The Challenge

Garth Pratt
Nov 1, 2017 · Unlisted

At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students.

Design an experience to help an educator match faces to names, with the goal of shortening the time needed to reach complete un-aided accuracy.

Challenge should be completed within 12–24 hours from beginning to end


My entire design process can be categorized into the following groups:


In order to figure out how to research and design an experience to help teachers quickly match names to faces, I took a step back and asked myself these questions:

1. Why do educators want to memorize students’ names?

2. Why are educators having difficulty memorizing students’ names?

3. What methods are teachers currently using?

4. How can design help solve the problem?

These questions were the backbone of my research and acted as guides to keep me focused on the user throughout the process.

RESEARCH: Interviews

Why memorize students’ names?

Why are educators having difficulty memorizing students’ names?

*according to interviews and peer-reviewed publications cited after presentation

What methods are teachers using?

RESEARCH: Existing related products

I asked teachers and searched for popular products online to get exposure to see what could contribute to a solution.

Notes I took gleaning important use cases for outcome

RESEARCH: Peer-reviewed

Important notes from peer-reviewed EBSCO databases:
(Citations in order of the list below following this presentation)

1. Mobile phone-assisted problem-solving significantly enhances memory retention

2. Average K-12 teacher teaches 5 classes and about 120 students per year

3. Educators that call students by name increase probability of students having
better test scores and overall success

4. Memory by association prolongs retention

5. Using different parts of your brain to memorize prolongs retention
(i.e, verbal, visual, rote, etc.)

6. Average K–12 class size is 24.3 students; higher education: 30 students

7. Older adults show an associative deficit in episodic memory compared
to younger adults

How can design help solve the problem through research?

RESEARCH: Assumptions

RESEARCH: Conclusion

I could have spent dozens of additional hours researching which could have affected the outcome of the product, but for the sake of time, I decided to move forward with what I’ve learned and define my successful end goal.


Build a mobile product where the user can easily customize word associations and then quiz themselves through kinesthetic, linguistic, visual, and auditory levels. The product will be able to connect to a school’s database and automatically import students names, genders, and photos according to the educator’s classes.

By using a gamified approach, users will not only find the product useful, but also delightful and entertaining.

The next section of my design process is the concept phase.


My favorite part of the design process is when research becomes tangible and can be validated by users.

This was my visual design process for this challenge:

CONCEPT: User flow

I threw together a user flow and had time to iterate after receiving feedback from my wife.

CONCEPT: Sketches

I sketched the layout according to my imagination and inspiration from other successful apps.

I then worked with a friend to make iterations.

CONCEPT: Wireframes

I spent an afternoon turning all my sketches into wireframes. Then I met with a teacher and together we made more iterations.

CONCEPT: Branding

I limited myself to only 30 minutes to build a simple styleguide.

I named the app NAME BRAIN for obvious reasons.

CONCEPT: Prototypes

Using Adobe XD and Sketch, I turned all of my annotated wireframes into prototypes.

CONCEPT: Visual process

CONCEPT: Sign in flow

CONCEPT: Setting up word association

CONCEPT: Quiz samples


I believe that this product will help educators better remember names and faces of their students in a way that is fast, engaging, and fun.

There are other ideas and improvements I’d like to integrate in the future.
I showed the final mock ups to the teachers I interviewed and I received great feedback.

If I had more time, I would build an interactive prototype and explore user testing.



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