Helping volunteer elementary school math tutors better track their students.
The volunteers at Math Corps work hard, really hard, to help increase students’ understanding of math. A large part of helping these students improve is tracking his/her progress and adjusting lesson plans to fit each student’s needs. ServeMinnesota came to bswing seeking a replacement for the multiple, disconnected systems they currently use. Tutors needed an easier way to report daily logs and monitor students’ progress. Because of the separation of apps and programs each tutor was using, logging tutor time was tedious and difficult.
Tutors were spending up to 10 hours a week reporting the work they done.
Understanding our Users
As with any project, our challenge was designing an app that would work for tutors ranging from age 18 to 65. Some very comfortable with technology, and others with little to no experience using a computer. We needed to simplify a very complex system and also help tutors accurately and efficiently log their time.
Ask the Right Questions
One particular element of the main dashboard was proving to be a bit of a headache. Each week, we’d present our solution, but it never seemed to resonate. During the second to last week of the project, we asked the client, “What is the purpose of this screen for the tutor?” A seemingly obvious question, but the answer did not match our current assumption. With the right question asked, a solution finally surfaced.
Don’t be just a doer, be a thinker.
When the project started, I was a doer—receive a list of design tasks from the project lead, complete those tasks, and report back. Had I not wanted to learn anything, this would have been a great way to proceed. I quickly realized I needed to get involved in the thought process of the project, and not be content simply finishing tasks. I began speaking up during stakeholder meetings and influencing the design decisions, rather than simply ticking checkboxes off a to-do list.