential design concepts, finding out what worked and what didn’t, thus giving us a better idea of what the final design might eventually look like.

Instead of forcing users to create a step-by-step answer, why not give them the option whether to or instead stick to just one block? We also wanted to include an easy way to include images, videos and other links into the body of the content. This was represented by a small plus button which would hang just underneath the current sentence the user would be writing.

Questions Page
Answer page
Answer Page Interactions

User Testing and Iterations

Now working in Sketch and Marvel, we began creating low fidelity interactive prototypes. Like with the sketching phase, it was all about — testing, iterating and repeating.

The feedback from our prototypes was very encouraging. Our testers all felt that the user flow of creating content was intuitive, quick and easy. Our design was able to sustain their motivationto want to create content, making it time efficient for them and through that, we could gain their trust.

There were a few alterations to be made — such as removing the media functions from the plus button as it was misleading and confusing for many. Instead, testing highlighted that the button was perfectly served as a way of adding a new section — but nothing more.

Usability Testing
Version with button on left to input media
Version with button on right just to add a new section

Final High Fidelity Mockup

After several rounds of testing and iterating from paper to low fidelity wireframes, we were ready to create the final high fidelity prototype. In all, we had completed 4 rounds of testing.

Our final design stripped back the complexity of the current system, giving the user greater freedom to structure their answers as they wish using a tone that was less forceful and undermining.

We wanted to user to feel motivated to create an answer; be able to do it in a time efficient way; and put trust in the platform by means of a professional/approachable experience.

High-Fidelity Mock-up of the answer page

Our Potential Solution

  • Removes complex and confusing features to get users enthusiastic about wanting to create an answer and sustaining their motivation to do so.
  • Allows users to structure an answer in a more flexible way — either as one block or as separate sections — respecting the time constraints they may have to create content. Adding a ‘save for later’ feature also assisting users with regards to time limitations
  • Creates a friendly yet professional tone through considered terminology in order to encourage a feeling of inclusion for all user groups — teachers, parents and academics — to build trust amongst all within the community

To view the prototype, click here

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