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.

Our Scenarios

Before jumping straight into the creation of our scenarios we created a problem and vision statement which would help easily represent our prior research in a condensed easy to reference and digestible format. While at the same time encapsulating our personas  needs, goals and expectations (Cooper et al., 2014;).

Problem Statement Vision Statement
“Blackboard Learn’s” current email/messaging solution does not follow existing email patterns that users expect and is therefore difficult for users to understand. It is bloated with unnecessary and obscure functionality that puts increasing pressure on user’s cognitive load, through the addition of excise tasks. It does not provide an inbox to receive emails and does not integrate with other functionality on “Blackboard Learn”. The email/messaging functionality on “Blackboard Learn” should make sending messages to tutors or other students easy and quick to do with clear visibility of when messages have arrived. It should provide as much seamless interaction with other areas of “Blackboard Learn” as possible so as to remove unnecessary administrative burden from the student or Tutor.

With this complete we constructed a total of four scenarios. Our research helped inform all four of our scenarios with the first two being indirect scenarios, or scenarios which describe an envisioned futuristic situation (Preece et al., 2015; ) or as Copper et al. (2014) describe it, “Imagining its magic” so as to simplify the interaction as much as possible and providing the possibility for novel solutions.

Scenario 1: Dave (Primary Scenario)

Dave is travelling from work to college via public transport. He realises he needs to check his fellow team mates have confirmed they will be an hour early for class so they can review the current state of their project work.
He has is tablet with him so calls up “Blackboard Learn” to review his emails. He opens the email functionality and checks if he has received any new emails, one of the team members Jen, has confirmed. The second team member John has not replied so he decides to send another email just in case, to confirm the Time and location.
He creates a new email and adds John as the recipient, he then enters the time and location again just in case. Before sending it he sets a priority level and notification alert for when its read.
When the message is sent the application adds a reminder to Daves calendar for this event and links to the associated document. Daves bus is delayed in traffic, 15 mins before the meeting the application alerts him to the time and asks him does he wish to reschedule. Dave confirms he does and the application asks him for an updated time.
The application then automatically informs all of the relevant team members that Dave will be late. When Dave finally arrives at the new time the application automatically displays a list of all the Team members associated with the meeting as well as links to the relevant documents.

Persona David
Motivation Not sure the team is aware of earlier meeting time
Intent Wants to make sure team is on time at location
Action Opens Blackboard, reviews received emails, sends an email
Resolution Confirmed one team member sends priority email to another
Details This is a task that’s been completed previously, David is probably in a rush and is also mobile, does not want to be late himself.

We chose Dave’s scenario as the primary scenario as we felt Anna’s expectations and needs are fulfilled by it.

As part of the further definition of this scenario a empathy map was created which helped bring the user to life and give us deeper insights into the persona.

Dave Empathy Map

Scenario 2: Anna (Secondary Scenario)

Anna has to present her college work tomorrow but hasn’t had a chance to finish it yet as her child has been sick the last four days and her and her husband have been busy looking after her. She needs an extension on her project so she needs to email her lecturer. She signs into blackboard and goes to her emails. She searches for her lecturer Shirley in the directory, and writes her a message explaining her predicament. She then attaches a copy of her daughters doctor’s note as proof of her situation and CC’s the head of her course to include him in the conversation and speed the process along. Within a few minutes she receives a reply saying that her extension has been accepted and a new date for her to submit. She adds this new date to her student calendar from the email and closes blackboard.

Persona Anna
Motivation Her child has been unwell
Intent Email her lecturer about an extension
Action She signs into blackboard, opens her email, searches for her lecturer in the directory, writes the email, attaches daughters doctor’s note, CC’s Head of course and sends email.
Resolution Lecturer replies, accepting the request and sends her a new date for her submission.
Details This is not her first email sent from Blackboard, but the first time she has tried attaching a document. She is worried about her daughter so was glad when everything went smoothly.

Scenario 3: Dave

Dave has a final assignment which his team members have agreed to review for him before submitting. He is at home after a days work. The team have agreed to be online at a certain time so that the assignment can be reviewed and and feedback provided to Dave. Dave opens “Blackboard Learn” on his tablet and calls up the email /messaging application, he has his assignment on Google docs. He creates an email and attaches the assignment, and then adds the teams members using the recipients list. He then adds a short message and sends it.
After an hour he checks his email/messaging to find Jen, one of the team members has replied. He opens the message, reads the comments in the message. The messaging application asks Dave if he wants to update his version of the document with Jens comments. Dave confirms he does.
While doing this an email arrives from John detailing his comments on Dave’s assignment, Dave reviews the comments and also notices there are useful images of charts attached. Dave once again allows the application update his version of the document. Dave then responds to both Jen and John thanking them for his comments.
Another message arrives from John asking Jen were she got information for one of her comments she made on Daves assignment. Jen responds to John with a link to a relevant site and a copy of a PDF for reference. Both Jen and Dave then sign off.
Dave asks the application to remind him to review the link that Jen posted and to show all attachments from both the team members. Dave then also signs off.

Persona David
Motivation Needs to have the team review his assignment
Intent To get feedback
Action Opens Blackboard, accessing email, sends assignment, reviews emails, updates assignment
Resolution Gets feedback from team members via email
Details This task has not been completed previously, this is Dave’s first assignment submission. Dave is at home and comfortable but tired from a full days work so would like to preform this task as quickly as possible.

Scenario 4: Anna

As part of her Child Welfare and Protection course Anna must complete a number of hours of work experience during the year. She has arranged to work in local community centre that provides after school activities for disadvantaged children. In order to document her hours and keep the people at the community centre informed she plans to send her schedule via email to a number of people at the end of every week that she works there.
It is the end of week one, she has just put down the baby at the end of a long day and is relaxing on the sofa with her husband when she remembers that she needs to send her schedule out. She decides to create a contact group on “Blackboard Learn” to make this process easier in the long run.
She has a couple of emails from people at the Community Centre and the contact details of another written in her notebook. She picks up her tablet and logs in to “Blackboard Learn”. She navigates to the Address Book and proceeds to create a new contact using the information she has in her notebook. Once that is added she creates a new group and names it ‘Work Experience Schedule’.
From there she is able to populate the group with the new contact and a couple of her lecturers. Then she goes to her eMail and finds the emails from the people at the community centre. From there she is able to add their details to her Address Book, as well as add them to the group. She clicks send new email and enters the new contact group into the recipients input field. She attaches her schedule, writes her message and subject and clicks send.
She then gets a confirmation that her email has been sent to group “Work Experience Schedule”. Happy that she has saved herself some time in the future she logs off.

Persona Anna
Motivation Save time sending emails
Intent Create group of contacts for a particular assignment
Action Sign in, create contacts, create group, add contacts to group, create new contacts from email, write email, attach document and send email to group.
Resolution Successfully created recipients group for emailing
Details Anna has not created a group before. She is very tired and wants to relax but sees the benefit of creating this group to save herself time later on. Unless the process is straight forward it might take her a while to figure out because she’s exhausted.


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