The final part of the project is to test our prototype, which is made on Adobe XD. The prototype has limited interactive functionalities, so we make sure to inform- and guide our participants. The functionalities that will be tested are the login page, the timeline with updates and questions, and the messaging system.
There are going to be three participants who fit our criteria of being either a teacher or parent. The test is going to be focused on the user’s experience while navigating through the app, which will then form the user’s opinion of the concept. The group has therefore made up some scenarios and tasks, and we will take on the role as one host and three observers. The host will give the user the basic context they need to understand the scenario, and they will be the lead questioner for the follow-up questions. The observers will watch the user experience the prototype.
While the test is being conducted, the user will be encouraged to do the think aloud technique. This way we will be able to gather qualitative data, such as a user’s reaction, body language and writing down important quotes. The entirety of the test will be audio recorded.
Goals and hypothesis
- Our goal is to test if the app is ideal for teachers and parents as a communication platform.
- Our hypothesis is that the app should make it more organized for teachers and parents to communicate.
The purpose of the application is to create a safe place where parents and teachers can ask questions and share info. Its function is to share general information between parents and teachers, both private and public. The public one is a timeline, where parents can ask a question and get answers from other parents and/or teachers. This is meant to save the teacher some time, instead of individually answering questions many parents might be wondering about. On this timeline, teachers can also give updates on special events (field trips, holiday-related activities, etc.) happening during the school day. It should also be possible to share general information privately with individuals regarding a child or appointments when needed.
A presumed positive effect of using this app will be better communication between not only teachers and parents, but between parents as well. Parents can answer parental questions if they know the correct info. In addition, the app is meant to replace text messages- and phone calls on a teacher’s private phone after work. This is intended to give the teacher more freedom regarding when they want to- or have time to respond to messages.
Our solution is going to be evaluated by one parent, one teacher, and one young student who studies education in their 4th year. They are deemed relevant because they are a part of the app’s user base. We included an upcoming teacher to test how they would like to use such an app in the future.
Tasks and scenarios
Du er en kontaktlærer for 5.klasse, og dere er på en skogtur, hvilket er en mer spesiell hendelse. Du vet at en del av foreldrene til elevene dine ønsker å få litt oppdateringer av hva barna deres gjør I skoletiden. Du tar et par bilder du ønsker å dele på tidslinjen.
- Logg inn på appen som en lærer.
- “Last opp” bildet med en liten kommentar og “se” at den kommer på tidslinjen.
Klokken er åtte på kvelden, og du har tid til å sjekke appen. Noen ganger er det aldri noe nytt å sjekke, men akkurat I kveld er det ny aktivitet. Du ser at en forelder har spurt et offentlig spørsmål tidligere på dagen, men at en annen forelder har svart bra på det. du kan kort skrive at svaret er korrekt, og kan bevege deg til private meldinger. Det er to foreldre som har spurt deg om noe, en om en elev og en annen om tid til et nytt møte. Du bruker et par minutter på å svare, så lukker du appen og kan fortsette med dagen.
- Naviger deg til meldingsboksen.
- Trykk deg inn på den første personen som har sendt en ny melding.
Du er en forelder til en 1., 5., og 7.klassing som går på samme skole. I lunsjpausen på jobb tenker du på den skoleturen 5.klassingen din skulle på den dagen. Du logger deg inn på appen som en foresatt, velger riktig barn å sjekke og ser en oppdatering fra kontaktlæreren på tidslinjen. Lenger ned på tidslinjen ser du et spørsmål en forelder spurte offentlig dagen før og du kan trykke på ikonet for å se kommentarer.
Samtidig som du er inne på appen, ønsker du å avtale et møte med kontaktlæreren til 1.klassingen din siden barnet ditt har lærevansker og ønsker en muntlig oppdatering. Du legger fra deg mobilen og venter til læreren har tid til å svare.
- Logg deg inn på appen som en forelder.
- Velg “Nora” og se oppdateringen fra læreren.
- Scroll deg lenger ned til et foreldrespørsmål.
- Trykk på ikonet der det står at det er 2 kommentarer. Se på kommentarene.
- Øverst til høyre er det et ikon der du kan navigere deg tilbake for å velge et annet barn. Velg deretter “Julie”.
- Gå inn på meldingsboksen og trykk inn på kontaktlæreren.
- Send en melding.
These tasks are important for us to understand the user, to test our hypothesis, and to see how our prototype can be improved.
We evaluated the testing by using the think aloud technique, so we can listen to what the user is thinking whilst experiencing the prototype. Additionally, the host can ask some follow-up questions after. We documented everything with an audio recording.
The teacher student
The participant seemed calm while testing. She thinks the login page is straightforward and says: “You don’t need to be an IT-student to understand it.” The design is like existing social media, which she thinks is nice because then you wouldn’t have to learn something completely new. The messaging system is clean and it’s just like any other messaging system a person with a smart phone has experienced. There isn’t much noise on the screen and it’s nice to get clear notifications when you have received a message.
