Supporting Conversations for the Online Classroom
Project Overview
Summer 2020 I worked with a team of 4 designers to design a new collaborative learning tool for the digital classroom. Finding inspiration in other digital environments like online gaming culture, we developed a concept for a shared online space that allowed for fluid movement through different forms of classroom interactions.
#UXDesign           #ZoomUniversity
Introduction to Co_Lab
Since March 2020 there has been an unprecedented need for improvement in the way we work and learn remotely. In particular, schools have struggled to keep their students learning and engaged with video conferencing technologies. We have lost the sense of connectedness in the classroom.
What is Co_Lab?
Co_lab is an online communications platform built with an emphasis on creating a single connected space where students and instructors can interact naturally.
A New Model for Remote Video Call
With our model we hope to create one connected space that enables more casual forms of interaction and seamless transition between them.
Inspired by Video Games
Our approach was heavily inspired by video games with online communities. These pre-existing platforms have successfully created virtual spaces that allow for player interaction for years now.
We began collecting information from primary resources through interviews, surveys, and our own observations. Our initial research focus was turned towards physical classroom interactions and socialization, and replicating that in a digital classroom.
Survey Results
Students relied heavily on interpersonal activities to facilitate learning.
Survey Results cont.
Students struggled with engagement and discussion in the online classroom.
Backing it up with More Research
Formal Research has identifies "social presence" as a key element of the educational experience.
Applying Frameworks
After initial research, our team used a variety of frameworks to better understand themes and key issues with existing online education platforms. Our team also connected these themes and issues to social technologies and games.
Which visual is the most effective in communicating how the majority of the class feels?
If you are like us, you probably find the visual on the far right the simplest to read. It might lose some emotional granularity, but it is perfect for understanding things like mass agreement and confusion.
Testing Key User Flows
Our team focused on key user flows such as entering a classroom, starting a discussion, and asking questions to inform the application architectures we explored.

Ultimately, designing around these key user flows in Figma helped our team coordinate work. It also made it simple to transition to live user testing for the validation phase of our development.
Visual Design System
Since this platform is targeting the education space, we felt the visual design should be focused on creating clarity, trust, and transparency throughout the product.
Final Designs
Click through slides below to view details.