Design Research, Google

Google for Education

After each interview, I go over my notes in multiple colors to highlight quotes and surprises.

After each interview, I go over my notes in multiple colors to highlight quotes and surprises.


DESIGN RESEARCH: Google for education, Mountian view


Project Challenge and Goals 
Google for Education wanted to improve their products for K-12 teachers, and I was asked to help. I conducted preliminary research and then guided the 20-person team through prototyping and testing solutions during a one-day workshop.

Research Approach
Through user reviews, competitor analysis, and product testing, I gathered context. I identified 5 educators who were "super users" of Google's education products and who worked in diverse school settings and interviewed each one. Pulling out key observations, surprises, emotions, and quotes, I identified major themes and crafted them into insights. I formed actionable brainstorming prompts from the insights for the workshop and created 3 videos of interview footage to help attendees empathize with the teachers. I also invited 6 teachers to the workshop to provide live user testing of the workshop attendees' prototypes.

Teachers take great pride in their ability to "read" students as soon as they walk in the door and to adjust and improvise curriculum accordingly.

"You have to be able to read the students, make eye contact and decipher, 'is today going to be a good day or a rough one?' You have to be adaptive."

"I need to know what they're ready for, where they are. That's my role as their guide."

However, when moments that call for improvisation occurred, like when students were confused halfway through a lesson, teachers felt angry and resentful. When teachers feel they have failed to adequately predict students' needs, it threatens their identities as expert guides.

For the workshop challenge, I asked, "How might we help teachers feel ready when faced with an opportunity to improvise?"

Google for Education teams left the workshop energized by the conversations they had with their users (most had not spoken to a user before) and several teams were already discussing desired product changes based on learnings from the workshop.

My Role
The client managed logistical support and provided access to teachers, and I completed the rest of the work, including all user research, synthesis, communication of findings, and workshop design.