OVERVIEW: There are many digital interface problems that affect people’s everyday experiences, but none more so to university students than the Learning Management System (LMS) or more commonly known as Blackboard. As a student myself, Blackboard is one of the most important tools when studying at university or tertiary education, so a user friendly visually appealing interface is ideal to aid them in handling the program stress free and effortlessly. Unfortunately this is not the case, the current Blackboard is janky, ugly and confusing; using a standard template in order to accommodate with all institutions adopting and using it. So in order to improve this interface my proposed project and opportunity aims to improve the platforms visual aesthetic, user interface and user experience resulting in clearer navigation and understanding of Blackboard’s capabilities.
PROBLEM: The current Blackboard interface on the web has an unappealing design, layout issues and an unclear navigation system riddled with useless information, but users need and want a software that can function easily and efficiently to make their experience at university as stress free as possible.
GOAL: The goal is to improve Blackboard’s user interface to be more aesthetically pleasing and function efficiently to provide both primary and secondary users with the best experience possible.
OBJECTIVES: This can be achieved by improving the design aesthetic and layout to allow personal customisation, improving navigation and shortcuts to be able to locate sections faster and making software processes effortless to reduce stress of the users.
TARGET AUDIENCE: The primary target audience for Blackboard are mainly 18 to 25 year olds with tertiary education and occupations in retail, customer service or hospitality. They are perceived to be ambitious and outgoing, valuing freedom, expression, independence and are interested in socialising, drinking, music and sport. In regards to their culture, they are most likely to be sleep deprived caffeine addicts with poor time management skills.
Taking all of this information into account and using a flat, minimalist style, this is the website I have created. The user’s journey begins when the student logs into the Blackboard of their institution. On the ‘Home Page’, they will be greeted with their name in the top left hand corner and a navigation bar below with the following categories: home, announcements, units, grades, calendar, email and a link to Facebook messenger to chat with fellow students. The home page itself has customisable drag and snap cubic modules that can be removed, changed in size or rearranged to the users liking. This rendition features, a calendar with upcoming events, a list of assignment due and most recently graded assessments. It should be noted that most buttons, when the user selects it, a coloured tab will pop out notifying the user that is the page they are accessing.
The grades page consists of a list of all graded and upcoming assignments, with buttons to access lecturer comments and a rubric breakdown as well as your mark as a percentage and the average of the classes percentage, so you know how you are doing compared to the rest of your peers. At the bottom, is the summary of the users current grade progress for that unit, which can be helpful to know if they are failing or estimating how many marks are needed to achieve a certain grade.
The unit page is separated into separate boxes, one for each unit and colour coded accordingly for consistency. Below each box are shortcuts for announcements, lecture files and grades.
When entering a specific unit page, for example design. A secondary menu appears displaying unit specific pages such as unit plan, lectures, resources, submission and contacts. The tab appearing on the unit page will also change colour to the corresponding unit and have the code down the length.
When attempting to submit an assignment, the page shows the due date, possible marks, a space for uploading files, the files total size and a box for comments. While the user uploads their files, a progress bar will appear notifying them of how long it will take to submit.
Once the submission is completed a celebration screen will appear, congratulating the user on getting the assignment in on time with the animation of confetti and the sound of clapping hands. If submitted late, there is less confetti and a solemn slow clap.
Overall, I think my redesign increases user experience by improving productivity and decreases stress while clearing up previously outlined navigation issues and its overall aesthetic.