How might we design a streamlined, accessible, and functional experience for Seattle Public School parents through an educational platform?
Project Overview
Parents with children in the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) have to interface with several different platforms, remember multiple sets of logins, and switch platforms and user logins constantly to complete a single task.

To address these issues we created Branch: a single platform that is home to all the tools a parent needs to complete tasks about their children’s education.

Our vision for this new platform is to have a streamlined, accessible, and functional interface that makes parents’ lives easier as it relates to managing their children’s education process. Initial expectations and assumptions:

  • Users aren’t getting everything they need out of the software
  • Software is difficult to use and not time efficient
  • Not all caregivers are tech-savvy
My contributions

We centered our design around the inclusion of people of different physical and developmental abilities, tech education, and cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
My personal contributions and responsibilities included:

  • Part of the interviews and accessibility research
  • Early paper drafting
  • Illustration of personas
  • Icon research
  • Development and wiring of Flow 3 (change language)
  • Translation of content
Brief platform walkthrough (has sound, but it is not necessary)
User Stories
  • As a parent who isn’t great with tech, I want a streamlined experience so that I can spend more time looking at my child’s grades and less time trying to find them.
  • As a parent of multiple children, I want an easy way to switch back and forth between accounts so that I don’t get confused by multiple logins
  • As a person whose second language is English, I want an easy way to switch to my first language so that I can understand the information easier.
  • As a working parent, I want accurate bus time information so that I know where my kids are going to arrive at school
  • As the parent of a younger child, I want online field trips and medical forms so that I see them before the day they are due
  • As a caregiver, I want to be able to check absences and attendance so that my teenager doesn’t skip class
  • Caregivers, teachers, and students in the Seattle School Districts
  • Often busy and handling multiple tasks and competing deadlines
  • Having effective and efficient virtual tools became even more important since the pandemic
Research (Interviews) 
We kicked off our research process with 3 informational interviews with current parents in the Seattle Public Schools. We learned about the highlights, pain points, goals, and wishes. 
Synthesize Results
We analyzed the info we gathered and focused on commonalities and barriers to access. 
Ideate & Create Design System
Based on these conclusions, we ideated rapidly and began to build our design system. Branch follows the mental model of eLearning systems like BlackBoard, with a focus on accessibility and ease of use.
Low-Fi Prototype Testing
We created task flows based on information about the interviews and most common features: 
  • Check child's grades
  • View the Calendar
  • Switch to another student profile within the same household

We carried out 3 user tests, where we asked users to complete each of these tasks.

  • Research & Interviews
  • Synthesize Results
  • Ideate
  • Create Design Systems
  • Low-Fi Prototype Testing
  • Refine Prototype (iterate)
  • Hi-Fi Prototype Testing
  • Synthesize Results & Refine Prototype

Initial paper drafts and final solutions

Process, continued
Refine Prototype (Iterate) 
The first round of user testing was highly informative. We found out that … (insert here info from slides). 
Hi-Fi Prototype Testing
Finally, we carried out hi-fi prototype testing. This second round hoped to catch any issues or mistakes before we finalized the project. Throughout this process, we kept referencing the user personas we built based on those early informational interviews. 
Synthesize Results / Refine Prototype
Throughout our research and two rounds of user testing, we learned some very valuable things.
Since the start we knew that accessibility would be key to the success of our solution. That is why we checked color contrast, text size, line height, touch target size, iconography according to the current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Same screens, before (left) and after (right) the first round of user testing

Branch is a successful platform because it provides quick and easy access to the core tasks that a parent needs. It is customizable and has settings that can enhance accessibility for a wide variety of user abilities and knowledge. 

Thanks to the multiple rounds of user testing and peer feedback, I am confident that Branch presents an excellent solution for families and teachers of Seattle Public Schools.
Laws of UX
Learning about the Laws of UX while carrying out this project really helped me appreciate them in practice. Some of the laws we most referenced were Occam's Razor, Aesthetic Usability Law, and Jacob's Law.
Illustrated image of Greenlake park with park signs. Flat colors indicate landscape elements.
Prioritization matrix showcasing next steps
Lessons Learned & Next Steps
Going through the design process from start to finish was thrilling. I found user testing a very exciting part of the process because we could see users interacting with our concept for the first time. It was a very real test of our abilities to communicate and empathize with others.

While branding was not the focus of this project, it would be a necessary future step to create consistency across the experience and refine the visual aspects of the platform. 
Collaboration was an essential part of this project. Not only was it fun, but it allowed us to carry out more interviews and user tests, tackle different areas of research, and divide the flows to be able to test and iterate quickly.  
Quick view of the Branch platform on web and mobile