Hello and welcome back to my mini-series: Mini-UX! Here, I utilize a methodical design process to tackle a different human problem in just 7 days. Today, I’ll be picking up where I left off, continuing my journey to design an experience that helps teachers match student’s faces to names. If you haven’t read Part 1, you can click right here.
Now that I’ve converged my insights into focused problem statements, it’s time to diverge once again and develop multiple design solutions. It is important to explore different answers to clearly defined problems because you never know which ones going to point you in the right direction.
There are multiple brainstorming activities you could use to come up with design ideas, but two of my favorite include Brainwriting and Sketching. Brainwriting involves writing down as many one-sentence concepts as possible within a specific time frame. For example, Instagram’s one-sentence concept would be “An app that allows you to share photos with your friends on the internet.”
Sketching simply involves sketching out potential ideas on a piece of paper, or potentially even digitally. You could do this in more organized workshops (such as 6–8–5 sketching) or simply draw out some potential screens for an application. I utilized a mixture of both activities to come up with three unique design solutions.
The first design solution was a mobile app that quizzes teachers on the students in their class. A teacher can upload their roster on to the application, and begin a multiple choice quiz where they either have to match the name of the student to the face, or vice versa.
The second design solution was a mobile app that uses your phone’s camera to identify a given student. By lifting your phone and focusing the camera on a specific student, the application would match the student to their roster picture and provide their name.
Shazam for Class
Similar to the second solution, the third design solution was a mobile app that identified students by their voice. A teacher would click on a button when a student is talking, and the app would listen to their voice and match it to the correct student.
After diverging and coming up with multiple design solutions, it was time to converge once again. Delivery involves testing out different solutions at a small-scale, rejecting those that will not work, and improving the ones that will. I conducted a series of concept testing with my in house educator (AKA my girlfriend) to get an overall impression of each concept and how it would work.
Here are some key insights, from the perspective of the user:
- “Having a ready-made quiz is super helpful because then I don’t have to do that myself”
- “Having name pronunciation would be extremely helpful for complicated names”
- “I feel like it would be too many steps to take a photo/scan the students face during class.”
- “Also a photo/scan is a bit too obvious. The kids will be able to tell that I don’t know their names.”
- “The app that listens to their voices would be less obvious, but how long would that take?”
- “In general, school policies typically don’t allow for phones to be used during class.”
- “A phone can ruin the flow of conversation of a lesson.”
The overarching takeaway from this series of insights was that it would probably be difficult and distracting to use a mobile phone in the classroom itself. This takeaway led to the decision to only move forward with the first design solution.
It’s interesting because this situation illustrates how the simplest solution is often the best. Facial and voice recognition are the two most complex technologies amongst these solutions, and yet they don’t fit well into the context of this problem. Automating the roster quizzing process isn’t only technologically simpler, but also the most useful. Also, if you look back at our user journey map, the first stage is the only one that shows emotional fulfillment, rather than just stagnation.
With all of this in mind, I went ahead and improved the teacher quizzing mobile application to create RosterQuiz:
- Teachers can upload multiple class rosters with student name pronunciations.
- They can quiz themselves on each class by matching the student’s name to their face, or vice versa.
This concludes my first mini-UX project! Feel free to comment or reach out with any questions about my methods, process, or the project overall.