Jessie Olson
UX designer

Buds

A mobile-first website to help K-3 parents feel
confident in supporting their kid's education
at home.

Project Overview

Buds helps parents of elementary school-aged children find value in an online platform that supports children’s reading skills. This platform encourages parents to be more involved in their child’s learning while also connecting with other parents in the community.

Role

UX/UI Designer

Tools

Figma, Optimal Workshop, Miro, Whimsical, Notability, Zoom, Maze, Google Suite

Scope of Work

User research, UX Design, Visual Design, Prototyping, Usability Testing

Project Duration

3 months

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The Vision

Buds is a website that aims to improve parent engagement in their child's learning while encouraging parents to connect and support one another.

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User Challenge

Parents often struggle with supporting their children's education at home because they feel alone and aren't sure of what activities to do.

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Outcome

Buds, a website that promotes hands-on reading activities and building connections with other parents in the community.

Empathize

Research Goals

  • Determine what values having an online reading platform that supports children’s reading skills accomplishes for parents.

  • Understand how the parents use the platform and what areas they need support in.

  • Learn what features are beneficial and meaningful for parents.

Methodologies

  • User Interviews

  • Competitive Analysis

Competitive Analysis

I researched the platforms that current education companies offer parents and students. Most platforms offered communication between parents and teachers, but not for parents to connect with one another. The most popular features among the sites included independent activities for students.

User Interviews

I first needed to understand the perspectives, pain points and needs of K-3 parents. I conducted 6 remote user interviews to uncover the struggles that people are facing when supporting their kids learning at home, what they’ve found helpful, and areas where they feel like they could use help. This allowed me to empathize with the target audience and to develop a strong user persona that I revisited multiple times throughout my design process.

Define

Affinity Map

After conducting the interviews, it was clear to me that some of the most common themes amongst the users I spoke with were the need for support and communication as well as access to hands-on activities. Going into my ideation phase, I knew that I needed to create an experience that was intuitive and enjoyable in order to promote more confidence in the user.

Buds

User Personas

Based on the data from my secondary and user research, I was able to further identify Bud's target audience. From these insights, I developed one persona that represents a general demographic of who might use Buds. I consistently referred to them throughout the entire product development process ensuring the designs would aid them in their motivations and end goals.

Buds

My research led me to the following questions:

  • How might we involve parent's in their child's learning at home?

  • How might we help parents encourage students learning away from a screen?

  • How might we help parents feel more supported in their pursuit to help their children's learning at home?

Ideate

Brainstorming

I completed a brainstorming exercise to ideate on the features that would support the concepts from my user persona.

Prioritizing Features

Keeping my business goals and users in mind, I generated a list of product features and organized them into four categories: must-have, nice-to-have, can come later, and surprising and delightful. This ensured I developed an MVP that would allow my users to engage with a useful and functional product to determine if the product was desirable.

Buds

Site Organization

I set up a card sorting activity to uncover important thought patterns and get a sense of how users will think about the content and features of my site. I used this information to develop my navigation patterns, construct my site map, and develop my user and task flows.

User Flows

Referring back to my site map, I created user flows to document all the possible actions users can take when completing a task on my site. I used the user flows to construct task flows that show the user experience from a design perspective. These flows dictated which screens I would need to create wireframes to conduct my usability tests.

Buds

Sketching & Wireframing

After sketching out my initial design ideas, I digitized them into wireframes to help me visualize the flow.

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Prototype

UI Design

While developing the product's brand, I created four brand values that would be the focal point as I chose the color palette, typography, and other components such as icons and my brand logo.

Brand Values: Growth, Support, Confidence, and Community.

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Final Product

Buds helps parents of elementary school-aged children find value in an online platform that supports children’s reading skills. This platform encourages parents to be more involved in their child’s learning while also connecting with other parents in the community.

Buds
Test
Buds

Usability Testing

I conducted usability testing with 9 users within my target audience. The goals for the usability testing were as follows:

  1. Reveal friction points

  2. Identify bugs and issues with the product

  3. Test product with the target audience

Usability Test Findings

After the tasks, I asked about their overall experience and noted any areas of strength or suggestions for improvement. 

All users were able to complete the three tasks successfully, however, a couple of areas of improvement were suggested:

  • Some users struggled with locating movement activities. To fix this, I changed the way users filtered their preferences and the language, as shown below.

Buds

Next Steps

  • Thinking deeper into accessibility.

  • Exploring what the teacher side of Buds might look like - how do teachers engage with and use this platform to connect with parents?

  • Continue to design subsequent screens and test.

Takeaways

This project is an example of how the design process is not meant to be linear. Throughout this project, I encountered times when my design changed course. I found myself going back and forth between design phases depending on what I discovered or what needed to be clarified. It reiterated that design is a cyclical process that truly doesn’t end and in return, allows for a more user-friendly and human-centered design to be created.