Improving the teaching experience on Zoom app: an UX case study

This is one of the most interesting project for me, as I made this with a team of five in total. So the thing is that in the course that I have been doing gave me an opportunity of participating in a kind of hackathon for UX design. And the most important thing was the time constraint which was only 48 hrs!!! We also were going to have three review sessions to help us get through and for feedback on the completed work till then.

The thing started from evening when I was given the information on my fellow teammates and after an hour or so, we got five problem statements from which we had to choose one and give a solution to it, by making a video presentation of the whole project document.

To be honest this was very scary, I did not know a thing about them and now we all had to work on a project and complete it in just two days…

So as soon as the problem statements were out we all went on a long discussion on which one to choose, and it all came down to two of them from which we could not pick. We discussed all the points why we thought one is better than another but still there were two different opinions, and so we took the democratic way… we voted for the one we liked the and select the one with the highest votes.

The problem statement

Due to the pandemic, Most of the schools adopted online tools such as zoom to teach and interact with students. But these tools are not able to recreate the actual interactive experience for a teacher to manage the students. Create a student- teacher classroom experience for Zoom app to help teacher monitor and control the classroom teaching.

so why did we choose this above others

  • Pandemic has brought all schools, teachers online. It’s not a choice but it’s a necessity for them. We all had gone through online and offline classes.
  • Also, as this topic was really dynamic in current scenario, there would be plenty of data available which will save our time.
  • In Lockdown, this app came so close to teacher’s and students’ everyday working schedules.
  • It’s much more practical and teacher/student life becomes easier as there is no learning curve associated with it.
  • But, still everyday we hear students and teachers complain about the whole experience that is not able to live to their expectations. So there is a good opportunity for improvement.
  • We also have a big amount of current users to interview directly.
  • We all as a team have some sort of experience with the interface and processes of the Zoom app, so it will be easier for us to make assumptions as we have time constraints.

After selecting this the next thing we did as a team was to distribute the work among us as so much was to be done in very little time. We had already decided the processes that were to be conducted. At the end though, while doing all this we all kind of mixed with other tasks to complete them all.

These are my team members

  • Ayushi
  • Priya
  • Medha
  • Sawan
  • Jayanth

Plan of action

the distribution we did was this,

Secondary research

So the first step was to get every existing information on the app and the teaching systems and experience. I, too, have contributed a fair bit in this process with my other teammate. We did this step in order to,

  • To understand the students’ and teachers’ perspective on a broad scale and to form a session guide for our user interviews.
  • As this problem is very relevant to today’s scenario many people might have conducted similar if not the same kind of research prior to us.
  • Doing desk research will ensure that we are aware of these studies and take advantage of the findings and minimize time usage.

Insights

Perception of educators for online learning during lockdown:

  • Felt happy due to utilization of time in conducting online classes during the Lockdown period. Initially, faced some difficulty in conducting online classes but got acquainted later on and conducted the classes smoothly ensuring prior information on online class or induction meeting schedule would help the educators in better preparation of subject for efficient delivery of online classes/induction meetings.
  • All recordings of online classes should be uploaded in website for further reference Of the learners as well as educators as per their requirements.
  • As the lockdown was declared unexpectedly, most of the institutions could not decide the rates of remuneration of educators for online classes. So, the financial issue relating to remuneration and expenditure towards internet data package should Be clarified by the host institutions.
  • As the learners are present at scattered places during online classes, it becomes Difficult for an educator to monitor their activities in real time. It is also difficult to draw their attention towards the subject during the online classes.
  • Very poor attendance and less interaction of learners are observed in online classes.
  • Sometimes poor video and audio quality obstruct the smooth functioning of online classes.

(source: researchgate)

  • Despite the opportunity to ask any questions to the lecturer, the student is deprived of live communication both with the lecturer and with other students.
  • The lecture, delivered without live participation of recipients, loses much in the semantic content and in the emotional presentation, because not every lecturer is able to motivated by looking at the black box of the video camera aimed at them during the shooting, instead of human eyes.
  • The creation of courses aimed at distance learning of students is a very energy-intensive process and is often met with resistance from lecturers who are accustomed to conducting classes traditionally.

