Now, more than ever, the user experience – how a person or audience feels while interacting with a product or service – plays an integral role in products and services utilized by all K-12 education institutions. To design and implement products and services that appeal to your ideal audience, you must first understand how these users, staff and families, will consume and use your products. Highlighted below are ways schools can benefit from learning more about and studying user experiences.

Families expect to interact with products seamlessly and efficiently.

By creating a deeper foundational knowledge about user experience, schools can determine when, where, and how technology is utilized by their families and in turn, design products to help them achieve their goals. Every interaction with your school, whether through your website or a third-party vendor application, must fit seamlessly within the flow of a parent’s life.

Understanding a parent’s “mental model” is also key when designing a product. A mental model is a user’s internalization of external reality that helps describe user behavior and actions within a context.

There are always opportunities to enhance your school’s user experience.

Every touch point with your brand builds and speaks to who you are as an institution, which leads to valuable interactions and an outstanding presence in the sea of competing schools. Your team and the vendors you choose to partner with should add to, rather than detract from, parent’s online experiences. These three areas can vastly enhance your user’s experience:

  • Customer service – Leverage every moment to cater to the needs of your students and their families. Understand and meet all of their varying needs through both in-house and third-party vendor applications.
  • Product user interfaces – Exceed your users’ expectations by understanding that the mobile moments of tomorrow will look different than the ones you experience today. Capitalize on this by anticipating and delivering what your families need (i.e., by enabling responsive design).
  • Advertising – Curate your school’s brand. Put your institution in front of as many prospective and current families as possible. One way to do this is by leveraging social media to reach parents.

Understand how mobility, security, and usability play an important role in the success of a product or service.

A mobile moment is a point in time when a user pulls out a mobile device with the purpose of getting information or completing a task in that exact moment. Institutions need to understand that a staff member’s mobile moment will be different than a family member’s but relevant content must be delivered and speak specifically to each audience.

Users don’t care about the complexity of the technology, even when engaging in tasks they recognize should be secure. Users expect things to work and for those things to work instantly. Families should be able to access information in the most transparent and secure manner. Above all, the system or operation should be simple for your audience to understand and interact with.

Ultimately, by understanding and studying users’ experiences, schools are able to enhance and make alterations to their products and services that improve the overall family and staff experience.

Arvind Jagannathan, Director, Digital Experience