Wise is an online learning platform concept, designed for adult students.
The idea for Wise came from my time as an adult education instructor and the unique challenges that I saw GED and HiSET students face when studying online.
Because of strict budgets and limited resources, adult education programs rely on online activities to supplement classroom time. These activities are not only necessary for making these programs work, they are also crucial for students to retain what they learned in class and to enable students to learn at their own pace.
Adult learners are a unique market, as there is no associated age range, gender or technological skill level. However, I knew that mobile needed to be a first class experience, many adult education students rely on their smartphones as their only internet connected device.
I interviewed instructors and students to learn about the shortcomings of existing solutions. While some of what I learned matched my exceptions, I was delighted to hear their unique perspectives. Interesting tidbits ranged from a desire to synchronously communicate with students to the fact that older students found interactive solutions more effective, while younger students preferred more straight forward point and click experiences.
My initial wireframes encompassed most of the project concept from my design documents and brainstorming. I laid out four distinctive paths.
The anonymous view, including the marketing focused homepage.
Student studying and testing experience. The heart of the project.
Class and course assignment interfaces for instructors as well as student progress tracking and analytics.
Messaging center and chat interface for tutors and teaching assistants.
Branding and Identity
While I did extensive user testing with hand drawn and printed wireframes, I began constructing a brand for my yet-unnamed student learning platform.
My initial market research gave me a variety of branching paths to explore. Due to the nature of the subject, many solutions use colorful, child-appealing graphics in their marketing–I knew that I didn’t want to go down that route because my project was aimed toward adult learners. However, I found their use of color and friendly language to be enticing aesthetically and conducive to interfaces designed for a wide variety of ages and technical skill levels.
After many revisions, I decided on a few concept directions. In the end, I chose an idea that rode the line between abstract and iconic. I didn’t want to go with something that has been done really well already, like the Duolingo owl or as notional as the Khan Academy logo. Instead aiming for a strong distinct shape and classic monochromatic color scheme.
Thus came the Wise logo. (The process of choosing a name also went through many revisions including Teeter [teacher+tutor], Abe and Wise.) My user testing showed students equated the Wise logomark to a sunrise, an eyeball or a rainbow, each of which are perfect associations for me.
The mockup and prototyping process for Wise lead to many interesting discoveries. I was forced to reevaluate interface paradigms that had been embedded in the project from the start, including altering the student dashboard page to be more information dense.
My goal with the visual design was to retain an air of friendliness while ensuring that the interface felt distinctly adult. I tried to emphasize the interactivity where possible.
View a screen recording of the Wise prototype below.
Wise has plenty of space to grow. In my initial mock-ups and prototypes I barely scratched the surface of what this concept could be. I am excited to continue to explore the idea and to continue to serve the education market with unique, intentional and thoughtful designs.