BOOKS THAT GROW
Books That Grow is an innovative reading platform that helps differentiation in the classroom by adapting books to each user’s reading ability. This web-based app is ideal for educators, but also offers plans for individuals and schools.
Our client had been seeing higher bounce rates, concluding that users are not exploring the website to fully grasp all aspects of the product.
Utilizing content strategy and user testing, Books That Grow’s website can educate and entice its potential users to explore the app. With higher conversion rates, Books That Grow can expand its library.
As a strong copywriter, I oversaw all content and was the final proofreader for all output. I executed a large portion of the user interviews, and crafted the questions that would inform our research. My heuristic analysis familiarized us the current site's pain points, and guided the prioritization charts I created after we constructed our personas. I facilitated our Design Studio by timeboxing the session and penning master wireframes. And in addition to conducting usability tests, I contributed to the design of medium-fidelity wireframes and high-fidelity mockups that were built in Sketch.
Kicking off our user research, we crafted a survey geared towards educators, students, and parents to gather quantitative information on the demographics that would use Books That Grow. Our findings showed that the audience is there, and so is the demand - less than 10% had used the app, but over 60% desired the features it offers.
Our user interviews included a wide spectrum of teachers, and we gained qualitative insights about their teaching methods within a mixed ability classroom. We discovered that they:
- Assign different texts within one class
- Feel there is never enough time to reach every student
- Need to easily understand a product and how it benefits them
Our business research consisted of casting a wide net to gain as much knowledge about our client's competitors. In addition to what we found on our own, the users we interviewed named a number of apps that offer similar services, but none quite like Books That Grow. We assessed them across two charts to compare their features.
A heuristic analysis is an evaluation of an interface design with the goal of finding usability problems that can be addressed in an iterative process. Part of our research was to step in to our users’ shoes, and interact with the app’s website.
Diving deep, we found that there was a need for:
- Stronger consistency in language
- Clarity of product, and how it works
- Higher usability for its three user types
- Increased accessibility to the demo platform
We studied the website's analytics to understand how users are currently interacting with it. A user flow was created to understand where people were dropping off, increasing the bounce rate.
Other statistics gave us an idea of which pages were the most visited. What drew users to them? And how could we redesign the content layout to keep them engaged?
A sitemap was crucial to the process, as the information architecture provides the skeleton to any app, software, or site. The website had a busy primary navigation, and the red box notes an inconsistency in language to lead users to the same place.
We synthesized our user and business research to identify the goals of each, and focused on where they overlap.
- Understand what Books That Grow is and how it can help them
- Interact with samples, demonstrations, tutorials to acclimate to the product
- Flow through the website with ease via comprehensive navigation and content
- Clearly understand how their students can benefit from this product
- Increase conversion to its Educator subscriptions
- Reduce bounce rates, keeping users actively engaged on the website
- Double the app's library
As a team, we built two personas to reflect the circumstances and needs of educators that we interviewed. Jonathan and Rachel gave life to our research, representing a wide spectrum of users in two distinct personalities that could benefit from Books That Grow.
Personas may be the most important element of the UX process. They are not a part of the design team, yet they provide a constant reminder of the project's overall goals in creating and solving for users.
Guided by our research and personas' goals, our MoSCoW chart established which features of the website needed to be redesigned or implemented.
Our MoSCoW results were graphed across a content prioritization chart to focus on what we could manage within our three-week timeline.
We arrived at our minimum viable product, and readied ourselves to produce these five key screens:
- An email newsletter to educators that have not subscribed to the app
- The website's home page
- Educator information page
- Teacher's Guide
- Pricing page
We dedicated five hours to Design Studio, where we built extra-large wireframes on whiteboard utilizing content strategy and our ample amount of research. Jonathan was selected as our primary persona - the main user to influence our design decisions. With several rounds of sketching, pitching, and critiquing, we came together at the wall to merge our ideas.
In the spirit of rapid prototyping, our first round of user tests were done with paper wireframes, which revealed a number of insights towards our first iterations:
- Teacher’s Guide link near sample - clarify what it is
- "Explore Demo" button becomes "Explore Teacher Demo"
- Move "Step 1," "Step 2," etc. over by corresponding step title
- Move features explanation to the top
- "Subscribe Now" button becomes "Explore Plans"
- Add billing increments (annually/bi-annually) for all plans
We upgraded our wireframes to high fidelity in Sketch, and continued to user test with digital prototypes via InVision. To the right, you can scroll through annotations of our MVP, which explain some of the changes made in our final round of usability testing.
Our team delivered five key screens (below) as high fidelity Sketch files, along with an updated sitemap and user flow for Jonathan, our primary persona. The screens are cleaner, with consistent language that reflect Books That Grow's strong features. They introduce the demonstration platform among almost all pages to entice educators to take it for a test drive.
Compared to the previous user journey, Jonathan is able to quickly understand how the app works and interact with it directly. The hierarchy of the website is more enticing and informative than before, and ultimately guides him towards a subscription, where he can begin assigning leveled books and manage his students' progress in his mixed ability classroom.