An Educational Discovery Tool for the Modern Classroom.
User Experience, Interface Design, Development
For more than 20 years, Kids Discover has been known for crafting engaging, nonfiction content for children. The company recognized the need to move to a digital platform and approached Andculture to help transform its business model from printed magazines into an interactive online experience.
To gain insight into the education space, we facilitated two teacher roundtable discussions, attended industry-related conferences, interviewed educational consultants and distributed a quantitative survey to teachers across the country. We focused this qualitative and quantitative research on current and future states of education, access to technology within the modern classroom and other educational trends. Once the business considerations were defined, we conducted a second phase of research in ten schools throughout the Northeast. Through observations and contextual interviews, we learned how supplemental content is applied in the classroom and how students and teachers used and interacted with technology. We synthesized the information collected and used it to inform final product recommendations and rules (e.g., “The product must make reading an active process.”).
We aggregated and visualized all of the findings from our research. Drawing from this synthesized data, we wireframed VIP screens of the platform and prescribed user flows for each audience.
Design & Development
Drawing from the outputs of the first two research phases, we designed and developed the Kids Discover Online product from the ground up. It was important to design a product that maintained the integrity of Kids Discover, which meant giving careful consideration to the content itself. We converted each magazine into a “unit” and each spread within a magazine into a “topic.” Content is managed through a custom content management system (CMS) that allows Kids Discover to build out pages using the same content and assets from its printed magazines. We also included three Lexile® levels to enable leveled reading.
During our discovery, we found that student research is a pillar in the modern classroom. To encourage student exploration, we built the discover map. This highly interactive concept map allows users to dig into subject areas to discover related units and topics within the Kids Discover library. When a unit or topic is added to the CMS, it is assigned to related content and weighted based on relevancy. This back-end process determines where that particular unit or topic appears on the map.
To optimize the experience for teachers, we added classrooms and desks. Accessible by teachers and students, classrooms serve as a shared folder that teachers can curate for students. The desk functions as a personal folder for teachers to store content for later use.
“Andculture grasps the big picture better than any agency we have worked with. It's their attention to detail and willingness to get inside the market that enables their big vision.”
As soon as the beta product was ready, we took it to classrooms to test. We collected feedback from students and teachers and used this information to make final product adjustments and enhancements before going to market.