MyDesign Education Platform
A Professor on campus had done 10 years of research to develop a project-based learning framework
I helped his team by designing wireframes for an online learning management system around this framework
I met Dr. Leigh Abts in the summer of 2016, and was brought on board to help redesign the user experience for a web application, MyDesign, that applied his research group's project-based education framework. This framework was designed to help high schools run AP engineering classes by breaking up a project into four stages, and each stage into 3 elements. These are designed to be completed linearly to lead a student through the engineering design process, with room for iteration and improvement where necessary.
This new company, funded through a National Science Foundation grant, had an idea of what they wanted to build, and were beginning to develop an early prototype of their web app. Initially, I began suggesting small changes to the interface on a page level, but after learning more about their work and their goals, I realized much larger changes needed to be made.
There was no clear direction for the application. Was it to be a tool used to organize documentation, or was it supposed to lead the class through the design thinking process? What were the needs of the people they were designing this for? I began asking questions, and realized that many did not have clear answers. So it was time to dig deeper.
I got in touch with as many people on the research team as possible - after all, there was a lot of time and effort that went into developing their framework. I also submitted questions to be asked at their demo sessions, in which they would present the current version of the app for feedback from students and teachers. Eventually, I had my wireframes put in front of these potential users for feedback as well.
With the information I gathered, I started from scratch, and re-thought how an online application could implement this framework.
I then began drawing up wireframes in Sketch and presenting them weekly to my supervisor, and often sending them to the rest of the research team for feedback. Week by week, the fidelity grew from big-picture to granular, and along the way many features were added, modified, or deleted as the goal came into focus: Their aim was to become a niche style of learning management system specifically for project-based classrooms.