Google Class — Names & Faces
Design exercise

At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students. Design an experience to help educators match faces to names, with the goal of shortening the time needed to reach complete un-aided accuracy.

"Google Class" — A product experience for primary and secondary school teachers to effectively learn and remember names and faces of all their students in a shorter time. It serves as an add-on to support day to day teacher-student interactions without hinder. To remember names and faces easier, it uses voice technology for voice recognition and voice search input. Secondly, it relies on having more profiling of each student's characteristics and background.

Design process

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Clarifying brief

School year
• What particular education stage or school year are we talking about? Kindergarten? Primary education, Secondary education or Tertiary education?

Teachers and students
• What demographic is this experience cater to? A classroom with students from different ethnics? Or just a particular segment?
• For each class, do students visit the teacher or does the teacher come to the classroom?
• Are we catering to only teachers that are teaching in a classroom? Or also teachers that teach extra-curriculum, sports related classes which will be outdoor all the time?

Complete un-aided accuracy
• Are we trying to achieve the goal of having the teacher to match faces and names of students independently without the help of any offline/online tools?
• If it is a wearable experience, does that mean it will have to be taken off after goal been achieved? From a business point of view, does that seem to be less economical?
• How do we measure success? 

Topic research
I researched on strategies teachers are using to match names and faces of students currently.

How do teachers match names and faces currently?
• Name tags.
• Seating chart.
• Take roll call.
• Ice breaking activities (Have students introducing themselves, give their name each time before they speak).
• Peruse class roll and name register along with students’ photos.
• Use students’ names as often.
• Physical cues as visual hooks.
• Not being afraid to ask for someone’s name when forget.

Target user and market
For this design exercise, I have given myself a boundary where the design solution is to be contained.

1) User: Primary and secondary school teachers.
2) Market:  Catered for the Asian market.

User interviews
I have selected educators as my interview participants as I believe they will be the best candidates for me to probe their pain points, motivation, challenges and needs to get a deeper understanding of how I could create an experience that satisfy the design goal.

1) Remote Skype user interviews (2 users).
2) Questionnaire (3 users).
P1: Madam Lai Yoong (Left) P2: Mr Jiunn Shyong (Right) 

Interview questions:
• Which type of student do you find it easiest to remember? Why?
• While you are in a classroom or outside of a classroom, how do you interact with the students?
• Why do u see the need to address them by name or remember the face? What's the trigger? What motivates you? What are the benefits?
• Before the start of a new semester or entering a new class, in the context of matching students faces to names, do you do any preparations? What documents do you get before hand?
• After working hours, outside of work, are there any triggers that will make you recall students’ names and faces?
• Do you have a process for remembering new names and faces? How do you break the ice? 
• What’s the frustrations or challenges when it comes to matching faces to names?
• How easy and how long is it for you to remember names and faces? Do you still remember your student’s name and face after years?
• What is your daily teaching schedule like? On a weekly basis how many classes do you teach each week and for how many periods? How many students in average do you meet and greet?
• What happens when you can't remember a student name? Or face? How do you solve that? Do you feel awkward trying to recall names or faces in front of someone?
• Is there anything you wish that is out there in the market that will allow you to help remembering names and faces?

I gathered all the observations and refined them into meaningful insights. I did this by physically sorting the observations into piles of similar meaning. I then further develop them into themes and theories.
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Themes and insights

In average:
Teachers spent 180 mins (3 hours) interacting with students (1 class, 40 students) on a weekly basis. For 5 classes, it takes 3 to 4 months to remember all.

Measurement: Our solution has to be better than that.


A) Benefits of matching faces to names
• Students feel respected and special.
• Better facilitation and rapport with students hence a more positive classroom dynamics.

B) Teaching subjects matter
• Core academic based subjects will see teachers spending more time with students.
• Classes like laboratory or computer will have random seatings.
• Outdoor activities like sports, physical attributes have been a sign of identification.
• Language classes require teachers to remember both ethnic name and english names.

