Physical Education (PE) leadership from within the KSDE were looking for a digital solution to their paper-based archive of PE activities and curricula. Collections of content were fragmented into thousands of three-ring binders distributed around the state, and compiled with little structure or consistency. The KSDE wanted to bring order to the chaos by creating a digital resource where PE educators could search and share content, and structure that content into actionable lesson plans. Accessibility and mobile-friendliness was a must.
To engineer a site that allows for convenient sorting and searching of available lesson content; allow for content to be discovered, gathered, customized, and exported into multiple deliverables such as PDF and editable Word documents. Also provide a workflow for digitizing current curricula and crowdsourcing new content.
To organize the masses of content into logical categories and subcategories, provide a simple interface for searching for lessons and adding them to a “cart.” The instructor must then be able to craft the lessons into a unique worksheet to teach from, including notes, checklists and customizations. The visual aesthetic must be modern, simple, accessible according to government standards, mobile-friendly, and must complement but not emulate the existing KSDE brand.
The jhP team interfaced with the educators and stakeholders who would eventually be using the service, got big-picture perspectives on how to best shape the product, and formulated a hierarchy to organize their wealth of content.
Ideation and Prototyping
With the help of strategic partnerships, the team immediately built a private interface for the KSDE team to digitize their content. Then, using the insights from the research phase, we established a content hierarchy and used it as the foundation of the interface. We built the experience from the ground up using inspiration from previous design work to guide the aesthetic. As we prototyped, we worked closely with the client to shape the functionality, the UI, and the user journey. The product quickly evolved from wireframe sketches to photoshop renderings and then to working code. The most robust aspects of the product were the Lesson Discovery interface and the Lesson Plan Dashboard, due to their unique requirements and complexity.
Build and Launch
After several rounds of reviewing and testing the working code, the product was beta tested with a core group of educators and leadership, who would then become the advocates for the product across the state. Finer points of the interface were finessed, informational content was added, and once fully approved, the product was assimilated into the KSDE digital infrastructure, and publicly launched on January 8th, 2018.
The feedback from the initial launch was overwhelmingly positive, resulting in product adoption by PE educators across the state. Although only intended for the Kansas market, in its first year of service the product engagement far surpassed expectations with almost 9,000 registered users in over 60 countries, with over 60,000 page views. Slight UI refinements and upgrades were made after the first year, and feedback and growth continues to remain positive. PE teachers across the state and around the world enjoy a wealth of shared resources in a powerful planning tool, shared by a now-more cohesive community.