User research, UI/UX
As the vast majority of schools worldwide closed during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote learning was quickly adopted by many institutions. Zoom quickly became a valuable tool used by many different universities to facilitate remote learning interactions between instructors and students. However, throughout the pandemic, students frequently experienced numerous difficulties related to effectively engaging in the virtual classroom environment. This project aimed to significantly change Zoom’s functionalities to better cater to the different modalities of remote learning and help increase student engagement.
The team decided to use the Experience Sampling Method as a research method, collecting snapshots of users' behaviors, interactions, and emotional feelings before and after their online classes. Two short surveys were sent out for users to fill in at the time before and right after their online learning sessions. In the two experience sampling surveys, the questions asked the type and duration of the class, users’ emotional feelings, tools and resources prepared and used during class, any difficulties they encountered and any interactions they had with others.
Ideation & Prototyping
To start the ideation process, the team analyzed the user data collected from the research and summarized the inputs in an affinity diagram. Then, the individual points in the affinity diagram were either marked with bold, strikethrough, or left as normal text. Bolded points indicated problems that the team wanted to address in their prototype, strikethrough indicated problems that were out of their control or not actionable, and normal text indicated problems that the researchers were not interested in addressing for this project.
The team chose to make a low-fidelity prototype to better communicate and demonstrate the overall conceptual design. It is also fast and easy to make any changes and not too attached to visual designs.
Since the low-fidelity prototype is inadequate to serve as a specification for the video recording, we built a higher-fidelity prototype. Therefore the details are realistic and visible to users who would have better understandings of the prototype and provide more solid evaluations.