Research + Interaction/Visual Design
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.
"Hello 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.
Teachers and students
Complete un-aided accuracy
I researched on strategies teachers are using to match names and faces of students currently.
How do teachers match names and faces currently?
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.
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).
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.
Themes and insights
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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
First run experience
Full user flows
During school — Mobile
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.
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: