Empowering Students to Succeed
ECoach is a $1.9 million NSF-funded web application that provides undergraduate students with individualized resources to help them succeed. ECoach has been shown to improve student grades by half a letter grade or more. I led a complete redesign of the user experience, drove the creation of a style guide and visual identity, and art directed a graphic designer to bring it to life.
Client: University of Michigan
Role: UX Design & Research
Platform: Web App
Timeline: Fall 2015 – Spring of 2017
This project had two main goals— to improve the student experience using ECoach, and to create a framework and visual identity that would allow it to scale. ECoach was just one of a suite of student-facing tools being developed at the University of Michigan’s startup incubator, so it was important to seamlessly integrate these disparate experiences under the same visual umbrella.
Another big challenge was differentiating the ECoach brand from other educational platforms, like Canvas. Based on user research, I designed a color scheme and selected typography that felt lighthearted and inclusive. By differentiating the color palette and illustration style from traditional University of Michigan offerings, I created a visual identity that was flexible enough to work at any college or university.
Undergraduate students are bombarded with information, and ECoach cuts through the noise by delivering a hyper-tailored experience. However, the previous design felt fragmented, and navigating between tools within ECoach elements was a challenge. I began by creating a map of the entire system to show where different things connected, as well as to surface pain points in the experience. Based on this understanding, I sketched and iterated in close collaboration with the lead software developer and behavioral scientist, and conducted interviews and usability tests with both students and professors.
ECoach has now been used by over 25,000 undergraduate students at the University of Michigan and UC Santa Barbara, with plans to expand to additional campuses across the U.S. In addition to an improved onboarding experience, the redesigned ECoach makes it easy for students to find the info they need at-a-glance with minimal clicks, while allowing instructors the flexibility to prioritize the things students see first.
New York Times — Will You Graduate? Ask Big Data
PBS News Hour — Can just-in-time advice keep more college students on track?
Detroit Free Press — Coaching software lets University of Michigan tailor help to students