Stakeholder interviews, part two: Feedback that improves design

Note: I’m Working Out Loud to document my learning journey around developing a digital learning course for the Master’s in Learning & Organizational Change program at Northwestern University. 

We conducted six, one-on-one interviews with MSLOC students who have a wide variety of experience in creating and maintaining a digital portfolio. Overall, there was very positive feedback. Interviewees generally found it easy to navigate the modules and felt that the structure was not overwhelming. That was a key hope, that this self-paced course wasn’t overwhelming for time-strapped students.

In a part one of this post, I identified the stakeholder interview process. This time, my favorite question was: Tell me what this section is asking you to do? It was valuable to get user’s descriptions to determine if their expectations met our intentions.

Our focus group identified key takeaways that will greatly improve the design. These included:

  • Adding in more context about what will be accomplished in each module, i.e. “at the end of this section, you will know how to do XX, XX and XX.”
  • Develop a FAQ for the resource page, making sure to add that there are no grades, address the time to complete the course and explain the “reading” tasks of each module and the “creating within WordPress” tasks of each module. 
  • Create badges that are awarded at the end of each module and ensure that they are fun and align with the MSLOC brand
  • Include more examples of WordPress best practices and explain why those examples were selected
  • Explain the pros and cons of purchasing a separate domain name and integrating it into a digital portfolio
  • Offer a “mark as done” feature so that they can track progress, most students will complete this course in small time windows, as they have the ability

Feedback was consistent that the sites should be as visually welcoming as possible and we’re working with Northwestern learning technology experts to determine what is possible in Canvas to add features. These might include:

  • Responsive banner images
  • In-page navigation tabs
  • Icons for special directions for specific cohorts
  • Tabs for additional information, including examples and resources.

A primary benefit to using these design elements is to continue to simplify the experience for users. We do not want lengthy blocks of text or lack of images or too many links to distract and discourage them from creating a digital portfolio.

Wireframe designs have been submitted and we’ll see what’s possible.


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