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Ronald Reagan Library Tablet App 2018-05-17T16:47:21+00:00

Project Description

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Project Overview

The Ronald Reagan Library Discovery Center is host to an incredible learning experience for thousands of middle school and high school students each year. Part of that experience is a classroom briefing for “Operation: Urgent Fury” where students learn leadership and decision-making skills.

The Discovery Center team needed our help in a number of areas:
• Make the current experience more meaningful and engaging for students
• The experience needs to expand or contract to respond to rigid time constraints
• Create a self-led experience to rely less on instructor involvement

Project Type: iPad Mini App
Industry: Education

My Role

• UX Lead
• Principal UX Designer
• Creative Director
• Team Size: 8

I led an interdisciplinary team of 8 people that encompassed all phases of UX design, UI design, and development.

What I Did

• Requirements gathering
• Ethnographic research
• Sitemap
• Wireframes
• Prototyping
• User Interface Design
• Development

Research

UNDERSTANDING THE USER & CREATING EMPATHY

Ethnographic Research

We observed the instructor-led “pre-brief” class on several occasions to get a real sense of what the students are experiencing. The students, who travel with their schools from all around Southern California, represent virtually every socioeconomic background imaginable. In addition, their level of education varies dramatically from student to student. We recognized that some classes were engaged the moment they stepped into the classroom, while others never seemed to fully absorb the information. We knew our work was cut out for us.

Unique User Needs

One of the lessons learned through our User Research was that many kids were quite enamored with the Smart Board technology the instructors were using. However, when it was decided that we would be using Apple iPad Mini’s for the delivery device for our experience, we knew it was a mixed bag. On one hand, the iPads would allow us to leverage the tablet technology to create something engaging but on the other hand, we knew that this technology could be distracting for many students. It’s easy to assume that all school-aged children are tech-savvy and mobile devices are ubiquitous and common place, however, our research proved otherwise. It was our responsibility to design for a level of deep engagement without creating distraction and make sure it worked for a wide group of students.

Information Architecture

ORGANIZING THE STRUCTURE OF CONTENT & FEATURES

Sitemap

To understand the structure of the current curriculum, we reverse-engineered the in-classroom experience. What we discovered was that each of the instructors had their own way of delivering the information. Additionally, the curriculum presented was different for different ages: Middle school children were given a compressed lesson, and high schoolers were given an expanded, more detailed lesson. In order to create a unified lesson that could be used in all instances, we had to find the common ground among all teaching styles. We then worked with the Discovery Center team to modify the curriculum. Together we developed several game-like modules and discovery activities that were designed to educate as well as engage.

Wireframes

COMPOSING SOLUTIONS THAT DELIGHT THE USER

Wireframes

In order to make sure the technology didn’t overshadow the curriculum, we devised a stripped-down interface that allowed the lesson to guide the students rather than have the students use a complex navigation system to get around. Our navigation design had only three elements: forward, backward, and a main menu (which was rarely needed). All other navigation would be handled through choices designed into the new curriculum. We wanted to be sure that the students didn’t run wild on the devices or get distracted by trying to check out Reddit or YouTube instead of learning, so we developed the app in a way that all other iPad functions were not necessary or accessible. And to prevent students from jumping ahead or lagging behind, we created several stopping and starting points that required other classmates to be involved.

Visual Design

BRINGING THE DESIGNS TO LIFE

User Interface Designs

In order to be effective in teaching leadership and decision-making skills to school-aged children, the app needed to appear as sophisticated and professional as the content it delivered. The curriculum set a high level of expectation from the students, therefore the UI design needed to as well.

Results

WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD

Results

The “Operation: Urgent Fury” app has completely re-invented the classroom curriculum in a much more engaging way. New games and activities educate while they entertain and the entire experience allows students to lead themselves rather than sit and listen to a lecture.

Let’s Work Together

LET ME KNOW HOW I CAN HELP

If you’re looking for advice on your next big idea or you are looking for a seasoned design leader to add to your team, send me note. I am always on the lookout for my next challenge.

LET’S TALK