How We Started
insKru is an educational social enterprise with a mission. They want to create a teaching community in Thailand that can help to improve the whole Thai education system.
We began our collaboration with insKru through our design internship program. We shared a desire with InsKru to provide interns with opportunities to gain experience in a real working environment.
Our main focus was on improving insKru.com, a social space where teachers can have ideas and experiences. The platform’s ultimate goal is to build on the sharing culture among Thai teachers.
One of the pain points, when we started working with insKru, was that users felt good about sharing ideas and lesson plans. But not sure if it had an impact. Teachers in the community were also unsure if the ideas they shared could be used by others.
This is what started our journey with insKru. Our first goal was to emphasize the impact of user posts. We wanted to find better ways to promote that impact. This would then drive other teachers to share.
“How might we find the motivation behind sharing behaviors, to create a greater impact for users?”
To address the problem statement, MAQE’s discovery service with user research was completed with the following 4 steps.
Step 1: Learning More About insKru
We then talked to stakeholders in a half-day alignment workshop. This helped us gain a clear picture of the project scope and how we could best support insKru.
The workshop also helped us understand the insKru ecosystem and the core value proposition of the business. This included gaining insights into insKru’s four existing user personas.
Step 2: Learning More About insKru’s Users
We knew that the four personas had different needs that we could not focus on all at once. So we prioritized, and agreed to scope down, and select two personas in the first phase. We selected those personas based on what would have the biggest impact on the platform.
We gathered more details about the two chosen personas through a user journey workshop with the insKru team. This method helped us to better understand insKru users and discover their motivations. After the workshop, we adjusted both personas with more specific details. We used storytelling to add details and ensure consistency throughout the whole design process.
Step 3: Getting Closer To The Users
To discover the impact of sharing and the motivations behind it, we conducted in-depth user interviews. We also did some partial user testing of the existing insKru platform to gain more insights and view user behavior.
Before the interviews, we sent out a recruitment survey. After analyzing the quantitative data from the survey, we found different user behavior patterns. They were then categorized into two groups for the two selected personas.
Using the research analysis, we investigated and identified users’ pain points. We saw user’s needs, gaps and opportunities for improvement of the platform’s UX.
Step 4: Jumping Into The Solutions
We co-created design solutions with the insKru team and translated ideas into tangible prototypes. This helped us to visualize design recommendations.
With another half-day ideation workshop, we brainstormed ideas to customize solutions based on the insights we gained in step 3.
We also prioritized ideas and used quick prototyping so insKru could understand and build on them after the workshop.
In step 3 we discovered a lot about insKru users during our interviews. We analyzed the findings and shared them with insKru. This was so we could be aligned with user needs throughout the process.
As stated in the problem statement, we focused on digging deeper into the motivation behind sharing behaviors. We learned about teachers’ culture, values, obstacles, and successes.
Then we redefined user personas from the two existing groups we started with from these insights. We moved up to three personas, based on their different goals and motivations.
But, there was one commonality among them. While teachers wanted to share their thoughts and practices, cultural norms and beliefs held them back. There was a strong feeling that great teachers “can do no wrong” and always had to behave in a certain way. They always have to have a professional appearance and be role models to students. Teachers believed society would judge and criticize them. These cultural beliefs affected sharing behavior.
The cultural norms and attitudes transferred to the insKru platform. As teachers perceived insKru as another formal school. So these users did not feel safe enough to express themselves.
For example, users would very carefully structure their content and would only share best practices that had proven to be successful in the classroom. As a result, the real value and impact of knowledge sharing had not happened.
The Turning Point
It was at this point that we decided to change our problem statement, right in the middle of the project.
There were two main reasons behind this change.
1. We thought that solving the block and root causes of the sharing culture issue was a priority before moving on to other problems. Otherwise, we could fail in our ultimate goal of creating tangible impacts for sharing.
2. The initial problem statement was too broad. It lacked a specific target user and point to focus on.
We then investigated problems among the 3 personas, 7 problems to be exact. This method helped us see each smaller problem more clearly. It also made it easier for us to see step-by-step solutions.
