Design: Cindy Huang, Amanda Yang
Product: Jack Thompson
Operations: Gracie Jing
At Cornell, many professors utilize polling software such as iClickers or Learning Catalytics in class. They use this often in large lectures where it is hard to interact with everyone in the class. Some of the main motivations for polling during class are:
The goal of Pollo is to provide a free alternative to polling software through a mobile and web app. In order to compete with other software and get Pollo into classrooms, we wanted to investigate whether professors prefer a desktop interface to run polls during class.
I created prototypes and a user testing protocol to explore the opportunity for a web app. During the Fall 2019 semester I also worked on creating a design system and improving the mobile polling experience for students and professors.
We hypothesized that professors would only adopt Pollo if it had a web interface because:
We went into testing with simple prototypes so that we could get professor's real reactions to a potential tool, rather than just hypothesizing how they feel about polling.
Our goals for the study:
We sent an initial survey to Cornell professors to learn about the classes they teach, how they incorporate polling in them, and how interested they are in a new alternative. We reached out to the 11 professors who responded and interviewed three who volunteered. The interviewees taught large courses in Economics, Computer Science, and Information Science.
These are the questions we asked during user testing sessions to dive deeper than the survey questions.
Talk about goals of the session, Pollo at a high level, and consent.
Debrief responses to the initial survey and ask if they would like to elaborate.
We decided the first stage of development would be helping professors run polls from their desktop before designing the student side. From prior research when creating the mobile app, we learned that exporting attendance for their grading software and being able to easily make and start polls are the top priorities for professors.
Amanda and I worked to together to create a few high level explorations of the layout translating the mobile app to web.
We decided to go with Iteration 1 because it had the most familiarity with the mobile app. It also allows for consistency since the sidebar could be easily modified to display classes, sessions, and questions. However, we needed to add an intermediate dashboard for a group for professors to view and export data.
This flow tests whether professors understand how to create groups for their classes and individual sessions with questions for each lecture.
This flow continues from the last to test if professors understand how to run polls.
This is an experimental feature that tests whether professors find value in an alternate flow for creating questions. Quick add allows question creation on the fly with generic question names and automatic A-D multiple choices.
This study helped next semester's designers, Femi and Renee, to iterate on the question creation and exporting flows throughout Spring 2020. Pollo web was shipped in May (along with the iOS and Android apps) and the team is in touch with Cornell professors to use it in their classes! We are super excited, especially during a pandemic, to provide a free polling alternative that isn't restricted to being in a physical classroom.
We got some great responses from the professors we talked to, and even some wanting to test Pollo next semester. We will revisit some interactions when creating polls such as marking correct answers and adding questions, but also look forward to new opportunity areas. Some ideas on the list:
Designing for someone else. I had no idea of what it was like to lecture 300 students. Speaking with the professors who would be using Pollo taught me how to empathize with users who have a drastically different experience from myself.
Choosing the right tool for the job. I prototyped in Figma, which turned out to be a good level of realism and simplicity. We could simulate the app's interactions while not investing too much time and energy in a prototype that might not be the final build.
For all the details of the design process or my contributions on other parts of the apps, contact me!