SUPPORT STUDENTS IN SELF-ASSESSMENT
FOR OFFICIAL MASTER DIGITAL DESIGN ASSESSMENTS.

Project details

Year: 2018 – 2019
Duration: 6 months
My Role: Project lead, User Research, UX Design, Concept creation, Development, Team leading, Documentation
Clients:Personal project. Target group: Students of the Master Digital Design degree at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Team:Occasional collaboration with two designers (graphic design, frontend design)
Tools:Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop, Otter.ai, Microsoft Excel, PhpStorm, GitHub, Slack, Pen and Paper

Challenge

  1. Provide an easy way to get an overview of official assessment criteria
  2. Improve the self-assessment process of Digital Design students

Goals

  • Save students’ time
  • Improve students’ assessment results
  • Failure rate of 0%

Values

  • Empowerment
  • Transparency
  • Privacy

The Problem

The competence-based assessment of the Master Digital Design at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences required students to be familiar with 19 indicators, grouped into 5 competences and four grade descriptions per indicator. Towards the end of each term, students will try to self-assess themselves, to know whether they are likely to pass all indicators.

However, the PDF containing all information is not optimized for quick navigation and easy understanding but for completeness and is meant to be printed. In a Digital Design program however, many students view the document on screen, sometimes on mobile.

View the full PDF containing the competences.

Flaws in the document structure

The PDF often does not allow for easy multi-line text selection. This makes copy-pasting into other tools tiresome and frustrating.

Each competence has a section for the midterm indicators (assessment after winter term) and one for exit indicators (assessment after summer term). This structure is not an easy-to-work-with when preparing for assessments.

On the right you can see an improved structure I created. This structure is more intuitive to navigate and saves the students time.

Research

Since all my 23 co-students were potential users and part of the target group, I stayed in close contact with them. Often, I would create a short poll to learn more about their behavior and frustrations. Of course, I also learned a lot about their discomforts in personal conversations.

I also got more familiar with the assessment procedure from the point of assessors. I planned and conducted semi-structured interviews with four out of eight official assessors for the Master Digital Design.

From the insights I gained through conversations, written feedback and interviews, I created a backlog that was open to every student and assessor.
The backlog improved both, my planning structure, as well as transparency towards my target group.

Solution

The tool consists of mainly two views. One view displays an indicator of a competence with its level descriptions. Here, the user can select a level they feel they fulfill and take notes. The other view is a list of all indicators of a competence, with only the description of the grade, the user selected.

Early versions

Throughout the project, I aimed for small but frequent increments. This allowed me to gather feedback on small changes repeatedly. I also wanted my users to get comfortable with new versions quickly, which is likely to happen with smaller changes.

Below are example screenshots from the first prototype to the final version, showing how I optimized layout and color usage over time.

Responsive layout

Privacy and Transparency

I value the user’s data and privacy in my projects. The users of this tool were not interested in sharing their data with others. They were rather concerned about other people accessing their notes and the grades they assigned themselves. For this reason, I decided to store the data on the user’s device only, by using cookies. This way, not even the developers of the tool have access to the data and there is no need for sophisticated encryption and user registration.

Open the project on GitHub

It was important to me to show a transparent process in my project development, which is why the project code can be found on GitHub.
I encouraged my co-students to collaborate and indeed, a front-end developer and graphic designer contributed their ideas and some code.

Explore the tool live!

Enjoy the current version of the self-assessment tool!