Lead the UX & design of the project
Above/ The marketplace with resources separated into categories for easy browsing.
A teacher marketplace organisation came to us with the vision to create a new direction for the product. The vision was to create a marketplace where teachers could buy and sell resources and become a hub for teachers to learn and share knowledge. The current website had was inefficient as all resources were generated by the team, this meant it was difficult to scale, and competitors were able to provide more resources and attract customers far easier.
Throughout the product I worked closely with the team to realise this vision into a reality, and turn ideas from concepts to designs that would then go on to be developed. We worked closely at all aspects of the project, including research and discovery - right the way through to getting valuable feedback from the existing teacher network had.
Above/ Previous website marketplace designs
The project started with a design sprint with the team. Here we identified what problems they were facing with their current website and lots of ideation around how this could be solved. This helped us understand the best way forward and where to focus our research. The first part of this research identified the following points:
The teacher resource marketplace landscape was crowded & dominated by a few big players. Therefore it was crucial for us when taking this project forward to focus on how we were going to stand out, and set apart from the crowd.
It was clear we needed to start with understanding who was using the platform. We built out personas based on this. We started out with assumptive personas based on knowledge of the market and what teachers do in their day jobs. Then with help from the team, we were able to send out surveys to potential users and existing ones to create validated personas - with qualitative research.
Above/ Personas created with research - two categories "frustrated seller" & "experienced teacher"
“I’m getting paid for something I would do anyway, which is creating lessons”
The key differentiator
After speaking to dozens of teachers who already use many other teaching resource platforms it was clear there was frustration in the community. Teachers weren't getting a fair deal out of selling their resources and the platforms weren't supporting them in the way they wanted.
This was a key turning point in the research and understanding of what could make them different from their competitors, and that was putting the teachers first. Building a community and platform that was made by teachers for teachers.
Above/ A new direction & vision to empower sellers and put them first.
Testing the concepts
It was time to start putting the concepts and ideas we had into reality. Starting by designing wireframes to make sure the UX was thought-through and tested. There were many challenges when designing the website - a few of these included:
How someone would find a resources in the most efficient way
Showcasing the resources that were often visually busy - in a grid structure
How sellers work would get promoted
Creating a personalised experience for logged in users
How sellers could edit their shop and resources
Above/ Different variations of pages created to test concepts & validate ideas.
So, how did we test these concepts? I used Useberry to help validate assumptions and make sure people were able to find resources quickly and effectively through the wireframes. I set up a task through the platform which was "Add a Maths resource to your basket for 7-11's". Then sent it to 10 of the target demographic to test and leave feedback. Here's what we found:
Above/ Heatmap of the areas people clicked during the test. The assumption was the search bar would be the best way to find - which was proved here
Above/ Here we were able to gain insight into how people were feeling about the exercise afterwards.
The results of the testing were a success, and we were able to validate that the search bar was indeed the best way of finding a resource - making it so prominent on the homepage was the best way forward. It was also clear that the user journey throughout the product was easy and straightforward for users. In addition to this test we had lots of additional feedback after this exercise that it was easy to navigate, through the filters within the marketplace.
We were also able to develop a new idea through feedback which was adding sub-categories once a user had filtered. E.g if a user filtered "Maths" it would then show the sub-categories relating to this - helping the user browse and find the resource much easier.
Putting it all together
After plenty of research, understanding and validating our ideas - we were confident that we could move forward to realise the ideas and wireframes we had put together for the team. We created some concepts throughout the process to show some potential styles and direction we wanted to go in. It was important to the client from the start to "move away from the bright colours" as they didn't reflect the more adult audience.
Above/ Initial ideas presented for style direction, with more patterns & serif fonts introduced.
Working closely with the client we decided to use less of the patterns, and more of the bold colours to define the brand personality. We also reached out to some sellers and a teaching network to get some feedback about the first two pages we designed for them to make sure we were heading in the right direction. They agreed that it looked a little "artsy" and should be more professional - which is where we took the brand.