C) Teacher-student interactions
• Quiet/noisy students get teachers' attention as teachers seek out for imbalances in class participation.
• Teachers tend to remember low/high performing students.
• Teachers enjoy walking around the classroom when they are teaching.
• Students with school roles and responsibilities are easier to remember.
• Students who look for teachers during office hours are easier to remember.
• Interacting with unfamiliar students during relief classes are harder.

D) Diversity
• Teachers look for identifiable visual cues on a student's appearances.
• Students normally has both ethnic and english names.

E) Outside of school or classroom
• Teachers spent a large amount of reviewing a student's work after school or class.
• Students take the initiative to connect with teacher through social network eg: Facebook.

F) Conventional tools and methods
• Teachers rely on seating chart or class roll most the time.
• When a student is around, teachers rely on name tags or written name on exercise books to identify students.
• Teachers associate some students' names to something meaningful to them.
• Some schools has digital database with students' information. 

Customer journey map + User stories
I documented the requirements of a teacher in the form of user stories and visualizes them in process that a teacher will need to go through in order to complete each goal. It tells a story that helps to understand and address a teacher's needs. 
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Design principles
A set of design principles that help me define the key qualities and aspects that should underpin the experience. It helps to form the design rationale. It will help me articulate how the design should feel or to be experienced.

A) Non-obtrusive 
The experience has to be friendly and not causing any discomfort between the teachers and the people that it interacts with (students). Eg: Perform a facial recognition when the student notices is awkward and it is perceived as invading the student's privacy. 

B) Seamless integration
Each teacher has his/her own teaching habits. The experience has to assimilate into their teaching habits and daily lifestyles without resulting in any discomfort or complications. Eg: Spending extra time outside of work playing a memory game or wearing a device/accessory that is gawkish.

C) Easy to use
The experience has to be easy to use without making the teachers seem clumsy. It shouldn't obstruct a teacher's movement and change the way teachers interact with students. Eg: Needing to navigate around a device to get results.

D) Support rather than hinder
The experience has to support the current workflow of a teacher and reinforce the teacher-student interaction rather than adding an extra layer of complexity. Eg: Instead of approaching a student and ask for his/her name, you shouldn't take out a device and check his/her name before approaching the student. 

Ideation + Validation
With pen and paper, I developed and generated a few ideas. The goal is to get as many ideas as possible without putting any technical limitations. They were then collated and sent out to friends and family for a quick validation and vote. 
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I narrow down to one idea that I thought would be the best and most interesting to explore further. An experience around voice. 

Voice as in:
1) Voice recognition.
2) Voice search input.
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Articulate further how my experience would help a teacher in his/her day to day life.
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User flows
First run experience
• School has an online database with students' information that is shared among teachers.
• For new students without an established online record, students are given a direct link (prior to class) to fill up their profile including voice profile where they need to train the system to recognize their voice.
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During school
• Classes have been added.
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After school
• "Google Class" is the name of this experience and it is used to trigger voice search input.
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Full user flows
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During school — Mobile
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During school — Wearables 
Wireframe for the voice recognition feature on a watch. I went with a darker theme as it preserves more energy in OLED displays.
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After school
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Visual design
Navigating from class view to students gallery and then activate the 'Recognize voice" feature. A student's voice is recognized and his/her profile is displayed.
Voice recognition is happening in the background and it recognizes a new student's who is speaking. The app notifies the teacher with the student's name and face. Teachers could proceed with viewing the student's profile or dismiss it.
Based on my user interviews with my participants and research, there is a strong pattern that indicates teachers would like to use a product that could assimilate right into their teaching habits and daily lifestyles. 

During school, teacher-student interaction is highly valuable and should be cherished. The product experience should serve as an add-on to support that rather than hinder.

Teachers spend a large amount of time outside of a classroom or after school to review the work on the students. We should take this opportunity to look at how we could reinforce teachers' memory of students during those time.

What can I do better?
A few things I would have liked to address if I had more time and resources:
• Seek technical advices for my design direction.
• Research on other industries and sectors.
• Recruit participants (teachers) that is more diversified.
• Recruit participants (students) to hear from their perspective.
• Usability test my prototype with users.