The Breif

‘Blackboard Learn’ is the institute’s Virtual Learning Environment— Its main purposes are to add online elements to courses traditionally delivered face-to-face, to develop completely online courses with few or no face-to-face meetings and to collate and grade assessments. Continue reading “The Breif”

The Team

On September 27th we were assigned our team, my team consisted of myself, David Sheridan & Maria Treacy. David has a background in digital product design, while Maria has a background in fine art  and graphic design.I have a varied background  in Graphic design, web development, and management. Continue reading “The Team”


As part of the first stage of the brief the team was required to create Personas which represented typical users of the Blackboard Learn system. Each member of the team decided to create one Persona each which we would then collectively refine as a group. We used a Google site for the collaborative storing of research and Xtensio for persona creation.

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Competitor Analysis

After completing an individual review of Blackboard Learn the team carried out  user research covering various areas and using a variety of research techniques.  This research covered user observations, competitor analysis and student surveys, and was eventually combined with the previous initial review to aid us in identifying the key issues. Continue reading “Competitor Analysis”


After identifying our key problem area email as well as the secondary areas of calendar, navigation and confidence. We set about gathering user research information on email use, through online research and surveys and user observations. We used this information combined with our personas to aid  us in creating scenarios which would help define features and functions, highlight current issues and focus our efforts on the end user goal.

Continue reading “Scenarios”

Primary Problem: Email

From the four problem areas, we decided to address the issue of Email. Our secondary choice had been the calendar functionality but we felt that email afforded the best opportunity to address not only the key issue of email but also the calendar, navigation and user confidence issues, through the standardisation and consistency of user interface controls and the integration of calendar event functionality within email. We used the following research techniques and tools to clearly define and record the key issues with the current email system

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User Observation & Survey

Our user observations were made up of users from both a college background and those who are not currently in college, IT literacy for all was reasonably high, which reflects our personas level of literacy. They were all given the set core task of logging into Blackboard and sending an email with some carrying out minor extra tasks. We also carried out a user survey of IADT students to obtain further feedback on issues and desired functionality.

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Iterative Design

For the iterative design phase we had some key pain points which needed to be dealt with as well as the integration of various desirable functionality which would aid users in achieving their goals. We needed to come up with a general idea of how we would tackle these issues and ensure that key tasks and goals where addressed before moving to our first iteration of the paper prototype.

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As a team and as individuals we had a large volume of work to complete with some of us having experience of various areas and others not. We managed to work collaboratively, supporting each other when we encountered areas various team members were weak in. It was an extremely tight deadline but also very rewarding and extremely educational. Continue reading “Reflection”

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