Connecting Classroom and After-School Educators

ThirdSpace 2.0 2014

Closing the Loop

Normally, there is little or no communication between classroom and after-school educators, making it difficult to offer consistent support for each student. ThirdSpace established this connection through a mobile social network that allowed educators to collaborate on the development of their shared students' soft-skills.

My Role on the ThirdSpace Team

  • User research with after-school program educators and students
  • User experience design
  • User interface design
  • Prototyping
  • CSS to kickstart development
The images for this project are mockups that were used to guide development. For that reason, they display placeholder text and imagery.
Launch ThirdSpace Prototype

Live Prototype Path

  1. Tap the Adult button
  2. Tap Skill Build at the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap Carlie Castaviore
  4. Tap Problem Solving
  5. Tap the Reflections text input field
  6. Tap anywhere on the soft keyboard
  7. Tap the Next button
  8. Tap Next again
  9. Tap Next to set the duration and involved people
  10. Tap the Post button

Being a 2.0 project, there were conventions already in place for the system. My initial task was to figure out how to evolve ThirdSpace from an iPhone to an iPad form-factor design.

Working under the direction of Mo Riza, I explored an interface that took advantage of the greater screen real estate afforded by the iPad.

Ultimately, we decided to go with a smartphone design because of their broader availability. Fortunately, some of the ideas and assets generated during the iPad design exploration could be adapted to a smaller form-factor.

Browsing class rosters.
A student activity view.
The menu to add a Shout Out, Look Out, or Help Out.
Choosing behaviors about which to give Brooke a Shout Out.

Evolution of the Smartphone Design

After the decision was made to abandon the tablet as a target form-factor, I translated elements to a smartphone design.

Somewhere along the way, iOS 7 was unveiled, prompting me to reconsider aspects of the ThirdSpace design to better mesh with the coming release while also fitting in with Android.

An app map (user flow) for the initial smartphone design.
The app map for the revised smartphone design.

Research with Students

As part of the validation process, we traveled to an after-school program in the Boston area, where we presented proposed flows to a group of middle school students. Being avid smartphone app users themselves, they provided some valuable input on the design of ThirdSpace 2.0.

A student group's ideas for organizing the app.
Another group's feedback on the flow we presented.

Supporting a Student

Educators choose what kind of support they want to offer, then the student they want to support. In the case of a Look Out, an educator is asking that colleagues keep an eye out for instances of the student having difficulty with a specific skill.

An after-school educator’s activity stream.
Choosing a student for the focus of support by other after-school educators.
Choosing the soft-skill you would like others to focus on with the student.
Adding a specific goal for the student support.

Collaboration with Development

To make it easier for the development team to realize the product as designed, I provided redlined mockups to guide element sizing and spacing, annotated user flow maps to make sure they could understand the organization of the app (seen in the Evolution section above), optimized graphical assets, and CSS for things such as type, color, and basic components.

The layout guide for sizing and spacing of UI components.
CSS to help the development team kickstart the front end.