Prototyping for Watertown Public Schools


Description Collaborated with another UX designer to provide design guidance and prototyping for a marketing team developing a solution for school-community communications
Client  Watertown Public School District [via Bentley University]
Date  Spring 2018
Role UX Design
Skills Interface design, Interaction design, Prototyping
Tools UXPin
Prototype URL Parent & Community App
Admin Interface

The Challenge

After receiving a briefing about the major challenges faced by the administration of the Watertown Public School District, joint teams comprised of HFID and Marketing students collaborated to propose and prototype a solution to address the chosen issue. Marketing teams were charged with concept generation, market research, and a business plan, while two designers provided input on the concept, user-centered design practices, and usability issues, as well as interface design and prototyping.

Problem Statement

School-parent communication is often fragmented, impersonal, and unidirectional. The result is that school communications are frequently overwhelming or overlooked, with little opportunity for feedback from parents and guardians. How might we improve school-parent communication methods to better facilitate the transfer of important information in an accessible format to streamline communication and encourage engagement by parents and community members?

Process Highlights

The project began with background research, persona creation, competitive research, and feature prioritization exercises. As we gathered better information through research and talking with potential users, the concept shifted and the features were further refined to produce a prototype of the final proposal for presentation to the Watertown School District.

Market Research

Excerpt of results from a survey of local parents

After outlining provisional app specifications, the marketing team had the opportunity to conduct research towards proof of concept. Individual interviews were conducted with several members of school parent-teacher organization leaders to better understand their pain points and operating procedures. Additionally, the design team had the opportunity to help shape the questions for a survey distributed to local parents of school-age children regarding their school involvement and communication preferences. Findings from this research significantly impacted the direction of the project, sparking a pivot from publicizing school board meetings and announcements to an integrated school communications platform.

Design Iterations

Early sketched prototypes helped to specify design ideas and features, improving communication between team members. As the concept solidified, clickable wireframes provided a platform for testing and continued discussion among stakeholders. My work focused on building out the news & updates, events, and notifications features as well as the overall structure and navigation.

Evolution of the app home screen and navigation over time, reflect changes to the overall concept and feature set

The Solution

Our final prototype presented to the Superintendent of Watertown Public Schools consisted of a community-facing mobile application and its web-based administrative interface, each crafted to address the specific needs of these user groups.

Parents can:

Administrators can:

  • See all school-related information and events in one location
  • Easily save, share, and sign up for events
  • Receive customized notifications based on personalized topics of interest
  • Translate app contents to preferred language
  • Use a single platform to manage all types of communications
  • Easily create and manage news updates, events, surveys, and volunteering opportunities
  • See view counts and analytics for posts to guide future directions