PowerCampus: Education Reimagined

Overview

Ellucian is a higher education SAAS (software as a service) company that caters to colleges and universities, their students, faculty and school administrators. They provide solutions for a variety of things, including grading, class registration, degree requirements and more.

Problem Statement

Ellucian hired Pixel Commerce to help re-evaluate one of their lower-impact products. The then-current issues were as follows:

For the redesign work, Pixel Commerce needed a new design system. Over the years, Ellucian acquired a vast array of software, resulting in an inconsistent suite of offerings. An updated design system would allow for consistency, heightened brand awareness, and would allow for rapid integration of future features.

PowerCampus was selected to pilot the new design system since its usage was lower compared to other Ellucian software.

Users & Audience

Core pages were identified for the primary persona: Students

It was decided that, although faculty, admin, and academic advisors were part of our personas process, Students were the primary persona from which all others would be based around.

Roles & Responsibilities

Pixel Commerce was hired to do the following:

  1. To define the design system components
  2. To redesign flows and add responsive behavior to pages
  3. To create high-fidelity prototypes for UX research and testing for core pages
  4. Work with existing team (stakeholders) to better define the experience and UX patterns.

Scope & Constraints

The scope of Part 01 was to design for the core pages. The majority of these screens were for the Student Persona:

  1. Login screen
  2. Dashboard
  3. Class registration
  4. Degree Requirements

We were allowed considerable amounts of freedom on the redesign. We could almost fully modify the experience. From the core pages identified, we partnered with two designers to fully flesh out the Ellucian Design System. The system we helped developed has, today, become the Prism Design System.

The scope of Part 02 was to take existing flows and to apply the new design system without modifying the experience.

Process & What We Did

We started by defining core student flaws. We wanted to adjust the experience to better cater to students using PowerCampus. The flaws with the previous core flows were:

After we defined the major improvements that needed to be done, we started working on the dashboard.

Dashboard/Login

The Before

The previous dashboard lacked a major feature, especially for students: actionable steps for the user to take next. It also doubled as the login screen; a logged out experienced was a simplified version of the page. With this design, Students weren’t always able to tell the difference between the two authentication periods.

The After

Login Screen

Immediate improvements are immediate. The new design is an individualized experience with a clear distinction between the two authentication periods.

Dashboard

Improvements to this screen:

  1. The Student now has immediate and actionable items to take. For this example, the actionable item is class registration.
  2. Clear information for classes and other calendar-related activities
  3. The student can view their current day academic progress towards graduation.

Class Registration

The Before

This flow for Class Registration, as critical as it is for the student’s schooling, was an incoherent mess. The original concept had a “cart”-like system that didn’t mesh with the act of registering for classes. You would search for classes, adding them to your “cart”, then complete the checkout.

This “Cart” system only served to confuse students. Few associated their classes with products one would find on an online shop.

In addition, information wasn’t prioritized or simplified. So, for our redesign, we did just that.

The After

STEP 01

For the redesign, when the Student enters the flow, they are greeted by default calendars. These calendars allow them to see what classes their friends have scheduled (in this example it’s Spring Quarter 2018). This social aspect was and continues to be an important factor in class selection and we knew that had to be reflected in the design system.

STEP 02

We also allowed for class searches to be done by class name, code or professor, which allowed for more search flexibility.

STEP 03

Now, when the Student adds a class to their schedule, they’ll be able to view their schedule in real time. On mobile, the Student is now able to click a blue bar which will expand to reveal the calendar in a modal-like view.

STEP 04

Once the Student registers by clicking “Register”, they will get a confirmation showing that their class is registered for the time period chosen.

This new design flow is simple, efficient and, most importantly, effective in providing Students with the information they need.

Degree Requirements

The Before

Degree requirements are an integral part of the Student experience. A clear understanding of courses and credits needed can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful college career.

The start of this design flow was an awkward search function. Text was emphasized that led the Student to the search form on the left.

After utilizing the search function, Students would be faced with this complicated page. Information wasn’t structured, easy to read, or comprehend.

The After

STEP 01

For our redesign, we focused on the actual Search aspect of the tool. The three dropdown menus were centered on the page and made larger. Once all three menus are selected, the Students are then able to view their degree requirements.

STEP 02

The new Degree Requirements information is bite-sized and to the point. We also added a focus on the minimum passing grade in the form of a letter which Students understood better.

We created many more screens for existing, less prioritized flows

About 100+ more…