K-12th teachers do not have enough time to do their jobs. A significant portion of this time is spent making classroom materials. Many of these materials are minor variations of one another — for example, a teacher might design a worksheet based off of a previously designed slide deck.
MateriALL is a Google Add-on that takes curriculum content that already exists, like a slide deck, and uses NLP technologies to generate new materials like worksheets. MateriALL was researched, designed, and built by myself along with group of two UX researchers and a software engineer for our Masters degree final capstone project.
Defining the Problem
Research for MateriALL began with qualitative interviews and surveys conducted over teachers of K-12th classrooms in the United States. The following findings ended up being the most impactful in properly scoping our product:
These research findings led us to the following “How Might We” question:
“How might we use the tools teachers already use, like Google Docs, to make the lesson planning process, especially for creating materials, more streamlined?”
In brainstorming answers to this question, we arrived at an idea that would eventually become MateriALL - something that would take teachers’ existing slide content, like definitions and facts, then use them to automatically generate and/or format worksheet questions. With these insights, we dove into the research, design, and development of MateriALL.
Defining User Control feat. all Stakeholders
We defined some key functionalities for MateriALL by considering both our team's skillsets and insights from our initial user interviews. However, as we would soon find out, our decisions were rife with unspoken assumptions.
When we concept-tested these functionalities with users using mid-fidelity wireframes, we found that teachers were uncomfortable with MateriALL's rigidity. Teachers wanted more control and flexibility because they knew what kind of content would benefit their students the best. In response, we redefined these functionalities.
By involving not just the entire product team, but also our users via concept-testing, we iterated on our initial interactions collaboratively to be more user-friendly for teachers.
Visual Design Language feat. Me
As we moved further along in the design journey, it became time to add more visual design into MateriALL. I began this process by experimenting with different color palettes, components, and even existing style guides.
Trying out different treatments helped me make informed decisions about which visual direction to go. Ultimately, I chose a design system that evoked playfulness, harkening back to grade school learning, as well as a sense of lightweight airiness, to convey the efficiency MateriALL would bring to K-12th teachers.
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our entire team, we presented our work and a demo of MateriALL to a panel of judges at the end of the school year. Following this...
This was one of my largest, most hands-off design efforts yet, and I learned a lot from the experience.