The goal of communication is
to provide inspiring information
to move people to action.

The goal of communication is to provide inspiring information to move people to action.

- Guy Kawasaki -  

Role

Founder
Product Designer

About

Kaksha is a mobile-first classroom management tool that helps educators develop a more engaging and collaborative relationship with their students by serving as a strong bedrock for instant communication and information relay.

Kasha is a mobile-first classroom management tool that helps educators develop a more engaging and collaborative relationship with their students by serving as a strong bedrock for instant communication and information relay.

Duration

Duration

July - December
2018

Team

Team

2 Designers
6 Developers

2 Designers
4 Developers

Contribution

Contribution

User Research, Information Architecture,
Prototyping, Conceptual Design, Visual Design

Problems

eye (1)

Lack of proven mechanisms to
identify student needs based on 
in-class performance.

Lack of proven mechanisms to
identify student needs based on
in-class performance.

broken-link

Recurring inefficiencies in information relay and resource distribution between teachers
and students.

Recurring inefficiencies in information relay and resource distribution between teachers
and students.

experience

Products used in academia have notorious usability standards and are hard to deploy at an enterprise level.

Products used in academia have
notorious usability standards and are hard to deploy at an enterprise level.

Findings

150

Students in Universities check their mobile devices as many as 150 times a day on an average.

Students in Universities check their mobile devices as many as 150 times a day on an average.

Research findings from Smartphone Dependency, Hedonism and Purchase Behavior: Implications for Digital India Initiatives

Research findings from Smartphone Dependency, Hedonism and Purchase Behavior: Implications for Digital India Initiatives

27%

India is projected to contribute 27% of the world’s new college-educated workforce between 2010 and 2030.

Ernst & Young publication: Higher education in India:
Moving towards global relevance and competitiveness

Research

Users

Notes

Our qualitative research methods kept evolving and there was no ‘by the textbook’ moment ever, there were constant improvisations and multiple process discovery stages. The user research phase consisted of ethnographic studies on student and teacher behavior, formal interviews, informal conversations, and field studies.

Our research showed us that universities with more staff per student have a better chance of creating an engaged and interactive teaching environment, thus producing more qualified and industry ready graduates. When the ratio starts getting up over 20 to 1, you'll find that it gets challenging for professors to provide the type of personal academic advising, independent study opportunities, and thesis oversight which are valuable during one’s undergraduate years.

But with 40-50 students in a class, there is no way a single student was receiving the attention they need or the quality of education they were paying for. Teachers who had to deal with fewer students at a single time seemed more content with their jobs as compared to those who had to deal with more than 40 students at once.

UXR

I consulted with student and teacher counselors to gain insights on the behavioral dynamics within academia. All of this led me to a point where I was spending more time outside my own classroom and immersing myself within the walls of staff rooms. As a student myself, this experience helped me develop a strong rationale to advocate on behalf of teachers and not just students when making design decisions.

KNotes

Product and market

During our product and market research phase, we saw that most of the big LMS (Learning Management Systems) companies had built catered solutions for the most niche use cases you'd find in classrooms. The problems lied in the effectiveness of these solutions. Rather than helping one manage their classroom and lessening the workload, they'd directly contribute to it. The older applications were extremely feature-rich but suffered so much when it came to UX, with ridiculously high learning curves even by Ed-Tech standards.

During our competitive analysis, instead of just marking features off in an analysis matrix, we also assigned a score for design, usability, learning curve and effectiveness. When designing for real people you meet and see every day, we couldn't afford to write their needs off in a comparative feature list. We also assigned a score for how much time a user was saving through their use of the service by subtracting it from the time taken to perform the said task without the service. 

We closely studied and analyzed over 20 products that were currently in the market locally and globally and found some recurring patterns. Out of all our finding, these two rung a bell with us -

1K@2x

Almost all of the services we looked at received complaints of capricious or unreliable notification delivery services.

2K@2x

Skimped heavily on mobile experiences or did not support mobile devices altogether.

Group 11

Ideation + Brainstorming

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NaveenSponsor
Notesrusted
IMG_20180304_062935

After developing a firm understanding of the product landscape within the Ed-Tech sphere, we evaluated the feasibility of building a mobile-first classroom management tool for higher-ed classrooms in India.

We did not want to get into the business of shipping features that our potential competitors already offered, as it’d be an uphill battle with us playing constant catch up while bleeding out on the timeline. Instead of replicating feature lists of our competition just to fit in comparison tables, we broke down the motives and actions of our users into intentions and resulting actions. Later we classified them on the basis of effectiveness wrt. to the time consumed.

This gave us space to think using first principles and craft solutions around those from the ground up. 

As a principal designer on a team of most developers, I had to set a tone for participation at the onset of the project. This was achieved through participation in implementation agnostic brainstorming sessions with the team and our sponsor users. 

In order to make sure everyone felt heard, Prakhar and I took steps to rapidly design and prototype medium to high fidelity wireframes simultaneously as ideas were pouring in from the team members and users. This helped with the visualization of our product in the minds of everyone working on Kaksha and brought about a culture of healthy conversation and actionable feedback within the team. Now, we were equipped with multiple versions of what a concept might look like when implemented, allowing the team to ask questions like -


"How much of our user base would really care about this?"

"Is this something you'd use on your phone on a daily basis?"
"Is it even conceivable with the data we think we might have?"
"Are we asking for too much effort from the user?"
"Isn't this being a little too intrusive?"
"Doesn't having all your due dates in one place cause anxiety?"



