Blackboard Landing Page Interface Redesign
Texas Tech University uses Blackboard, an online learning platform that allows for students and professors to host and upload course work. Now, more than ever, having an easy to navigate platform is essential in student success.
Blackboard is the university's main platform for facilitating learning. Students have a hard time navigating the website, thus resulting in less work being completed and professors turning to other platforms to host their teachings.
Here are some quotes from current students:
"The features on the main page don't feel like a priority"
"It's hard to navigate, you have to dig around to find things"
"The layout looks and feels very outdated"
Understanding the User
Using Google Forms, I surveyed 10 students on their lifestyle, school habits, and opinions on Blackboard. Based on the results I received back, all the students shared the commonality that they are taking 12 or more hours this semester, study for around 15 hours a week, and work part-time jobs. The three things students wanted better access to on Blackboard was: Grades, assignment due dates, and the assignments themselves.
With these results in mind, I created a Yasmine Norman, a user persona that is a full-time student but still keeps busy with extracurriculars and a part-time job.
What I Included:
One of the main critiques students had in the survey was that the old Blackboard design was hard to navigate and you really had to search for what you were looking for. When redesigning, I focused on making the layout as streamlined and clear as possible so it was easy for the user to quickly find what they need to.
Rather than using classic text, I created icons that allow access to a student's email, calendar, tasks, and notifications on the top right of the layout. This helped give the page a more modern and fresh look.
Adding drop-down arrows for the menu on the left adds an easier more specific way to organize through the elements on the page, rather than having to go to a whole new page to get to what you need. Helps to make the page feel more efficient and eliminates time wasted clicking through unneeded page
Before, there was no element of color when designating between a user's different classes. I added the color bars to aid in navigation and clarity.
Learning about the students that use Blackboard daily and taking their input made this project incredibly insightful and fun to work on. I learned that rather than focusing on what I as a designer value could be very different from what other users take value in. Putting aside my own biases and listening to the user is what made the product more versatile and exuberant.
What I Would've Done Differently:
During the researching phase, I wish I had surveyed more than just ten students. In the future, I hope to get a bigger sample size in order to get an even wider range of opinions and understanding of who uses the platform.
While designing the layout I regretted not sketching out my vision. Jumping straight into the mockup took more time than I thought it would, thus wasting time I could've put towards a more detailed layout.
Done more research into Blackboard itself. Having a better understanding of the company could have allowed me to add more student targeted elements.