Discovery Education

In 2013 Discovery Education bought Espresso Education to be their UK business. Shortly thereafter we undertook a project to use their platform to build a brand new digital learning resource for the UK secondary school market.

TOOLS USED

One-on-one and group interviews, focus groups, online surveys, online card sorting, sketching, user journeys, wireframes, low-fidelity prototypes, high-fidelity prototypes, user testing, Balsamiq Mockups, Axure, Agile.

 

The beginnings of our roles and goals matrix, showing different users, their unique goals, and the functionality we're creating to meet those goals.
User roles and goals matrix
Mapping three user journeys for a science teacher browsing for content. In this scenario, they may be looking for content that's organised into logical topics, or that's organised in the same way as the exam boards, or that transcends the boundaries between subjects.
User journey
Even the language of the homepage was subject to research; we sent out two variations of a survey that investigated what type of language would resonate with our users more, and communicate the product most effectively. A friendly, explanatory tone was received much better than the punchier, more formal language.
Online survey
A curriculum navigator on the subject homepages conveyed immediately the ability to use our service to find educational resources that were mapped to whichever exam board the teacher was using. We spent a lot of time testing the configuration of these, and the effectiveness of their labels.
Wireframe for subject page
Of course, we considered the user experience across a wide range of devices. We knew that secondary school pupils have increasing access to mobile devices, and that teachers often use them for planning.
Wireframe with annotations and mobile views
Part of a test script for one of our numerous user testing sessions, in which the biggest benefactor was the curriculum navigator. We ended up cutting down the number of ways of browsing from our original idea, as they were too numerous to be effective.
Usability testing script
The hierarchy of content on the subject homepages reflects the research into which content our users found most useful, and engaged with more. We also use the highlights section to introduce users to content they may not have otherwise found, and to tell them what’s new. 
Final subject page
The homepage makes it immediately apparent to the user which subjects are covered, and allows them to dive right into their subject of choice. In testing, this proved key in conveying to the users what the product is about, and whether it was right for them.
Wireframe for product homepage
The design of Discovery’s public pages made frequent use of wide hero images of inspirational landscapes and wildlife. We decided to see what it would be like to use a similar approach throughout the product, choosing images that conveyed a sense of exploration and learning.
FInal product homepage