Gooru: UX as a Service
Providing flexible UX research and design support to help students learn the way they do best.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Gooru’s mission is to honor and preserve the human right to education. To achieve their goal of making educational tools more accessible, Gooru is building a free personalized learning solution that helps teachers find, remix, and share collections of web resources for any K-12 curriculum. Gooru had the knowledge, relationships, and experience to drive this endeavor, but sought a partner to focus on bringing top-notch user experiences to both students and teachers. Initially, EchoUser helped Gooru with pieces of the experience; eventually, the team decided to overhaul all of Gooru from the ground up with the challenge of making the experience resonate for two very different users: teachers and students.
EchoUser assumed the challenge of creating a space in which both teachers and students could seamlessly browse and share resources.
We inaugurated the UX as a Service model with an explorative discovery month to understand Gooru’s UX priorities, distinguish the experience they wanted to create, and map out the ongoing UX work over the coming months.
In early research stages, we facilitated a discovery workshop to determine what key emotional drivers — or Guiding Principles — lay behind all things Gooru. Identifying these key pieces would help anchor future designs to consistent holistic experiences.
Next, we conducted a short design sprint to further comprehend how the Gooru development process works and determine how best to incorporate a UX process.
At the end of the discovery month, our team gained a deeper understanding of Gooru’s objectives and experience requirements and identified a list of UX priorities with probable timelines over the subsequent months. While the UX priorities were identified, the flexible UX as a Service model allowed for ad hoc changes in UX support as needed, and as further opportunities surfaced.
For example, the UX priorities were focused on designing features for the "back to school" release in September 2014. While design initiatives focused on these features, additional opportunities to conduct research with teachers and educators arose and allowed EchoUser to conduct a Design Jam workshop. This workshop paired teachers, educators, Gooru team members, and EchoUser designers into small groups to brainstorm and design ideas for new features and concepts to support students.
Expert Review & Research
The full conceptualization of the product, supported by rounds of comprehensive research, revealed the need for an extensive redesign. It was established that the team would tackle an overhaul of the entire experience, the first step being to deeply understand the current experience. This process kicked off with an “expert review” of the existing user interface, in which they evaluated aspects of the product that both did and didn’t work. We conducted further research to understand the needs of both user groups and developed personas to inform the design process.
Concept Design and Iterative Testing
EchoUser created several low fidelity concepts for the new Gooru 3.0, and — with the help of the Gooru team — iterated upon the designs to reach a concept we felt would best support the users.
Once a direction was established, the EchoUser team procured higher fidelity wireframes, and extensive user testing began to validate the refined concepts.
Our work with Gooru is ongoing — EchoUser and Gooru are driving towards releasing a new version of the product next year. Currently, EchoUser is focused on wireframing and user testing, with visual design advancements to come later on.