(source: fast company)

  • Another very interesting point to this research is the Zoom app already has a separate education plan for schools which has various and handy features like grade book, attendance, one on one discussion… and so on

(source: zoom)

primary research

As a group we had decided to definitely add user interviews to our project even in that amount of time. So after the desk research was done all, and then we defined our users.

  • Based on the given problem statement which clearly states that we have to work from the teacher’s perspective- “Create a student- teacher classroom experience for Zoom app to help teacher monitor and control the classroom teaching.”
  • So here we have made teachers the focus of our user interviews
  • But for different insights and for finding gaps or disconnect between teacher-student relation, we have considered the students in the user interview as well.
Target user

User interviews

we did this process in as,

  • Doing user interview would make us get to know the teachers and students personally to an extent and make us understand their interaction with the existing interface.
  • Also, we would be able to get a fresh and original perspective.

So did the interview of three teachers and two students.

Insights

  • All the teachers felt the disconnect with the students and so with the teaching they were doing.
  • 2 out of 3 teachers were concerned about the security issues with the Zoom app.
  • 2 out of 3 teachers were granting extra marks to the students who had more interaction while on call.
  • 2 out of 3 teachers considered themselves not to be tech-savvy and therefore find it difficult to control the students when they do mischief with the setting of the app.
  • All the teachers were not aware of the separate zoom education plan and when made aware of, they pointed out that they have free alternative, so they could not get this plan as it has fees.

Quotes from the teachers,

“ For active participation incorporation, i have been asking questions around topics randomly from students and giving them extra marks.”

teacher 1 (female, 36, banglore)

“I want to have one system which gives end to end study experience. So that the I can conduct Online Exam easily on Zoom using their camera feature.”

teacher 2 (male, 46, banglore)

“Students don’t speak and are hidden behind the camera, they dont obey and I have no control on that.”

teacher 3 (female, 35 , banglore)

  • both of the students had issues when asked about the level of clarity they get on a topic taught.
  • They were also not happy about the lagging and sound echo which happen due to low connectivity.
  • While asking questions on the comment section, sometimes their questions get missed due to the high amount of questions.

quotes from the students,

“Comment section gets flooded with messages, needs to optimized and query needs to be properly managed in platform.”

student 1( male, 18, baroda)

“Platform should work in all kind of internet bandwidth or should stop.”

student 2(female, 18, banglore)

here we all faced a problem, that our secondary research was mainly done on the younger population of the student and our primary research was more inclined to the older students. This created a gap between the research. And so at one of the review session we pointed out this problem and came up with three ways to deal with it,

  • To focus on the older students (high school and college)
  • To focus on the younger students(primary and kindergarten)
  • To find an overlap for both of the user type and curate a solution.

and we went ahead with the third path of finding similar pain point for both the set of students users.

Empathy mapping

here as we had already decided to focus on the teacher more, we went ahead and made only one consolidated empathy map for teachers, keeping in mind the problem statement. We did this process in orde to,

  • To get to know the teachers and students more and to make the ideating part of the process more personal to their needs and difficulty.
  • It will also highlight the challenges teachers face and their own preferences regarding this platform.
  • It will help us empathize with teachers and their daily struggles with the management and procession of online classes.

Personas

So here we made two personas for different type of the teacher one who is comfortable with technology and on who is not so comfortable.

Not tech-savvy
Tech-savvy

User Challenges and Frustrations

we noted down the pain points we had observed in all the research done till now the analysis had resulted, in order to,

  • To further narrow down the insights we have collected from the teachers and students in our primary and secondary research we need to put those in simple one liner.
  • This will help use make meaning of the huge data at hand.

The following are the points

  1. Comments flooded and questions not answered.
  2. Not getting proper feedback from students.
  3. Not using zoom for group study.
  4. Less participation from the students side.
  5. Improve writing experience on an online white board.
  6. Stopping mischiefs and unwanted activities in online classes.
  7. Sharing PDFs, images among the students is difficult.
  8. Technical issues: Screen Freezing, Sound / screen Lag, Internet issues.
  9. How might we make the comments less flooded and questions to get answered accordingly ?

How might we

now that we had all the pain point written down with us it was time to come up with an solution, and to do so we took the how might we approch.