Intent

Information Architecture

Since this was a Version 1.0 product, it was crucial for us to take a data-aware approach in order to be able to afford some flexibility in the future in terms of product direction. Having been equipped with an understanding of the context, users, and the content we had to design for, the IA process took quite a bit of going back and forth with the team members, a bit of trial and error, and lastly intuition. The key principles that drove the decision making process during the IA phase were -


Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 1.45.58 PM

We also wanted to take as little data from the users as possible in the beginning, and directly provide value back to them by deriving actionable insights that they wouldn’t obtain elsewhere, strengthening our retention play. 

Classroom Structure

Wires

Classrooms lay the foundation for Kaksha, they've been designed to emulate the mental models of college goers and teachers. Each subject teacher creates a classroom and invites the respective students of that class. Students receive updates in the form of posts on the classroom feed just like any other social platform. We've included some special post types such as:

  • Forms for data collection.
  • Polls for quick reviews and feedbacks.
  • Assignments with the option for online submissions.

The classroom feed is restricted to only posts from instructors to make sure nothing of significance is lost or missed by a student. Meanwhile, students can post and initiate discussions under the discussions tab as the name suggests.

The resources tab is a repository for courseware and supplementary reading material provided by the instructor with a folder and file structure to allow for organization of course content,

IA Classroom

Global Navigation

Navigation Teacher

For teachers

Navigation Student

For students

Setting up the navigation is one of the first things I try to get done after working on IA, as it makes it easier to visualize the product if you know what kind of navigation you'd be using. 

Having your navigation ready gives you and the team an unparalleled sense of momentum during sprints while helping you chunk similar types of data and objects faster and in a logical manner.

IA Form Service
Group 18

Visual Design + Typography

When it came to the visual tone for Kaksha, we undoubtedly wanted to craft an amiable personality around the product. I asked the team members to think of Kaksha not as a product, app, or service, but as another person in the classroom, following it up with a question -

“What qualities would you use
to describe her?”

Traits

Colours

Considering that this product will mostly end up in the hands of Young Adults ( 16- 25 ) and Adults ( 25- 50 ), we wanted our visual tone to balance and reflect the taste and preferences of the erstwhile while retaining a sense of energy and playfulness exhibited by the latter.

Colors

This palette proved to be versatile during state management, allowing us to use our primary (Turf) and secondary (Tang) in success and intermediate states while we reserved Hgb solely for error states. We really wanted to control our visual footprint until we had our brand and identity guidelines in place.

Typography

Archivo

Headers + Titles

Archivo was a no brainer for us, it has perfectly balanced shoulders, weights and cap height. Archivo became our default header font for all page and section titles.

Rubik

Paragragh Text

Even though Rubik and Archivo are influenced by the same late 19th Century American Typeface Style, Rubik projects a sense of comfort owing to its rounded edges and curvy hooks, the kind missing from Archivo. 

Song Myung

Profile + Special Post Headers

Song Myung is a bit of a wildcard in here. In order to pay tribute to the usage of Times New Roman as a default title font in research papers, we chose to include a Serif font in our typekit. 

Key User flows

User Onboarding

The user onboarding process can solely be held responsible for high drop off rates in most mobile applications. A good onboarding experience can go a long way in building loyalty and trust with your users. This was also a way for us introduce Kaksha's warm personality into the foreground. We gave security and the user fallibility utmost importance while designing this journey.

Onboarding

Classrooms

Classrooms are pretty straightforward. They are groups of students learning the same subject under the same teacher. Each classroom has a feed, resources and a discussions section. All settings and data related to one class can be found here within the records section available only for the teachers. Attendace and perfomance records can be exported as CSVs or Excel Sheets.

Navigation Copy 4

Resources

Resources are repositories for teachers to upload all the course material for a subject in a folder and file structure, allowing them to organize courseware in a consumable and easily accessable manner. 

This allowed for the maintenance of a single source of truth for the students. Now they wouldn't have to scramble a week or day before the exam to find the required course material.

3 copy 10

We allowed the folder nesting until 3 layers to maintain ease of access for now but we intend on
changing this by implementing a breadcrumb navigation for the resources section.

Forms + Assignments

Forms play a very essential role within academic institutions. They are used by administrative staff and teachers for data collection and record keeping. Through the course of a semester, a teacher has to deal with at least 6-10 mass data collection forms. These are forms where students need to submit details wrt. to their internship status, attendance records, event participation records, scholarship eligibility, leave application etc.

The problem with most form services is that they aren't targetted, they are public links which are shared with no mechanism to track how many students out of the total intended students have filled the form. We witnessed instructors maintaining a checklist to mark the received responses on a sheet of paper. 

Often, the intended target for these forms in private education institutions is in the ballpark of 400-600 students. In order to send reminders to students for filling the forms, they'd send an email blast to all the students including those who've already participated due to lack of apparatus to quickly pinpoint who exactly hasn't submitted the form. 

We built our forms and assignment modules to solve this very issue by measuring participation and sending reminders to defaulters through reminder messages. These messages would be sent directly into the student inbox on Kaksha from the teacher's account. This would also propel the usage of the inbox feature. 

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High fidelity prototypes and designs

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Rejected concepts from the exploratory visual design phase for the android app.

Kaksha Landing 5 Copy

Kaksha is currently undergoing alpha testing. Shoot me a mail at aditya@chaiwala.design to know more about Kaksha and its features. 

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