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Swivl: Recap
Cross platform formative assessment tool for teachers and students
Responsibilities
UX Design Lead
Product Management
Background
Swivl is a pioneering edtech video company that makes professional development tools that are used to assess teachers. Since professional development only occurs a few times per year, Swivl wanted to increase footprint in the market by developing everyday tools for students as well. The team consisted of the CEO, Lead UI Designer and myself.
Inspiring Student Learning

Recap is a free video response and reflection tool that launched in 2016. It gives teachers and parents insight into students’ learning and progress by introducing video as a quick, simple and everyday tool to collect student data. Recap provides evidence of student thinking, improves formative assessment, and supports personalized learning.  

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Leading the UX Design Process
Project Challenge:

Design an everyday K-12 classroom tool with a focus on virality

Interviewing teachers

My first step was to conduct interviews with K-12 teachers across a range of grades, subjects and economic status. My discussions focused on discovering the needs and pain points that they experienced on a regular basis. Based on about 20 conversations, I uncovered deep insights into the day-to-day challenges of being a teacher.

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Interviews were conducted remotely, in office and on location.
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“The best part about being a teacher is seeing my students' faces light up when they grasp a concept they had been struggling with!”

Persona of Mrs. Schmitt, 5th Grade Teacher
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Defining user stories

We synthesized the data from the research into themes, insights and user needs. Then we defined a list of user stories including the following:

As a teacher,

I want a deeper look into student learning,

so that I can know when I need to reteach a lesson.

As a teacher,

I want to engage my students in a variety of ways,

so that I can reach the students that learn in different ways.

As a teacher,

I want my students to be accountable for their learning,

so that they will put more effort into their work.

Prototyping with storyboards

We ideated around our user stories and found 5 distinct scenarios that we felt were promising. We built a series of storyboards and I conducted a second round of research. Each participant was asked to read and reflect on how useful the concepts would be to them. The feedback was insightful, and their misinterpretations were even more valuable. 

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Storyboards were a quick way to get the participants thinking through the idea.
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Refining the storyboards based on research helped us get to the right idea faster.
Prototyping with video

For our third round of testing, we refined our storyboard concepts and developed four explainer videos. The explainer videos reduced the likelihood of misinterpretation leading to stronger validation. Two concepts resonated strongly with our participants and we chose to proceed with the concept that had the broadest audience.

A video with a voiceover that described the ideas left less room open for misinterpretation.
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"It’s powerful to have students put things into their own words. Student’s seeing other kids explain things is often times better than me explaining things."
User Study Participant
Defining Recap's design principles

We developed these principles to use when making design and marketing decisions.

Mushy and
playful but not TOO mushy and playful that we can’t also be serious.

K-12 Classroom

Delightful moments of rewarding discoveries

Introspective, intimate, informative and social 

Accountability and student empowerment

Want to do vs. have to do

Seamless and Secure

Exploring task flows

I developed a series of task flows that were used to begin wireframing. I also used these to communicate the vision with the engineering team.

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Diagramming the sitemap

I created a sitemap diagram to narrow in on the screens that we needed to design. This sitemap was also useful to prioritize what was most important to be built in the alpha, beta and so forth.

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Prototyping in low fidelity

The design team and myself built interactive prototypes using Google Slides, Invision and Flinto.  We used the prototypes to test out the flow of the app so we could begin to hone in on the UI. We were able to share the prototype with more of the team and continue to communicate the vision.

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Prototyping in high fidelity

We developed a series of tasks for a usability test and developed a working prototype with recordable videos on the iPad platform. I handed off the engineering specifications  to the developers and the UI team provided the UI assets. With this functioning prototype, I was able to conduct a usability study to further validate the concept and uncover any remaining issues. Based on the feedback, we redesigned one of the key screens to streamline the user flow.

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Launching as a closed beta

We launched Recap as a closed beta to a select group of teachers. I kept a close relationship with our users through our Zendesk account and worked with marketing for our social channels. I monitored quantitative data through Mixpanel and Amplitude.

I also ran a usability study to discover insights from the marketing website and the initial user experience of the app.  

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"Recap has made me realize that just because I think my students have understood a concept, does not necessarily mean that they do. Recap is the ultimate test of knowledge—especially in math. If you can verbally justify an answer in math, I believe you truly understand the concept."
Recap Beta User
Beta Feature Survey

Two weeks into the beta, we compiled a list of feature ideas that we were considering based on the feedback we were getting. We decided to run a survey to see what our users had to think about them. The survey asked users how often they would use each of the features. With this data, we were able to sort the best ideas into a priority order.

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Outcome:
In under a year, we went from concept to several hundred thousand users.
Spreading the word about Recap

Soon after we opened the beta release, word about Recap was spreading. A popular podcast, The Teachercast Podcast invited me onto their show and interviewed me about the development process and had me do a walkthrough of the product. 

Presenting at conventions

Teacher conventions were a popular way that educators learned about new tools. I presented Recap at the TCEA technology in education convention.

Teachercast PodcastKrysta Curtis talks Recap
00:00 / 16:25
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Teachers and students love Recap

It's heartwarming to see the outpouring of love for Recap!

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