When members of our Teacher Council welcomed students back this fall, they weren’t necessarily excited about all the new edTech products that arrived over summer break.
Yes—even tech enthusiasts get edTech product overwhelm!
That’s because teachers face big challenges integrating new edTech products into their day-to-day teaching.
Not only are these users short on time, but they’re also tasked with making a lot of changes to their lesson plans to accommodate new technology.
That’s why allowing user experience (UX) research findings to shape your MVP is so important.
Below, we’re highlighting some of the most significant user research findings from our recent report, How to Give Your Users Better Tools for Back-to-School.
You’ll get the user data you need to design more effective features, make stronger business decisions, and create better product roadmaps.
After all, if teachers are maxed out in the fall, they can’t give your product the time, attention, or engagement you need for your tool to be successful.
Let’s dive in.
What UX research findings reveal about teacher pain points during back-to-school
Over and over, our user research findings illustrate that teachers are chronically short on time while they’re at school.
This is never more true than at the beginning of the school year.
In the fall, administrators roll out changes to the curriculum or to district-wide protocols. They also introduce new edTech products or put new expectations for technology use in place.
The result? Teachers scramble to recreate tried-and-true systems in new technologies—or completely change their process for engaging with familiar software.
If you introduce new features during the fall, you can unintentionally complicate this process. This will make it less likely that teachers will be trained to use your edTech product well—or use it effectively at all.
The biggest mistake we see with fall edTech releases—and how UX research can help
edTech companies frequently schedule their product launch dates and feature roll-outs right as the school year begins.
Our latest research report illustrates how challenging this is for teachers. That means it might not be the best business decision for your company, either.
Understanding both teacher needs and edTech buying cycles can help you prioritize features more effectively throughout product development.
Instead of introducing new features at the beginning of the school year, focus your design and development efforts on mastering the basics, including user research and onboarding.
With user research in hand, your product team will be able to improve and iterate on features all year long—making it more likely that these features are understood, used, and loved.
edTech features with the highest ROI for fall release—and beyond
Not sure where to focus your design and development budget to hit an MVP goal or targeted fall release date?
Here are two common product features the teachers we interviewed clamored for—and a business case for prioritizing them as you approach launch.
Well-designed onboarding features are never more important than at the beginning of the school year.
Strong onboarding user flows increase your engagement and help teachers streamline workloads. Since teachers will already know how to use your product, they’ll have to take fewer product trainings, too.
Here’s a common scenario: a school administrator—most often the edTech buyer for their district or school—kicks off the school year excited about a new product.
Perhaps they’ve sent several leaders to product training over the summer. Or perhaps they’re planning on holding professional development sessions throughout the beginning of the year.
This approach typically leads to three challenges for edTech companies:
- Not all staff have “bought in” to the idea of using your product in the first place. (Remember: edTech buyers are typically school administrators who make decisions for everyone.)
- Not all staff are trained deeply or well on your product.
- Your end users have to deal with product overwhelm.
Great onboarding features can alleviate the lack of training teachers receive at the beginning of the school year.
They can also make it easy for teachers to get set up quickly and use as few features as possible to be successful in their day-to-day.
The more your team eliminates frustration for busy teachers who simply need to get started, the more likely your users are to stay engaged—and use additional features as they have the time.
Well-designed rostering workflows help teachers organize student details and manage their classrooms.
By investing in this feature during your product MVP, you’ll help streamline teachers’ workloads—especially if you leverage existing rostering tools by allowing teachers to sync with products like Google Classroom or Clever.
If you do a good job creating rostering features that support the majority of users, you’ll even reduce the number of support tickets your customer service team receives, freeing up these team members to better support users during their day-to-day experiences.
How UX research findings can help you save on your design and development budget
Investing in the most popular integrations for your user base is by far a better use of your development budget than recreating those tools for your own system.
For instance, while teachers love the ease of collaboration-based tools, like Google Docs, it’s likely not a wise use of limited time and budget to recreate the wheel.
Instead, put your development budget behind crucial API handshakes, so teachers can continue to use tools they love—while also engaging with yours.
No matter which features make the cut for your fall MVP, take the time to ground your ideas in qualitative user research. Collect additional feedback from sales and customer service, so you get a full picture to inform your decision making.
When it comes to giving teachers the product features they’ll want to use, the answers are out there. Most often, the solutions lie with users themselves.