  • To trigger ideas and solutions from the observed pain points of the teachers after the whole process.
  • Also, we would be able to do the ideating more effectively for the teachers without deviating from the real insights from the user
  1. How might we get proper feedback from students?
  2. How might we make students use Zoom app for group study?
  3. How might we increase participation from the students side?
  4. How might we improve writing experience on an online white board?
  5. How might we stop mischiefs and unwanted activities in online classes?
  6. How might we give an option for sharing PDFs, images among the students in the class.
  7. How might we solve the Technical Issues faced by the teacher?

wireframing

We have chosen the following pain points to be solved:

  • Less participation from the students side.
  • Comments flooded and questions not answered.

this majorly came from the teachers as they were not happy with the students not activly interacting with them and also the students who found it difficult to make their questions noticeable in all other comments.

we have also kept in mind the existing app features which are exclusive to the education plan and tried to make them cohisive.

In order to solve with this problem, these are the process we came up with:

  1. Creating a separate profile for each student, This is used to give badges as credit system and students will level up in their profile as per their grade..
  2. This creates a competitive spirit among students and motivates them to pay more attention in class.
  3. Each student profile records the attendance and has some basic information and can only be edited by the teacher.
  4. Assuming that the majority of the users prefer bigger screen size for the content to be legible and it is easy to handle, we have done the designing for the desktop screen.

while lookin for this features i revived many similar existing platforms to get an idea to make the feature more reatable on our interface.

these are the sketchs we made in the beginning of the process, and did some iterations to get a good outcome.

The UI of the final wireframes

Main Screen -

The main pain point we saw while reviewing the insights through teachers interview was-

when a students doubt clearing session happens it becomes difficult for the teacher to answer questions since the chat section becomes crowded with all questions, so we created a solution to keep another tab exclusively for Question section, where students can put up their questions and the teacher can answer and remove the answered ones.

For students’ active participation we have assigned badges to each student which will denote how much active he was during classes, to define this we have created few parameters -

  • As seen the in the design the different colour of the badge will mean different amount of interaction and grade.

red-excelent

green- intermidiate

yellow- good

grey-can do better

  • How many times the student ask his doubts and questions.
  • How attentive the student is when teacher asks a random question to any student.
  • How many times he has interacted with keyboard
  • Study submission in time and the grade book can be linked to this system affectively for attaching the assignments to this system.

Key points:

  • This is designed in such a way that to make users more interactive in the live sessions.
  • The users shouldn’t get disturbed by the brightness of the interface while listening to live sessions for longer hours, so we added a dark mode as well as light mode so the users can choose as per their perfrence.

Why did we redesign ?

The purpose of redesigning is to improve the versatility of the product so users can make most of it and to decluter the screen in away to add focus on the requires areas.

Main Features:

  • Purpose of the side navigation bar:
  1. Students can access their study materials.
  2. Can view previous quiz interviews and questionnaires,
  3. Can access assignments and collaborate with the group member.
  • Features included in bottom navigation
  1. Raising your hand helps the student to interact with the teacher while the session is going on.
  2. Comment section is bombarded so students can type the questions in the questionnaire, so it eases the process.
  • Creating Badges improves the competitive spirit in students and thus pay more attention to the teacher.

Teachers profile

This view will help the teacher to access her account which will showcase -

  • Teachers information and the subject and class they attend.
  • Lecture Schedules of the class.
  • Students attendance sheet
  • Teacher has an access to create a team of students
  • they will also have the option of creating teams for breakout sessions, and see the grade book, student list, batches, check on the assignments.
  • and they will also be able to grade the assignment and review them.

Teacher’s view of the student profile

This view will help the teacher to check the students profile which will have -

  • student’s name and class.
  • Their score card and badge they have received.
  • Teacher’s feedback if any, if the feedback is bad the student’s parent will get notified.
  • Participation of student on how much Q&A he attends
  • Assignment submission status — completed and incomplete
  • this will also be the view the student could see for their profilr, but they won’t have the feature of editing the information rather than to submit the assigments.

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UI/UX designer and a student

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Ayushi Dorle

Ayushi Dorle

UI/UX designer and a student

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