Making it easier for students to use MyEd
Working with the MyEd Service team, we changed the way that students find content in and through MyEd, using a top tasks survey, card sorting, and prototyping.
A change in the underlying technology for the MyEd portal provided an opportunity to make some improvements in the way people interact with it.
The service team wanted these changed to be informed by user research and not based on their own assumptions or the technology default, in case these were confusing for people.
Earlier user research had shown that people found it difficult to find information in and through MyEd and so the team prioritized working on the Information Architecture – the way content is grouped and linked names given to items and groups. This is used to create a website navigation.
Which makes more sense to students: “Euclid” or “Exam results”? As a non-academic staff member it is impossible to know.
The way to find out is to conduct user-focused activities where the students can sort and name the content items. Once we had our new information architecture, we could use it to form a new menu structure.
What we did
Over the course of approximately four months we carried out several activities:
- Top tasks survey
- Face-to-face card-sorting (a few students)
- Online card-sorting (large numbers of students)
- Interaction design of a new navigation menu and default interaction patterns
- Graphic design of new menu and interface presentation
- 2 rounds of prototyping and usability testing - an HTML prototype then then new graphic design and interaction patterns
- Tree-testing to validate the new navigation
In working this way we did not know exactly what the developers would need to build from the outset – we would find this out through the user-focused activities.
What the team thought
The service team and the development team were firm advocates for this approach, seeing it as the way to produce the best experience for students, and adapted their project activities accordingly to accommodate.
Working with the UX Service on this project has given me a great deal of confidence about what we’re delivering in MyEd. Releasing new service features is typically stressful, but it’s been a lot less stressful this time. That’s because so many of the design decisions we’ve made are so well-founded. The confidence comes from the range of ways we’ve engaged with students through the course of the project, which combine together to give a much clearer view of what they need and what they value.