Mobile app case study | Concept project
Adult students taking online courses want to learn new skills to advance their career, but they rarely make progress because they're busy and lose motivation
Accountability app to help people complete their online courses and hone their skills, so they can advance their career
Solo · Dec 2020 · Figma
Massive Open Online Courses ("MOOCs") have been life-changing for people across the globe, as they've made education accessible.
They've also changed my life.
As a kid, I loved to draw and make my own comics. But by choosing a degree in math & business, I became distant from the world of creativity. Fast forward a few years, thanks to Coursera, Class101, Youtube, etc. I became a self-taught designer and rekindled my love for arts.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, I decided to upgrade my visual design skills. But even though I had more time, I found it oddly difficult to stay on top of my new learnings.
The market agrees; the biggest ed platform Coursera saw 600% increase in enrollments. But the problem persists - the completion rate in online courses is only 5-15%, and that's expected to decline even further.
Having experienced this problem myself (and by many others), I decided to tackle it.
How might we improve the completion rate of online courses for career-driven people?
I hypothesized that the underlying cause is due to having no tangible consequences of incompletion. Examples: failing a college course is expensive, missing assignment deadlines that lead to lower grade, etc.
I kept my hypothesis simple here, as I'll test it in the next section.
Used Typeform to craft the survey
Gathered participants from online forums centered around online education
Focused on discovering the biggest challenge experienced in taking online courses
Used Zoom to video chat
Focused on understanding the user stories - emotions, motivation, pattern of pain
Total sample size: 20 participants from user survey & interview
During the user interviews over Zoom, I observed deeper motivations and desires of my target users.
I’ve turned those observations into user personas to paint a clear picture:
Goal: to learn what my target users love & hate, so I can improve my solution
Read customer reviews (G2, GetApp)
Used the apps myself
Asked user research participants if they’ve used these solutions - none did
Equipped with insights from user survey, user interview and competitor research,
I modified my first set of hypotheses.
Specifically, I was able to narrowly define my users, problem, and HMW statement,
which were critical in forming my design solution.
How might we improve the completion rate of
Adults taking online courses for side hustle
Reframed Hypotheses w/ Research Insights
Adult students, currently in a job, that are taking online courses for career advancements
Adult students taking online courses want to learn new skills to advance their career, but they rarely make progress because they're busy and
How might we incentivize the career-focused people to make progress in their online courses?
Busy adult students are not making progress with their courses as they quickly lose motivation.
I mapped out the user flow based on the user stories observed in the interviews.
It was clear that my project scope should be the nodes around “gets distracted” as it corresponded to the biggest challenge experienced by my users (refer to Section 3.1., Figure 5).
Thanks to the user flow chart, I was able to quickly come up with 8 key screens on paper
Based on the above sketch, I designed a low fidelity wireframe using Figma.
It was also a good timing for me to map out the UX flow, as well.
To test if each function works & serves its purpose
onboarding, creating a study goal & reward, logging a study note then sharing it on Community, completing a goal
To remove unnecessary features or steps (minimize the cognitive load)
Recruited 5 participants from user research pool
Used Zoom to video chat & screenshare
Used Figma for the prototype
Provide a Selection button to opt in/out
Educate the users about Community during
"I wasn't aware there's a Community feature until
"If I'm getting distracted, how will it remind me to get back to my study?"
Prompt the user to set a study reminder during goal creation
"I don't like that my goals are automatically made public to the internet"
Self-select model to understand what users study, so I can customize their feed
Get users accustomed to using the app by walking through a real example "Learn this app" + incentivize them with a small gift
Step-by-step instruction, so users don’t feel anxiety about buying into the system
As backed by the user testing, this is a core feature of the app as it helps users build a successful study habit. User is prompted to set a study reminder during goal creation, but also can do so in the goal page.
Users can share insights, progress or even questions on the Amica's Community. This feature was a design opportunity identified in competitor analysis.
Users unlock their rewards once they've completed their study goals. They upload their proof of completion (e.g. certification) and the Community peers will approve it.
Grid & spacing - 8pt grid system
Typography - I used the golden ratio to determine the key type sizes
Colors - I chose a deep green color ("Pine Tree"). Green symbolizes new beginnings and growth. It was perfect as Amica users want to learn new courses/skills and I want to be encouraging. All the other colors, incl. accent and semantics, were chosen personally by me to reflect a deep, toned-down mood of the primary color Pine Tree.
Onboarding illustrations - Icons8
Guidelines - Material, Apple's Human Interface, Atomic design system
For any product, retention is used to measure Product-Market Fit
Retention rate = the metric that represents value my users receive (%)
/ Ideal frequency of user activity in my product
For Amica, retention is the Number of study goals completed / bi-monthly,
assuming the average duration of an online course is 4-12 weeks.
But since bi-monthly is a long time for data to gather, I suggest a secondary metric:
Number of study notes logged / weekly
Assuming that the user studies a few times per week and logs notes into our app, this rate represents the user's progression towards the user's end goal (completion of a study goal). This can be measured on a weekly basis, so it will help me iterate the product faster.
The promise of the app is to help people complete their study goals.
I'd interview the cohort of users who have
Product - ability to link the Coursera, edX courses directly into the app, so it properly monitors the user's progress towards completion
iOS vs. Android - I designed a unified interface. But in reality, I should highlight the UI differences between iOS and Android, so that the developer can properly implement for each platform