Enable interactive commenting on the course materials stored in a previously static documents repository

"Social Study" Landing page prototype

Clickable Prototype on Figma

(opens interactive demo of prototype for new site)

Social Study” was a rework of a static course materials repository, previously hosted on GitHub. Social Study’s goal was to allow interactive commenting on the course materials in the repository.

Problem: the course materials were online, but there was no comment feature. The students had to use a #slack channel for this purpose instead, and the course materials didn’t contain anchor links that would have made it easy to point to a specific section of the course material, from a third party platform like #slack, while making a comment or asking a question, about the course material documents.

Target Users: both students and instructors, sharing the course material. The Social Study platform and app was designed to enable them to communicate collaboratively.

My role: I guided the development and design project partners, on Information Architecture and Content Strategy for the app. Specifically, I defined the prominent content type for the app’s landing page, and specified details of the news feed to appear there, such as the information types to appear in comment summaries on the feed. Additionally, I advised on the way that Search would work, with specific definitions of filtering and facets to appear on the search results page. I also guided the team to consider the interface we were building from a holistic perspective, ensuring that both the students' and the instructors' information needs would be covered effectively.

Design process: I offered the team several comparative sites that I knew of, to use as touchpoints. Reviewing the other sites and apps allowed the team to identify the key elements that they considered “must have” to be included in our Minimum Viable desirable Product (MVdP).

Design options and decision making process: the design was developed in a highly collaborative fashion. I advised the team on approaches to allow the content to be easily accessible from various users’ perspectives, and on ways to design the search function so that it had the most search accuracy while preserving flexibility in search results.

Measures of Success: we know our project will be successful when, in periodic reflections and surveys, students report fewer frustrations with finding information, that they have developed improved pathways of collaborative learning, and overall scores/grades improve.

Next Steps: Obtain institutional buy-in from the learning provider, General Assembly. Conduct thorough usability testing with both instructors and students; develop high-resolution wireframes.