Chatterbox is a social enterprise that offers refugees meaningful employment as language tutors, improving their overall employability and well-being. Chatterbox trains and employs displaced people to teach their native languages in the booming online and in-person language learning industry.
Chatterbox wanted a redesign of their existing booking platform — specifically of the booking and scheduling journey of their users , as it is cumbersome to book a session.
Team and Roles
For our final client project at General Assembly, we were grouped in a team of four UX designers to work on the project for 2.5 weeks. My team members were Melinda Rizzo, Jennifer Smith, and Sylvia Kanu, and I was acting as team facilitator.
- Competitive Analysis
To begin our research, we started to look at a few competitors or similar platforms that offer language training services to see how these competitors were designing for users Chatterbox is targeting as well. In our competitive analysis, we focused on some features that we thought were important for users.
We learned very quickly Chatterbox was missing the below features. However, what made Chatterbox special is the user’s ability to tailor sessions according to interests, and helping a refugee while learning a new language.
2. User Research
We were interested in testing the existing platform to learn what Chatterbox could improve in the experience as well as conducting user interviews with language learners to understand what their goals and painpoints are when learning a language online or in person. So we broke down our research into:
a. Usability Testing
We tested the existing booking platform with 6 users, giving them the below tasks and scenarios to complete:
What we learned from usability testing:
b. User interviews
We interviewed a group of 20 users (5 Chatterbox users, 15 language learners) with the aim to understand their goals, expectations, painpoints, frustrations and how they are currently trying to achieve their goals.
We affinity mapped our findings from the interviews we conducted, and learned the following:
Tutor information | Language learners are interested in knowing who their language teachers are, what their areas of expertise are, and how much experience they’ve had teaching
Reviews | Peer recommendations/reviews were important to users for choosing a tutor to learn with and building trust
Booking | Scheduling several/recurring classes in advance helps language learners commit to learning
Communication with Tutor | Communicating with language teacher is important even outside of session. (At the moment, Chatterbox users are emailing and phoning their tutors)
Personalization | Users want to be able to tailor sessions according to their topics of interest
After synthesizing the findings from our user research, we created a persona, Elizabeth, to help us think about what some of the goals and painpoints are for a typical Chatterbox user.
Current User Journey
- Selecting each tutor profile to see availability and tutor information
- Selecting time and date for sessions
- Unable to book multiple sessions at once
- Pre-session form requirements are unclear as there is no prompt or direction
- Rescheduling and editing session option is not available
Defining the problem
Problem statement | Chatterbox users need a way to schedule multiple lessons at once with a tutor that is suited to their learning
How might we | help users easily create a learning schedule with a tutor that’s right for them based on their needs and interest?
We believe that by creating a way users can tailor their learning, we will ensure users are able to create a schedule with a suitable language partner. We will know this to be true when we see growth in rebooking.
Design Studio with the client, Chatterbox
After we spent time thinking about the user research we had done, and defined the problem, we went to our clients’ office to conduct a design studio. We presented everything we had learned from the discover and define phases of the Double Diamond design process that we implemented to our client so we can begin ideating solutions together based off our How Might We statement (How might we help users easily create a learning schedule with a tutor that’s right for them based on their needs and interest?)
We came out of the design studio with plenty of ideas and a lot of energy and excitement about the possibilities. The following day, we met as a team and discussed all the solutions that came out of design studio. We decided to do a content and feature prioritization, using the MoSCoW and 2×2 Matrix methods to help us think about what features would help solve our user’s painpoints the most at this time.
Features we prioritized:
– tutor profile
– peer recommendation
After having defined the problem, sketched possible solutions with our client, and prioritized our features, we were ready to think about our user flow through the Chatterbox booking platform. Below is the flow a user will go through when booking sessions for the first time, and upon returning to the platform after completing a session.
Prototyping & Testing
From the user flow we developed our paper prototype, so we could begin testing.
We tested our first paper prototype with 5 users and learned a lot about what we were doing right, and most importantly, what we were doing wrong. Some key insights from the first round of testing:
Low and Mid fidelity prototypes
Using what we learned from testing our paper prototype, we moved on to digitizing our prototype using Sketch. We went through three rounds of usability testing of our low and mid fidelity prototypes, testing with 4–5 users each round.
After every usability test, we iterated to ensure our product was meeting and exceeding users’ expectations. It was really important for us throughout our usability tests to gauge users’ expectations, goals, preferences and what they understand from our prototype feature-set.
We went through several rounds of testing and redesigning to make sure that we ironed out all our interface and usability issues. At that point, we were ready to move on to our final mockups to present to Chatterbox. We tried several variations of color palettes and combinations, and eventually opted for a dark shade of purple with different accents for action buttons.
Disclaimer: I personally revisited this project to rework the UI on the final mockups.
What I learned
I learned to really listen to users responses and stories. During user interviews, I discovered that most language learners enjoyed learning a language in a classroom environment. I thought of this as a disadvantage because we were designing for a one-on-one learning platform; but during our ideation session, I realized that allowing students to interact on the platform would make it far more engaging and an enjoyable experience.
Whiteboard everything. Seriously, this was the most effective method to put our ideas on the wall and refine without feeling too attached to our solutions.
Usability testing should never be taken lightly. We did many rounds of testing of the different prototypes, and we came out with a lot of perspective after each round. It helped us in refining our designs, copy, and the information architecture.
I learned the importance of getting your client on board with your design decisions by including them in the process. We held a design studio session with them to generate ideas and set the expectations on what features will be prioritized. This was really helpful in getting us to move forward with our work and process without any surprises.
Working under a 2 week design sprint is not easy. It takes hard work, trust in the process and a LOT of coffee. My team and I held daily standups to discuss where we were in the process, and what we were struggling with. Standups made it easy for us to know what each of us was working on and what we needed help with. Timeboxing tasks also saved us from spending countless hours trying to pick a font.
This project was overall a great learning experience as a junior designer, but also as a team leader and player. Thank you for reading, and please share your thoughts!