User Experience Design in Edtech

As you read this article, what you see right now can be considered the front end. A website’s front-end is what you interact with when you use a website or an app. To appreciate the front-end construction, two key elements should be focused on — “Look” and “Feel.” You can think of these two elements in simple terms. Every front-end has a look (or the visual design aspect) and a feel (which is the user interface). A good user interface should make any user’s interaction with the app or website enjoyable, seamless and smooth. Front-end developers use web languages such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to create these.

What do front-end designers consider in front-end development?

Have you ever been on a website or an app and just fallen in love with how you easily interacted with the interface? Edward R. Shneiderman has summarized the factors that create such an incredible experience. Edward conducted thorough research into human-computer interaction and came up with eight points. Let us delve into these eight points, shall we?

Consistency

First, we have consistency. Imagine seeing Chalkboard Education’s logo in different colors on the website, we see varying fonts, and the shapes within it always differ. More often than not, you will be confused and wonder if it is the same company that is handling the website. Consistency is crucial because it breeds familiarity. This familiarity makes it easier for users to navigate and achieve what they came to do on the website or app.

Chalkboard Education uses consistent logos no matter where it is placed on the website

Shortcuts

Next is creating shortcuts. Who does not love to use Ctrl + C to copy or Ctrl + Z to undo an action? Shortcuts cut down the time we spend doing things and simplify navigation. Similarly, front-end designers think of ways to access parts of an app or website through shortcuts easily.

These commands help you to copy or paste. The ones in the first rows work for non iOS and the ones in the bottom rows work for iOS

Error Code in Human Language and Good Dialogue

Thirdly, websites and apps should be able to offer you feedback in simple language. You have probably seen an Error 404 message before (If you haven’t, lucky you!). Instead of this message, a good front-end developer can give a message such as, “Oops! It seems like the page you’re looking for is not here! Want to try out this page instead?” These messages apply to error codes and all information that must be relayed to users as they navigate the site. Still, regarding feedback, an excellent user interface will have dialogue so that the users know what their actions result in. For example, if I hover over an icon, a popup box can tell me what clicking on that icon will do.

Error code with Good Dialogue assists users to understand when something does not work

Reverse Actions

Now, if, while writing this article, I want to undo what I just wrote, I can click Ctrl + z. In the same way, there should be an easy reversal of actions a user performs. Apart from making the user experience more straightforward, it also reduces the anxiety of not being able to undo actions and makes the user more explorative during their time on the site since they know they can go back.

These two icons allow users to either undo or skip actions

Front-end design and Edtech

With all these considerations as a backdrop, one may ask, are there any specific front-end considerations regarding front-end design? Yes, there are, and we will break three of these down.

Gamification

One of the pluses of Edtech is that learning is made fun! One way Edtech developers include this is through gamification. This is incorporating gaming mechanisms into non-gaming environments, increasing user engagement. With some of these games, points can be earned, making students eager to play the games to accumulate points or prizes to be won. This also makes learning more fun and urges children to want to know. As a user interface (UI) designer within the Edtech space, this is an important feature to incorporate to change the “serious” topics being taught into playful yet educative ones.

The characteristics developers include when adding gamification

Community

When using a site or an app, it is a nice feeling to know that you are not alone, and that is where a front-end designer steps in to create a community. This not only helps to push the service because there is strength in numbers, but it also helps to get repeated users keen on interacting with the community. These can be simple. Have you ever seen a social button when using a site or app? This sharing feature is one way of inviting your community on other social media platforms to join you in using this service. Another way is to have an in-site community, where people can interact through channels, messages, and groups on specific topics. This helps users network, share ideas and resolve any issues or worries they might have using the service. In Edtech, this is crucial because students and teachers will be consuming the teaching material. The ability to interact with others regarding this and learn from others helps give new perspectives to their teaching and learning styles.

An example of a website inviting others to join others in forming a community on the site.

Intuitiveness

This means creating designs that are easy to use. The user sees the design and unconsciously says, “Ouu, I know how to use this!” This intuitiveness comes from familiarity when a user can draw on their past experience of using a similar interface to help them use this new interface. This is extremely important in Edtech because you want users to seamlessly use the software and achieve the educational goal for which it is being used. So, questions a front-end developer will ask before the development include, “Who will be using this service, and what is their previous experience with similar services?”

Chalkboard Education employs intuitive navigation by including a pop-up message beside the chat icon, to help users navigate the site

The Takeaway

Front-end design is significant, especially from a user’s perspective. The best front-end design is when you do not notice it because of how seamless and easy to use. To achieve this, front-end developers can follow Shneiderman’s eight principles, which holistically cover the design considerations. Edtech designers need to consider gamification, community, and intuitiveness to ensure engagement is up and users repeatedly come.

About Chalkboard Education

Chalkboard Education provides a mobile-based, offline-first Learning Management System tailored for underserved communities training. Lightweight, inclusive, and complete with full analytics capabilities, Chalkboard Education helps you reach your beneficiaries everywhere in the World, seamlessly. Currently used in 12+ countries in Africa, South and North America, Chalkboard Education is available worldwide.

Watch How Chalkboard Education Works

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