After the few tasks were done, we followed up with some questions. When asked what she thinks of the application, she said: “It looks very professional in the aspect of a parent-teacher communication app. So, it’s important that it’s not identical to Facebook, because there must be a professional barrier too.” We asked her how she feels about the concept of having multiple communication methods in one app. She then answered it would be helpful to have one platform to focus on. However, one problem is that probably not everyone is receptive to have an app, though that’s maybe more the older generation. She says: “These days many people are on social media and are receptive to new technology. I think this is a nice solution, IF [every parent in the class] decides to join it.”
The participant was also asked about her opinion on checking the app after work. She recognizes the dilemma of needing to be there for the children and their guardians and needing to take a step back from work. She says: “There isn’t any right answer. I know from my experience that I would like to be ON all the time; however, it sucks to be that even when you have time off. I think [the app] could be a helpful way to communicate with parents.”
In the end, she adds: “The update function is nice, but it could be better if you have a function that makes you see which parent has seen the post. Because it’s difficult to know which parents receive the information teachers send home on papers.” Another thing that was pointed out was the size of the icons, about how they could be bigger.
During the testing, the participant said out loud calmly which steps she would do to reach the task’s goal, like in the login process the participant said she would have to choose teacher, which affiliation she belongs to, username and password, and then tap on the login-button. After the first scenario and tasks the participant said: “The thing I like is that it’s similar to things I recognize, like Facebook, and that way it’s easier for me to navigate. On the first page, however, I wished that I was already logged in as a 5th grade teacher, but at the same time it could be silly if I were a teacher for 3rd grade and 5th grade, so then it would be nice to have it like the first page is showing now.”
Once the tasks were done the participant told us what she thinks about the app. “You should hurry up and develop the app before anyone else does, since it is something that we need. [For classes], I use Facebook in a closed group which isn’t fully legal, so it would be better to use an app which has a more legal approach, which is good, then I would know that each parent is also in this, since some parents don’t wish to be on Facebook. I am also not interested when parents send me friend requests on Facebook, it’s better to divide private life and work life.” The participant then adds that she wanted to see what was on the app’s menu function, because on the prototype there was no content. Her reason for this was that the participant could give advice on what was missing or if there was any unnecessary content for the menu.
At the end the participant was asked for the thoughts on the overall design for the app. This made the participant wonder why the design was blue, was it to be like Facebook? And why are the users able to give likes? One of the observers then explained to the participant that it was for users to give a reaction on the post, but not fully like in Facebook where users get to react with happy or angry faces. The participant also thinks the design is boring, but not in a bad way, just that it’s simple and it’s hard to get lost.
The parent started the test by logging in choosing the parent option, but she spent a couple of seconds finding the login button. She then proceeds to choose the child she wants an update on. On the main page she can see the update the teacher posted and comment on it. She said that it was very logical and nice to use. She also pointed out that it was very natural to use because it was a little bit like Facebook, which makes it understandable for the participant.
After browsing the main page, she than finds the button back to change to another child of hers. She spends little time on navigating through the prototype and finding the right pages for the tasks. Lastly, she finds the private message box where she can communicate with the teacher and send a message.
After the test she shared her thoughts about the prototype. She said, “As a mom I would wish for a page where I have all my children at once and not just one page for each of them”. She thought this would be good, but she also recognized the fact it could become messy and not know what information is for which child. She said that the concept was good, and she thinks this is something that is needed in schools. She commented that it is a good thing to have all information gathered in one place, and that it would make it easier to keep up with everything. Lastly, she said that is good that there are two options to communicate where you can choose between sending private message to the teacher or publish something in the class page for everyone to answer. The option for parents to answer questions too, could strengthen the communication between parents.
The overall feedback of the design and concept was positive, except for a few minor improvements. All participants agreed and liked how familiar the app was to other social media they recognized, like Facebook. Therefore, it wasn’t too difficult to use– or navigate the app.
The participants said the application idea was good, because it’s more professional and legal in comparison to for instance Facebook. The participants agreed it would be helpful to gather multiple forms of communication into one app. It was also nice to have the option to either send a private message or ask a public question. It was mentioned that parents answering public questions could strengthen the communication between parents.
A participant mentioned that not everyone might be receptive to use an app. However, this might be more the older generation.
After testing and receiving feedback from all the participants, we gathered the information to find out if there needs to be changes to the current prototype.
- The teacher participant mentioned she would like an automatic login. However, though it’s not showed in the prototype, it is intended to be a function.
- Make content for the menu.
- All participants had some problems clicking on the icons, so it would be better to make the icons bigger.
- Maybe change likes to a “seen”-function that lets the teacher see which parents have seen the update.
- The parent participant said she would want a joint timeline, where she could view all the updates on her children, instead of having to go back and change to a different child every time. The updates would then need a small text saying which child or class this update belongs to.
According to the feedback we received from the three participants, our hypothesis for the app to make communication between teachers and parents more organized is correct. The application gathers multiple forms of communication into one. It is easy to contact a teacher, ask public questions, or give updates to the parents. The teacher can get an overview of which parents has received the information. Additionally, the design of the app is similar to existing social media, so it makes it easier to navigate the app, regardless of the technological starting point of the user.
The app is ideal for teachers and parents as a communication platform, and according to the teacher participant, we should “develop the app before anyone else does, since it is something that we need.”
The future plans for the app are to:
- Further develop and improve the prototype.
- Test the new prototype.
- If there are no need to change the new prototype, we could then develop it.