Due to the limitations of the project timeline, we could not solve all problems, but we could tackle some key issues.
A New Focus
We updated insKru, then we proceeded to help them scope down and clarify the new focus by prioritizing the seven problems.
Though we could only focus on one problem at a time, we gave insKru strategic advice on dealing with the other problems.
We used a prioritization matrix to aid decision-making. With the overall impact on insKru weighed against approaches for website development.
From this, we chose a new problem statement. The statement was high-impact and more aligned with the platform improvement plan chosen by key stakeholders.
A new problem statement
“How can we help users have less concerns about quality and make them feel more comfortable sharing their content so they share their thoughts without fear of judgment?”
By creating a new problem statement the insKru team was better able to understand problem areas, the root causes of those problems and have a clearer overall direction.
How We Ideated
Based on the new problem statement, we co-created the solutions with the insKru team. By organizing a half-day online ideation workshop. This workshop brought the team all the way from a brainstorming session to translating ideas into quick prototypes.
The workshop consisted of 3 main parts. The first session was about warming up our creativity with the crazy 8 technique. The activity began when each person drew 8 inspirations within 8 mins, before switching to other people’s boards and combining 8 different ideas into 1 unique solution.
The second activity was 3 rounds of ideation. Attendees split into 2 groups, mixed between MAQE and insKru teams. Then we asked them to ideate on 3 different topics, from simple to more complicated ideas. Simple ideas would come from the problem statement. The second, magic power ideas, were to help participants be creative. The third, things that users hate, were used to view things from the users’ perspective and come up with new interesting ideas.
When it came to the final session, to make some ideas more tangible, we asked attendees to squeeze some more abstract ideas into realistic ideas. The ideas should only need limited time and effort to build. The teams had to vote, prioritize ideas and select 1 idea to develop as a paper prototype.
Through this collaborative process, we produced a lot of creative ideas that could be improved later. This helped to inform and create design recommendations. It also helped insKru get a feeling of ownership of the ideas. The best work comes from collaboration and it was rewarding to work with insKru in this way.
We developed the ideas from the workshop into 4 final ideas.
1. Spinning wheel plugin
Users can spin the wheel after they share and get rewards or points.
The intent behind this idea was to persuade users to start sharing by giving rewards. Thus becoming more familiar with the sharing culture on the platform.
We redesigned the user journey and flow. We also included the suggested process for the spinning wheel. The spinning wheel should take minimal effort to develop.
2. Guidelines to help users and a more user-friendly registration flow
An added feature of templates and suggestions for different types of content posts and a more user-friendly registration flow.
To encourage users to share with less reluctance and concern about imperfect content. In addition, redesigning the registration flow could reduce the number of processes when registering or writing new ideas.
We attached a set of templates and guidelines for different types of content. This helps users as they do not have to worry about their writing skills or making perfect preparations. Also, we shortened the user registration flow. This created a more informal vibe among users, with an effortless signup process.
3. Gamification features
This idea formed part of a gamification feature. This was based on insights that told us that users need to see tangible achievements. This also helps shift their focus from fear of judgment to playing games.
To increase user engagement, encourage sharing and increase engagement with insKru’s activities by creating missions and building a competitive environment among users.
We added a page for missions and a point system design.
4. Creating quick ideas
A free space for users to post quick ideas. Ideas would also move around the space. This idea came after getting some insights from users that the site was too static. Users felt the site was a bit like a quiet library, which did not foster creativity. More movement would turn the site into a community for chatting, collaboration, commenting, and sharing.
To change teachers’ thinking processes, cut hesitation before sharing ideas, and to reduce peer pressure. Building these new norms and a culture of sharing helps teachers see that sharing is easy.
We added a section where users can share their thoughts. The content can be changed to different themes. Anonymous users can also post topics on the homepage.
The whole process, from the initial discovery phase up to delivery, was a great collaboration journey between insKru and MAQE. Our partnership delivered 4 valuable ideas.
Not only will all the solutions be integrated with insKru’s current implementation plan, but the insights we gained will be shared with related teacher organizations.
We hope that our partnership with insKru will benefit teachers and create a meaningful impact on Thai education in the future.