Skillshare is an online learning community where anyone can discover, take, or even teach a class. During COVID, Skillshare has seen a dramatic increase in visits to their website. People seem to be loving the idea of learning new skills as they spend more time at home. Which is why the following concept project was created:
Our brief involved creating ‘paths’ for people who wanted to get serious about a particular subject or craft but did not know where to start, potential features to include:
- View paths and help around choosing the right level
- Book a 1–2–1 with the teacher
- See their progress and what comes next
- Choose amount of time to dedicate to a lesson
- Using gamification to keep user engaged
Working as a team, tasks were equally distributed, and we all participated in each process, and the role of the facilitator was rotated every three days. I was solely responsible for:
- Statistical analysis of e-learning
- Preparing the user interview script and conducting many of the interviews
- Facilitating the development of sketches, running the design studio as well as overcoming challenges in finding the user flow
- Being a “cheerleader” throughout the project to keep up morale
We found interesting statistics about e-learning and discovered a gap in the market: younger generations are mobile/small screen orientated, yet there is a lack of suitable learning apps in the market on these platforms.
We undertook a feature analysis of e-learning websites finding opportunities in the market as well as what should be expected of Skillshare:
Pluses and Deltas
Pluses and Deltas is common research tool, and this led to 3 main insights:
- Less is more in regards to how much you show on home page
- Organisation of the navigation needs to be clear and only a few options
- Have quick overview captions of course/video so easy to have a quick understanding
However, I found these insights to be self-evident and is subjective to personal taste of the researcher.
With the objective to collect quantitative data on e-learning platform users and screen for possible interviewees our screener/survey had 24 responses (83% being 18–35 years). We found the following key trends:
We conducted 9 user interviews to understand users’ e-learning habits, pain points and preferences. We affinity mapped each insight into various categories:
The Main Insights:
- People find it difficult on keep motivated and finish the course
- People want clear structure, engaging content.
- · Feeling unsure about quality of teaching and course before registering
- People are willing to pay for a course if it will further their career
- Would like to be able to interact with mentor/teacher
In relation towards our usability testing of the current app with the user in mind, we created a user journey which identifies the users main pain points and gave us another indication of how we might improve the users journey.
Pain points found:
- Feeling overwhelmed by too many options with no clear path
- Losing motivation and unable to finish the class
Our research enabled us to define the users’ specific needs in relation to the brief, as a result of which our persona James Bean was created:
James personifies the overall users wants of finding the right course to progress their careers and helped define the following problem statement:
Referring to our brief and empathising with James’ needs, we developed the following how might we statements:
With all these how might we statements; we ran a design studio to start generating ideas about some possible paths that James could follow.
This generated 40 sketches leading to an overwhelming amount of pathway ideas. This was a good learning experience as we realised that there were numerous possibilities. As a result, to explore each team members opinions of pathways, I suggested that we take our time to explore a pathway we each want to investigate and present to each other. This was a very useful exercise as each of us came up with ideas that the others had not thought of:
We each presented our ideas and using the design studio practice of voting on the sketches, features, or design aspects we thought would most fulfil James’ wants and needs.
This led to 2 user flows each having the same starting and end point but exploring a different flow in the middle.
To test the optimal user journey, we conducted usability tests on the 2 options, which resulted in interesting insights and a final user flow of sketches.
Which was tested and the insights were used to develop the mid-fidelity wireframes and generate the following user flow and site map:
Development of Sketches to Wireframes
The following are 2 examples of ideation and development of a single page showing the process we undertook; each page having undergone 6 usability tests at each stage to ensure functionality.
As we are conducting many usability tests, we gathered an immense amount of insights, which was very overwhelming but as you can see from the following zoom screenshot it did not bring down our spirts.
These are examples of quotes following our usability tests which helped improve development of our wireframes:
Finally, we design the “Career Path PRO” and to differentiate this the basic Skillshare, we decided we need to change accent colour. We went through various colour contrasts and settled on a vibrant red/pink as it is as vivid as the Skillshare green.
Following the whole UX design process (double diamond) each design decision is fully backed by research and usability testing throughout design development and we presented the following prototype to our cohort.
- Question the accessibility of the colour choice.
- Further testing to make the design responsive from small screen to large.
- To explore the idea of visualising the user’s progression.
- To really focus on user engagement, possibly using gamification for users to achieve awards or actual games to further the education of the subject in a fun interactive way.
Key Learnings and Takeaways
- Pulses and deltas seem subjective to the researcher’s personal taste, meaning that I would not regard it as a reliable research tool in the future.
- Need to focus on only specific “how might we statements” as one might become overwhelmed with ideas.
- I learnt a lot about myself and working as team to overcome challenges which I believe I managed well in a leadership role during the process.
- Listening to one another’s opinions enabled the team to achieve a well thought out product that meets the users needs.
Our brief was to create a pathway to get serious about a particular subject in an e-learning environment. Through intense research and ideation, we developed a pathway for users to pursue new or further their career from beginner to advanced. Even though we faced challenges and at times felt overwhelmed with all the possible pathways, this resulted in great teamwork and became an opportunity for me to develop leadership skills. I feel we achieved an exciting solution for our user.