Making Educational Platform: First Design, Landing Page and Logo

We continue the series of articles about how to build a startup — we describe each step of our way.

So we have an idea — an educational platform containing applications and games, we have a team and a theoretical business model. We use Lean Startup approach and tips of our mentors.

What is Learzing? Briefly, you use educational applications and games for different subjects, and your experience in each subject grows. It’s similar to the attributes in role-playing games — strength, agility, mana, etc. But instead of those attributes you have real subjects of knowledge — English, mathematics, history, etc. Level of your “hero” also grows. You can play with your friends — help each other or compete with each other.

Design

As soon as we got the idea we made the first scheme of user page:

The next step was to make a first design prototype:

User gets points for using applications and playing games, gets achievements and improves skills.

User can connect third-party accounts. For example, if he connects his Facebook account, we’ll be able to offer him to play with his Facebook friends. He invites friends to our platform, they can learn and play together. It is convenient for a user and it’s a good way for us to attract new users to the platform.

We like current trends in design of landing pages. We used vertical scrolling to show product features step by step and minimalism to focus on key elements.

The first and main block (not including the top panel) contains only 4 elements: a slogan (“Play to Learn”), a short phrase about the service, the intro video and the tryout button. We want to be minimalistic to focus on the key elements — the video and the button which invites you to try the service. The main task of the video is an attractive description of the service, igniting the desire to try the service and click on “Try Learzing FREE” button. This method worked for Dropbox.

In the second block we’re still minimalistic — we briefly highlight the main features: useful games (we emphasize that our games are not just for fun), made with the help of teachers (we emphasize professional approach), multiplayer (you can play and learn with your friends).

Next block contains testimonials of teachers (we emphasize professional approach again) and students (we prove the quality of service), the number of registered users (we show that the product is popular) and the tryout button for those who has read the whole page till the end.

Landing page

While we are working on the project, we can make a temporary landing page. This page may serve several purposes:

  • Presentation. First of all, this page represents our project in the Internet. We can start with a minimal content and add information gradually as our project grows.
  • Collecting emails. Even before the release of the product we can place a small web form through which a visitor can leave his email. Thus, on early stage, you can check whether audience is interested in your product or not. At the same time you get contacts of people who can help you to create a product. They might help you in testing first versions of the product and give feedback, they might suggest ideas, perhaps even become a member of a team? We should consider visitors as potential customers.
  • Keeping in touch with visitors. If a person has a big interest in your product, he might want to do more than just leaving his email, he might want to contact you. The reasons may be different — curiosity, help, cooperation, etc. We can place a simple contact form and we’ll get a connection with the audience.

Minimalistic landing page: the first block contains the name, the short description and the announcement. The key elements are the web form with only one field for entering email and the eye-catching button.

A simple contact form is below. Many companies place contact forms on a separate page or hide a contact form until a user clicks on a “Contact us” link. In our opinion, it’s better to place a contact form right on the landing page, user doesn’t have to make any additional actions to contact you.

Title and logo

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a simple and an attractive title, the majority of good titles are already taken. Times when you could name your company Apple are gone. So you have to play with words, inventing new words or combine them, and you have to check whether .com domain is available for those words. Famous examples of this approach are Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Flipboard, Snapchat etc. We can recommend a good service for domain validation — Domize — it instantly checks your name in different domain zones and offers variations of the name.

We had been going through a lot of words and their combinations (almost all of them were taken, even the most bizarre ones) and we had come to a short and interesting title. We combined two words and got a made up word: learning + zing = learzing. A «zing» word may mean energy, enthusiasm, or liveliness, so as the result we have “energetic and lively learning”. Plus we liked the idea that if we rotate N letter, we’ll get Z letter (LEARNING becomes LEARZING).

Then we came up with other ideas for the logo, we decided to look for a new symbol and to make a good typography. We decided that it would be good to have an easy recognizable character and a unique font set.

We took FF Karbid font from German designer Verena Gerlach (the history of this interesting font is told in an interview) as a basis. The letters were redrawn and refined:

Our platform will contain educational applications so we wanted to find symbols which are associated with education. It might be a Rubik’s Cube or a book.

We still haven’t found the symbol which satisfies us. So we use a minimalistic version for now — a capital L letter — and postponed the creation of symbol for the future.

What’s next?

So, we have the first design for several pages, the title, the logo and the landing page. The next important step is development of the first educational application. We’ll talk about it next time.

This article was originally posted on Learzing blog on August 7, 2014