- Define the core user needs based on research findings.
- Apply the information hierarchy and use patterns on the site structure.
Mar 2016 – Jun 2016 (10 weeks)
• It does not provide meaningful academic feedback or other resources to improve students’ academic performance.
• The navigation system makes it difficult for students to efficiently locate the files that they look for.
To get a clear view on how the Canvas system works internally and externally along with other social and online learning media. I created the system map of Canvas with three main functions and activities related to course content, assignment and communication.
According to the survey data, most UW students prefer to access LMS on laptop than on tablet. Overall, laptop is considered as the most important medium for the academic success.
Students are generally satisfied with the management system of course content and assignment submission. However, receiving meaningful feedbacks on assignments, conducting meaningful interactions with instructors and peer students, and broader information access are those aspects that receive low satisfaction according to survey data
I conducted semi-structured interviews on five UW students and summarized the top findings from the interview data. I created two personas representing the two groups of undergrad students and graduate students, and summarized their needs and frustration with current Canvas system. The findings led me to focus on the improvement of interface navigation, academic communication and academic feedback for further research and ideation.
The study on the popular learning manage systems in the market helped identify the weakness and strength of Canvas system with other competitors. I compared them in aspects of customization, navigation, social interaction and social and academic resources.
The ideation process was conducted from macro to micro scale. I started with creating user cases with thumbnail and selected most valuable ones. Based on those use cases, I created UI sketches to demonstrate the basic structures and functions of the new design frame.
The site map has refined and simplified based on the current structure. The main focus area of the redesign is dashboard and course page, because they provide most functions of academic improvement and communication.
The core design values are:
The key findings from user testing on InVision are:
By analyzing the styles of the interfaces of current popular social media, I created style matrix and style guide to identify the appearance of the final interface design.
The traditional navigation requires students to search through pages in order to target any item. Also, the course home pages are made based on instructor’s preference so the content vary in different courses, which increases the challenge for students in searching items. Single-page dashboard provides clear and standardized overview of all course content. As the primary users, students can also customize the module layout and content based on their preference.
In terms of academic feedback such as grades and rubric, the current text-based system does not provide a clear and intuitive design solution. Visual statistics and icons will be added in the new design to enhance the readability and intuitiveness of the academic information.
The existing color pattern of canvas appears as unattractive to the target users of 18 to 35 years old. Based on the analysis of the color codes of the trending social website, their color patterns are primarily made of low saturation and balance of cool and warm tones to achieve visually diversity and harmony.
The final user interface is designed based on the feedback from the wireframe evaluation and the style analysis. Since the system is designed for students and faculty from University of Washington, the overall color code is light purple, which reflects the university identity.
Home Page: The home page is designed in modular layout for easy navigation of information. Student users will have a clear overview of their academic information on this page. According to user testing findings, the most frequently accessed information such as announcement and to do list, is placed on left side for visual emphasis.
Course Home Page: The home page is also designed in modular layout for easy navigation of information. According to user testing findings, the positions of the same categories remain the same as those in the home page so users don’t need to adapt to another different information layout. Announcement and to do list remain on the left side, discussion and academic report/ grades remain on the right bottom.
Academic Summary Page: The academic summary provides statistic report of student’s academic performance. On this page, students can get better understanding of their performance by referring to instructors’ feedback. They can also take use of university academic help service to improve their academic performance.
Assignment Page: The assignment page not only shows assignment description and rubric, but also allows students and instructors to discuss and comment on. This new functions will help improve meaningful academic communication among students and instructors on the Canvas system.