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MyCourses is the lifeblood of course management for university students and professors. MyCourses is a discussion board, assignment dropbox, quiz center, and gradebook all-in-one. Currently bogged down with many unnecessary and unused functions, I aimed to improve the usability of the student-facing side of MyCourses by streamlining the platform’s many features and pulling forward the functions most utilized by students.

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Client
Class Project

Duration
10 Weeks, Fall 2015

Role
Research, UX, UI

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01 - Feature

Sidebar
Navigation

Improves usability by allowing users to access classes and other primary features at all points of the site. Users can easily view past classes by changing the semester number from the dropdown menu.

01 - Feature

Collapsible
Tasklist

Helps students to stay organized by providing a tasklist that can be expanded and viewed at any point in the site. Users can reorder tasks based on their personal priorities and can create their own tasks.

03 - Feature

Separates dropboxes into open and closed, pushing the most relevant dropboxes to the top of the page. Contains upload process to one page and gives user feedback with an uploading progress bar. Allows users to delete old files if they have since uploaded new versions or iterations of their assignments.

What are students' current feelings about MyCourses and how can I improve this vital tool?

To get a better understand of the student experience with myCourses beyond our personal experience with the application, the class and I individually surveyed students and aggregated our data. From this data, I was able to full out several key trends regarding accesibility and useful features that would later guide my redesign decisions.

1 in 4 students note Dropbox as the most important feature of MyCourses.

1 in 4 students note the gradebook as the most important feature of MyCourses.

75% cite their own disorganization or procrastinate for missed assignment deadlines, not MyCourses.

Information Architecture

Happy Homework
 

To encourage positivity and productivity, I aimed for clean and simple with straightforward primary colors. I wanted the visual design to feel familiar and trusted. The visual aesthetic needed to provide an environment that students would want to visit daily.

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Testing it out

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After creating my initial wireframes, I did some user testing with other students to gauge the usability of my decisions. A major critique I received was with the landing page's calendar. I had tried an alternative calendar that was based on daily tasks or events which were ordered by priority rather than chronology. Students prefered, however, having a traditional since they used the calendar primarily to scan for assignment dates and times. A standard relationship with time was important.

The opposite was true, however, of locating class content. Students were frustrated by content that was ordered chronologically by semester week. Since content usually continued to be relevant long after its initial posting date, it was difficult for students to remember which week the content would be contained it. It was more useful to have the content grouped by project or assigned so that all related content was stored and accessed together.

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