Patrick Schlafer

Nfoshare

Nfoshare is the mini-survey that creates moments of emotional connection in ten seconds or less. I began working with this small startup to build a platform that would track student sentiment throughout a semester and collect valuable insights that could help professors and other faculty reduce the number of dropouts. With such a small team, we were able to constantly experiment and evolve the product.

Nfoshare logo

As the first designer to join this team, I quickly jumped into improving the aesthetics of the interface to make it clearer for understanding and aligning it with current trends so it would be more appealing to the primary user—young college students. It soon became clear, however, that with the product they were offering (a facebook-like feed that was course specific and garnered little interaction from students or faculty) it would be very difficult to gather the clear data needed to analyze a students emotional path over a semester.

Dashboard

This led to the development of the Dashboard layout and the first major overhaul of the interface. This window-filling and completely responsive design made it very easy for a user to set their status with a few clicks and get an idea of how the other students were feeling with just a glance. Professors were given a similar view but with the focus on reflecting the live data so it could be easily used while in class.

the old dashboard
The first major design overhaul has a single view. Here a student can indicate their course status, vote on professor surveys, join support groups, and more.

The most dramatic change developed with the same trajectory as the last: simplification. After this initial major update, I visited students on campus to speak with them directly and gather feedback. From quick meetings with about a dozen students, plus email discussions with nearly fifty students total (as well as several professors), a clear picture emerged.

The Dashboard design had given more clarity into how the class was feeling, but the interface offered too many options. Because of all the things a student could do it was making them less willing to interact with the website overall. With the clear cumulation of responses, I believed we should focus solely on an experience that was smooth, painless, and even enjoyable for both the website and direct weekly emails.

Students

Professors

Streamline

the old dashboard
On login, a student is immediately directed to the Welcome page, which previews the four simple prompts for today.

And so, a simple 4-prompt survey was developed in AngularJS so that the user could glide through with only a couple of taps and only once per day. Professors are able to add their own questions into a group flow and special, more whimsical questions are also thrown in periodically. At the end of the sequence, a summary page is shown that connects their responses to their peers.

Survey

survey creation
Professors or managers can create their own questions that are given higher priority in the four-prompt series.
expression
For many questions, text responses would make it difficult to respond by intuition, causing hesitation and irritation. Instead, graphic emotes are used to evoke a natural response without the need to further translate the schism between emotion and language.
results view
After providing all responses for the day, the user is shown how their answer compares to that of their peers. In latter stages, this page will also allow anonymous communication between common groups (e.g. students struggling in a class).
emailed results
Every week, professors receive a cumulative update via email about the most important student responses that week. Again, easing the effort required for users to contribute to or access the site greatly increases its value to all other users.
mobile welcome screen
All views, including the welcome screen, adapts to smaller devices as well, even changing formatting or text in some cases. This was critical to spark engagement from our user group.
mobile flow screen
Simple emotes were used to provide a quick way for users to translate their current emotional state and smooth any barriers of use.

This move to focus on mobile and put all user attention on the primary goals of the company and application led to a large increase in engagement—over 50%! Follow up interviews with users, including both students and professors, also showed that removing the excess allowed them to gain more from the app themselves. Though several admitted the messages felt almost elementary, they appreciated the clearer message they received and were beginning to become more aware of what led to these patterns.

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