Practicum is a tech-driven e-learning app that offers its users good quality and affordable courses taught from verified instructors and certified universities/schools to answer the users’ specific necessities. From coding courses to cooking courses, all kind of skills and practices are included within Practicum.
Let’s start from THE VERY BEGINNING
Last week I was asked to create a new e-learning app. It was a challenging project since the market is pretty competitive. Still, it was just an excellent opportunity to find a niche that is not already within the industry.
It was an individual project, and I had just one week of the timeline to do it, that is why all the design solutions you will find within this report are done in high-fidelity but only with one user-flow.
Benchmarking is key
The first stage of my project was the benchmarking; I found several apps on the market that offers e-learning courses:
…and some interesting 2021 e-learning trends and UX trends to have into consideration:
2021 E-learning Trends
Big Data in learning · Collaboration · Gamification · Microlearning · Adaptative learning · Video-based learning · Mobile flexible learning · Mobile-first learning · Social Learning
2021 UX Trends
Dark mode · Liquid swipe design · Facial recognition · Voice base searchers
This previous benchmarking helped me do more in-depth research through comparative research of which features they offer within their apps and which business models they are using to get revenue. Then I was able to identify the niche I could work on and create my business strategy.
And understand Anne, our potential user, is essential
For this project, I was already provided with our proto persona: Anne, our potential user. Here you have some more details about her:
Remember the following, pretty essential topics to understand the next decisions I will be making:
“Every time I look for a course, I feel overwhelmed. There are so many options, and I do not have time to spent choosing.”
“I need to find verified e-learning courses to show my new skills and use them in real projects.”
“Prices are just expensive when looking for excellent e-learning out there. I want to find a good deal. I can’t be bothered to deal with that.”
“I need to learn new skills to apply to a position in the Marketing Department in my company. I need to find verified courses that adapt to my tight schedule; I can’t be bothered to spend so much time looking for the right course.”
Now it’s time: THE RESEARCH
To follow with my research, I wanted to know a bit more how people are using e-learning apps and what for: which are their priorities, goals, and lacks, when looking to learn a new skill, course, or a specific topic.
For that, I did four interviews with participants that used e-learning apps before, and I received interesting answers about their practices. That helped me to gather some more in-depth information about what they lacked too. Here’s a highlight of some of the key points I extracted from the participants:
- Users like to have flexible learning at their own pace.
- Users would like to have more e-learning by doing experience rather than theory e-learning.
- Users want personalisation.
- Verification and authenticity are essential.
- Users are not bothered to pay good money for quality courses, but how to know if it is a good quality course?
- Users often feel overwhelmed by the number of courses offered.
- Affordable and worth course price.
Putting context to the problem
The e-learning industry has been increased exponentially in the last years, giving people a vast offer of courses to do and many different ways to learn, but there’s a lack of differentiation. Here is when Practicum comes into place.
And explaining the goal
To offer good quality e-learning education to people that want to improve specific skills. Through a flexible e-learning pace. And practical e-learning tasks to do. All with accredited universities/schools/instructors. An easy-to-use app not to overwhelm our users with a less is more courses’ selection, getting revenue through subscriptions, ads, and partnerships.
So which is my proposal?
To create a new tech-driven e-learning app that offers the users good quality and affordable courses taught from verified instructors and certified universities/schools that can answer the users’ specific needs.
but wait a minute…
What about the business plan for the revenue?
Previously in this article, I talked about how I researched how the competitors were getting revenue through their apps. That was essential to develop Practicum’s business plan and to find its way to earn income.
The main characteristics of our business plan are the following ones:
- Quality through paid content with two subscription options: basic or all-access.
- An option for the user to explore the app before deciding if to pay the subscription: 1-week free trial in the basic and all-access monthly subscription.
- In case the user prefers not to pay any subscription after the 1-week trial, the revenue will come through ads on the learning videos.
- Partnerships with software companies as we recommend the usage of some specific software and brands.
- Through the advertising of the Universities making the courses. Advertising and recognition for them through the app..
Branding Design and Color Palette
I chose a dark theme with the colour Nero for the project. The colour Nero symbolise neutrality and balance. Its colour meaning likely comes from being the shade between white and black. To prevent its absence of colour, making it dull, I used yellow and light grey for secondary colours.
After some CRITS (aka constructive ‘critiques sessions’) with some of my colleagues and their feedback, I started to design the prototype in hi-fi wireframes. Here I have some of the screens for you to have a look:
But how to make sure this is actually a user-friendly app? Usability Testings are the answer.
I did four usability tests, divided into two rounds, with all the participants having similar characteristics as our user. I had some interesting usability discoveries showing me I needed to improve the user-flow as was not clear enough and not user-friendly enough to reach my goal.
And finally, the baby is born!
So here it is! After all the previous work, here you have the final hi-fi prototype. Any feedback is more than welcome and super constructive.
You would be wondering though, which are the connections between the research and the design solutions?
- Flexible learning: microlearning and immersive learning.
- “E-learning by doing” experience: projects with every lesson.
- Verification and authenticity: teachers and instructors verified.
- What is an excellent course? Certification from best schools and universities.
- Overwhelming offer: smaller course offer with more added value courses.
Have a look also on the differences between iOS vs. Android
My user persona, Anne, was using iOS and this is the reason why the prototype has been designed just for iOS, but I would like to show you a couple of screen examples of how the app would look like with an Android mobile phone:
And last but not least: THE CONCLUSIONS
To design is challenging. Good design is challenging. But to design by itself is extremely gratifying when you see the result. And this is the greatest thing about our jobs. A conclusion of appreciation. In the process, I learn from mistakes and iterate and have errors again until one day; this mistake becomes learning and a start point of the path for the improvement.
What can I do better?
- How to implement usability testings.
- Time management.
- A better organisation with my Figma design process.
What did I learn?
- Get to know more about design.
- More clear mind.
- A better understanding of usability testings.
What would I do next?
- Fix animations that are not working.
- Add more details: discussions screen projects screen.
- Virtual Voice Assistant feature well implemented.
I hope you get to enjoy this project’s design report as I did with the whole process of creating it. And remember, less is always more if we know how to implement the concept. It is great to have you on the other side of the screen.
“Minimalism is a journey from the compulsion to consciousness, consumerism to common sense.”
― Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words.