Heather Prime
UX Designer & Researcher
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IA refresh, Startup Education

Startup Weekend Education UX Design Case Study by Heather Prime

Startup Education | Creating community 

Project Summary

Client background

 Startup Weekend Education is a global community of passionate individuals who are adamant about shaping the future of education. Members of this growing community include educators, entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and policy makers. 

They leverage entrepreneurship to shape the future of education.

Startup Weekend Education is a 54 hour hackathon with the goal of launching educational start-ups in just one weekend.

Challenge

Help Startup Education’s passionate volunteers form and sustain communities and generate energy around ed-tech in their areas. 

The resources required to run a startup weekend are buried in their site, inaccessible and un-cohesive. 

 

Solution

Amend the current site structure to allow for a more seamless sign-up flow for those interested in hosting an event and an intuitive home base for organizers to find helpful resources at their disposal.

Provide community leaders with the resources needed to build their communities and the tools to share their best practices with each other.

Research

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Stakeholder interviews

To get into the mind of an ed-tech community member I spoke with 9 stakeholders.  These includeded community leaders, Startup Weekend organizers, startup founders and representatives from other ed-tech and community building initiatives.

I interviewed them about their experiences in ed-tech, their day to day pain points, and how they approach building their community. 

"The Startup Weekend tools were hard to use and not cohesive"
"We need someone to step it up"
"I'd like to know what works and what doesn't"

 

 

Research synthesis

Narrowing down the personas

As we continued to interview, three types of community members rose to the surface.

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COMMUNITY BUILDER

  • Inspired to grow local community
  • Running local meetup solo
  • Seeking members
  • Needs advice & support from established communities and leaders
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COMMUNITY LEADER

  • Leader of ed-tech community (meetups, bootcamps, startup weekends, etc)
  • Has advice to share with community builders
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SUPER CONNECTOR 

  • Is in an established community
  • Advisor role
  • Connection point between ed-tech, K-12, local district gov
  • Excels in strategically connecting the right people

User journey map

COMMUNITY BUILDING PROCESS

I built out a user journey map to get a holistic view of the community building process and our users’ roles within that. 

The community leader guides the community through the process of connecting members, strengthening the network, and hosting events.

After the community gains enough momentum, they proceed into the final stages of community building and become a self- sustaining innovation ecosystem.

Narrowing down the problem

REFINING INSIGHTS, NEEDS & SOLUTIONS

Solving all my clients needs, stakeholder needs, and community needs in one solution was not feasible. 

Instead of trying to solve everyone’s problems in the entire ed-tech community, my effort was better spent finding and building the most impactful solution, as well as the one with the most realistic change of being implemented by the client.

Developing the target persona

MEET CHRIS

To get a better sense of the needs of the community leader in this stage, Ibuilt out a more comprehensive persona. 

Tools: Empathy mapping, user journey mapping

 

NEEDS

  • Share best practices
  • Help running a Startup Weekend
  • Keep his community engaged

Understanding the current experience

SITE AUDIT

Once I narrowed down our problem we needed to get a better sense of how users were currently interacting with the StartupWeekend.com site. 

I did an audit of the current sites (Startup Education & Startup Weekend), going through the user flow of signing up to host an event, and then utilizing the provided resources.  I took note of key frustration points and observed 3 users running through the site.

OBSERVATIONS

FROM SITE AUDIT

  • Make the users flow more intuitive and decrease the number of clicks
  • Create one place for organizers to access all the resources they need

FROM CLIENT

  • Need to share tips after hosting an event
  • Place to access past organizer advice
  • Seamless transition from Startup Weekend > Startup Edu

Information architecture

SITE MAP

To streamline the application process, I connected both Startup Education home page and Startup Weekend to the same application and resource guide.

1st iteration

ITERATIVE DESIGN AND TESTING

Remote user testing

I was lucky enough to be able to test the design remotely with all of our original stakeholders. I got valuable feedback from people who were familiar with the original site and would use these resources in future.

FEEDBACK

“I was confused at first about having to pick a dropdown theme before applying”
“People will be inclined to skim this wall of text, maybe use another format?”
“What’s the difference between the step-by-step guide, the organizers checklist, and the toolkit?"

2nd Iteration

Startup weekend solution

IMPACT

Providing a central hub of resources and streamlining the sign up flow is imperative to the overarching success of future Startup Weekends. 

Startup Weekend is anticipating 1,205 events will take place in the next year alone. 

By, improving the rate at which the volunteer organizers use the resources, Startup Education is better poised to continue building local communities and generate momentum around ed-tech.

Future directions

NEXT STEPS

1. Site wide content audit an consolidation

2. Integrate the checklist with a personal calendar

3. Tag all content to increase search functionality

LONG TERM ROLLOUT

ONE GUIDE TO RULE THEM ALL

Working through our new design we recommend a long - term goal of one consolidated guide for organizers, both on the website and pdf version. 

This single guide will continue to establish consistent Startup Weekend expriences while building the Startup Education brand integrity and recognition.

LET'S GO MOBILE

I’d like to build out easily accessible mobile resources for event organizers to keep themselves oragnized during the actual weekend event. Real time feedback and advice would be immensely beneficial for Startup Weekend.

CONTINUING THE WORK

Immediately after presenting and handing off deliverables to the client, my team was asked to present to the global marketing team and the design team to kickoff development.