Class54 is an e-learning platform that helps students practice and prepare for standardized examinations in Nigeria using an adaptive learning methodology.
Only 40% of students in Nigeria who take the annual Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) pass these exams, with the number standing at slightly above 50% for the equally crucial West African Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Key Insights from Market Research
A deeper look into the problem above revealed the following:
- Only about 52.8% of candidates who sit for the University matriculation examination get admitted into the Country’s Universities.
- About 3.9 million candidates seat for the major Pre-college examinations in Nigeria annually. For example, in 2019:
- NECO: 1,160,541
- WAEC: 1,549,463
- UTME: 1,157,977
3. Students preparing for these exams fall between the age of 14–26
4. More than 80% of the Students in this category own a smartphone
5. Internet cost has increased in the last 5 years due to inflation
6. By 2021, Android phones constitute up to 86.8% of Smartphones in Nigeria, while IOS devices stand at 9.6%.
7. Below is an overview map of the user journey in the old paper-based way of examination preparation based on market research.
As the main Product Designer on the team, my role was to lead the market and user research, usability testing, design the user journey, flows, prototypes and visual design. I worked with a Product Manager, Frontend Engineers, Mobile App Engineers and other stakeholders to deliver on the product design.
The Product Goal
To build a mobile experience that helps secondary school students and other University admission hopefuls prepare with past and curated papers, detailed explanations, and relevant note summaries, connects them to share ideas and information on their academic pursuits and can also work well in arrears with poor internet access or 2G phones.
The Business Goal
To disrupt the textbook industry while grabbing at least 40% market share with a simple solution that’s a fraction of the cost of existing solutions.
Before recruiting the research participants, I had broadly divided the vital learning goals into four broad categories, namely:
- Understand the user’s Examination preparation methodology
- Understand their use general of technology
- Identify the user’s Online payment behaviour/Preferred payment method
- Familiarise with the User’s Cost behaviour.
Recruiting the research participants
From the insights gathered from the Market research, a typical user falls within the categories below:
- Age between 14 years — 26 years old
- A final year secondary school student or a secondary school (SSCE) graduate
- Plans to seat for any of the National Pre-college examinations
- Aspires to get admitted into any of the country’s institutions of higher learning
- Owns a smartphone or at least has access to a smartphone
- Persona find the current exam prep app/Textbooks expensive
- The person will prefer a personalized learning approach to learning
- Users prefer electronic learning methods
- The majority of users have a bank account or can get parents to pay on their behalf
Understanding the problem
Interview Data Synthesis (Clustering)
Using the affinity mapping method, I arranged vital points from each user’s responses around common themes using Miro.
Based on the patterns drawn from the synthesis of the various user responses, I was able to better refine a user persona that better depicts the need, pain points, Motivation and personality of our typical user. The user persona is in two major categories:
- The Secondary school student
- The school leaver (or secondary school graduate)
User Journey Map
Below is the journey of the user in the new way of examination preparation.
Designing a solution
Sketching and wireframing
After working with the Product Manager to map out the user stories and put together a clear picture of the user journey, I drew a rough sketch of how the screens could look. Next, I designed high-fidelity screens for better clarity and to test them with the users more effectively.
After two rounds of design critique with all stakeholders in-house, especially establishing engineering feasibility, business viability and product priorities, the high high-fidelity screens were made into clickable prototypes in Figma so that the user can interact with them and I can get better insights.
I asked them to carry out a number of tasks while I watched them and took feedback. I also asked them to think out loud while they carry out the tasks.
Remotely testing the designs with the users was very tedious as the users had limited access to the internet. We used a combination of moderated and unmoderated tests. I also had to use a combination of Whatsapp, google meet and recorded videos in order to test them and get unbiased data that can be relied on.
Key Learning and Findings from the testing
I learned the following through usability testing:
- The users wanted an experience that is close as possible to the real-life examination conditions (either computer-based or paper-pen examination)
- Being a low-trust society, the subscription flow isn’t complete without a way to reach out to the company before making any form of payment. The users need to establish the legitimacy of the company first.
- A Text-to-speech feature on the test practise screen is a very valuable feature because some of the questions may be text-heavy and it also helps in the case of someone that might be busy or physically impaired to read.
Here are the final screens designed after the iterations from User testing:
Now that the first version of the App has been launched to the beta users, the following will be my next line of action:
- Keep monitoring the behaviour of the beta users via tracked events through firebase, google and apple analytics.
- Work with the engineers to test (design QA)the components built, the flows implemented, the interactions and the overall experience.
- Continue follow-up research sessions with a pilot user group (mostly the participants of the usability test) on a two-week cadence as required.
- Design and test the features erstwhile moved to version two of the app.