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How outstanding UX/UI can make a difference in education?

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We can't talk about the future of education without considering UX/UI design

You’ve certainly heard of the terms UX and UI design before. You’ll probably relate them with technological products in a matter of seconds, because these words are always present in some hyped conversation about gadgets, smartphones, or softwares you have eavesdropped on.

But can you explain what UX/UI actually stand for, not only by answering “user experience”, or “user interface”, but really knowing their true meaning? Furthermore, do you want to know how these acronyms could improve the educational business worldwide? We’ll try to answer these questions for you in the next few lines.

UX/UI design: what are they?

Both terms are usually put together in conversations, mostly like they were one thing only. But even though they are a lot correlated during the process of building a product, they don’t play the same roles in the design field, and are responsible for different aspects of product development.

UX - User Experience: this concept was brought to life in the late 90’s by professor Donald Norman, a cognitive scientist and one of the co-founders of Nielsen Norman Group, who defines it like a process that “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products”. It’s kind of an ethereal description, but you should pay attention to the fact that Norman’s definition doesn’t refer to tech products at any point.

That’s because the user experience is present in every interaction of a customer (or a potential one) with a company/business. Think of a supermarket for instance, one that counts both with in-store purchases and online delivery features as well. The user experience is not only about the performance of their digital business, it’s also related to how they organize their alleys and shelves; the quality of offered products; how worth are the prices; how many minutes a client has to stand in line; among other factors.

UX is about everything you can enhance to maximize your client’s relation to you. It’s a non-digital thought, even if it’s usually applied by the tech market. It’s the feeling your client will grow about experiencing your product.

UI - User Interface is a digital-exclusive term concerning all the interactive aspects of the user with the product. Buttons, colors, responsiveness, icons, and other visual assets.

The main goal is to guide the customer in the most intuitive way possible through the possibilities of the digital product. You probably already had an experience of browsing a complicated website, where you couldn’t find the information you needed anywhere, or the process was just too complicated. That’s a bad UI in a nutshell.

How can UX/UI make the learning experience better?

The Covid-19 pandemics puts the educational market in a tight situation. The obligation in closing the physical spaces and the necessity to keep teaching students somehow, made the institutions rush towards the Digital world. The urge to adapt created a series of distance or hybrid learning solutions, but there’s no definitive answer about the best way to implement them into the school’s routine. However, UX/UI are going to take a big part of the equation when measuring the success of any initiative towards the Digital world.

Having that in mind, we interviewed Dan Bar Or, Chief of Design and Head of Product at Ann-Education, who also happens to be an UX/UI specialist. He answered five of the main questions to help us understand how user experience and interface shall improve the learning process.


Dan Bar Or, CDO of Ann

A picture of Dan Bar Or, Chief of Design at Ann Education

1) How can UX/UI apply to education? How do we do it at Ann?

I am not sure there is something unique about UX\UI in education, the same principles are applied to all markets. Keeping it simple - no noise, just what you need in the proper order of priorities. Making it personal, considering each of us is unique. Make it fun and accessible - whether you're a teacher or a user of a banking app.

2) Why is it important for publishers and schools to count on advanced UX/UI in hybrid learning?

Nowadays we demand from educators and schools to deliver advanced pedagogical traits, such as hybrid learning, personalized learning, socioemotional abilities, and much more. It’s fundamental to have great technology and awesome tech-friendly content to make education awesome and serve as the best tools for the teachers and students.

3) Do you bring your past student experience when you think about developing the product?

Sometimes I do, especially because so little has changed. But you and I are completely different people, therefore our students’ inputs weren’t the same. Because of that, my experience as a student doesn’t take that much weight when developing the product.

4) How to always improve UX/UI for customers? We conducted countless surveys among teachers, managers, and students from the moment the company was started. Several months after coming up with the idea, Ann was being used by both teachers and students. Our platform continues to be built with the help of our users, so we can release, test, and iterate.

The second step involves asking the data, not the humans. Keeping track of everything in Ann lets us identify gaps, holes, and areas that need improvement. Even the teacher may not be able to say he wishes to improve. But numbers may tell a different story.

5) What are the steps to follow and KPIs to consider to implement and keep good UX/UI?

Retention. It’s like a restaurant, if you go back, it seems that you liked it.

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