Hey UX Academy community! As you may know, we’ve long had a goal of making UX Academy the best online design program in the world — hoping to combine the flexibility and convenience of an online course, with the rigor and community of an offline program. With that goal in mind, we launched Group Hangouts in January 2016, wanting to build on the Slack community and provide a regular weekly forum for students to connect and discuss their work. Through ongoing feedback and Exit Interviews, we’ve heard that many students deeply value Group Hangouts — as an opportunity to connect with peers, talk about the design work, and form lasting connections with their classmates that last well after the course is over. As we grow the UX Academy community, though, we’re continually evaluating the Designlab product and looking for ways to improve learning outcomes, program rigor, and your overall experience.
In this post, we’ll outline how we applied the design thinking process to Hangouts — how we analyzed the strengths and weaknesses, our findings, and the resulting updates that will be coming soon.
We think this post will be of interest both as a product announcement, and as a peek into our own design process as a team.
We approached some colleagues of ours with a deep background in academia and industry design leadership to review our product for curriculum rigor. The project consisted of the following steps:
- Reviewing current Hangout instructional materials for students
- Reviewing current training materials for facilitators
- Chatting with Hangout facilitators before sessions
- Auditing Hangout sessions and observing student and facilitator behavior
- Reviewing findings with the Designlab team
This short 2-week research sprint generated some rich insight that we’ll be using to inform enhancements to Hangouts.