I feel fortunate to have gained such valuable experience designing online education tools while working for the Daylight Studio. Starting from scratch, I was onboard helping Daylight expand their offering to include this category. I watched as demand grew and new business like Evanta, a Portland based executive training company, approached us for help. Evanta had grown too large for their off-the-self LMS.
I worked as Lead Designer in tandem with Backend Developers Dave McReynolds and Cameron MacFarlane, along with Frontend Developer Kristin Wille, as the core team who planned, built and launched a custom LMS in three short months.
Where do you start with a huge custom build project that has a tight timeline? We strategized a plan to get rolling on the small marketing website where students would signup and login to the LMS. This allowed us to design and get approval of the base styling, being translated from Evanta’s Style Guide, that would determine the look of the LMS. The Marketing website was completed in the first two weeks, all while continuing stakeholder interviews to learn the requirements of the LMS and wireframe the findings.
When a Student logs into the LMS, the most important information is current status of their required work and then, what’s next. The calendar functionality and UI design was a major driver of all other content and design for the project. Breaking down the stakeholder’s desire for a traditional grid of days, we flipped the switch and offered a totally new view of stacked content, which allowed for a more clear organization of connected curriculum data.
To complete the student’s user flow from the calendar, we needed the core content page where learning takes place as well as the approach page where status and direction are established. The completion of the detail page, homepage and calendar landing page template designs meant we had a clickable prototype in InVision for the client to grasp the basic user flow of the student.
System administrators were vocal stakeholders and a target audience for this project. The LMS was far more complex than simply publishing educational content and setting a due date. Student users needed to be added, grouped, gated and monitored. A dynamic, time based curriculum needed to be built, reviewed, edited and duplicated. Shared files and conversations needed to be monitored and news type content was to be published to each course’s homepage. Many wireframes and designs where needed to create a powerful system admin tool to manage the complex data structure we had uncovered from stakeholder interviews. Let’s just say, we made some good friends in the Evanta Admin users, who were delivered a tool that worked for instead of against them.