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8 Billion Minds

Research Case Study
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The Product:
8 Billion Minds is a live learning platform that fosters knowledge-trading around the world at no cost to the user. Users can teach, share or learn subjects of interest in a casual or informal setting.
Learn. Share. Teach
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Project Duration:
May, 2022 - Dec 2022
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My Role:
UX Researcher/Designer
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My Responsibilities:
Usability Testing, Analyzing Data, User-Centered Solutions, Wireframes
CONTEXT/BACKGROUND
I worked at 8 Billion Minds, which is a free, live learning website as a volunteer UX Researcher and Designer. The site's goal is to make live learning accessible to everyone around the world. People can learn, share or teach subjects of their choice. Sessions can be formal teaching lessons or simply informal discussions about any subject within the human mind, from a few minutes to hours. All the users need to do is create an account and profile and start connecting with others.

The company was founded in 2017, and completed their alpha site in 2019 and the beta site in 2021, that is when I joined. I was brought onto the team to conduct usability tests on the Beta version of the site and to collect qualitative data to help drive the next design iterations, V2. I was able to understand and define who the users are, uncover top usability issues and create user-centered solutions. 
PROJECT CONSTRAINTS
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No Budget



No resources for research





Utilized friends and colleagues for usability testing.
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All Volunteers with Different Time Zones


20+ volunteers from 10+ countries and with different availability and schedules

Dedicated weekly hours and rotated times to accommodate everyone
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MY ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES
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Strict Deadlines



Strict schedule for live launch



Managed time and work efficiently to meet weekly deadlines
My role in this project was as a user researcher and ux designer. I was the only user researcher on the team. I lead the usability tests, and the end-to-end process, such as recruitment, synthesis, and user-centered solutions. Meet weekly with founder and ux designer to brainstorm and review weekly iterations. Created mid-high fidelity wireframes with second ux designer.

I was fortunate enough to work with an amazing team of talented volunteers around the world that included the founder, a second ux designer, product manager, and developers. We meet weekly to contribute to brainstorming and problem-solving sessions to redefine user needs/goals and enhance site's functionality.
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RESEARCH GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Why Usability Testing?
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Uncover Problems
in the design
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Discover Opportunities
to improve the design
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Learn about User's
behavior & preferences
The goal of this study was to access the learnability of new users interacting with the 8 Billion Minds beta platform. My objective was to observe and measure if users understood the site's purpose, value and ability to complete specific functionality tasks. 
What were the goals of the research project?
  1. To determine if participants could quickly and easily  understand the purpose of the site and the value it provides.
2. To observe how easy users could complete the
     onboarding process and sign up.
   3. To observe the usability of certain key features like the
       search for a subject/teacher, request a session, send a
       message and find resources.
USABILITY METRICS: SUCCESS RATE
Based on nngroup.com, the success rate is the percentage of tasks that users complete correctly. Simplified success rates are best used to provide a general picture of how your site supports users and how much improvement is needed to make the site really work. Why Success Rate? They are easy to collect and a very telling statistic. After all, if users can't accomplish their target task, all else is irrelevet.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
For this project, I decided on to conduct moderated test bot remotely and in-person. Zoom was used as the recording device for all tests. The test included a short briefing before the session, task performance using the beta site version on a desktop or laptop devices, and a debriefing.
USABILITY TESTING PROCESS
Define goals and target users
Recruiting Participants
Make a test script (Briefing, Scenario and Tasks, Debriefing)
Conduct remote and in person testing
Analyze and Test Report
ITERATION PROCESS
Create low/mid-fi wireframes with user centered solutions
Present Findings & Solutions
Prioritize
Create Wireframes
Present, feedback, and additional iterations
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RECRUITMENT CRITERIA AND PROCESS
For this study, I was looking for a mixture of first-time users of both learners and teachers. Since the site has two users I wanted to make sure I got a perspective of the two users and see how first-time users responded to the existing Beta flow and experience. We tested five participants that were current learners and or taught a lesson in the past or present.
 
Usability Tasks
 
  • Sign up and complete onboarding steps 1-3.
  • Search for a subject you are interested in learning more about
  • Find a teacher of your choice and request a session.
  • Send a message to your selected teacher.
 
Here is the link to the usability test report
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ANALYSIS AND SYNTHESIS PROCESS
After each session, I had a 30 minute debrief to record all the important key takeaways, pain points, and surprises. This helped me to reflect on the session and start building up to the larger synthesis.
What is the Purpose of this Platform?

User's responses
Testing Pain Points

From my testing results, I constructed the list of the top frustrations in a graph to find out which would be the highest priority to work on and design for. The top pain points were:
Onboarding Steps 1-3
The onboarding forms were not familiar to the user which confused them on how to correctly fill out the forms. They expressed uncertainty on some of the forms.

Sign Up
Users completed this task but all complained about figuring out and finding their timezone.

My Matches Screen
After the users made a search for a subject, the my matches screen shows their results. Here some users questioned if the cards available were teachers. It was not as obvious for them. They would like more details on titles, bios and experience.

Send a Message to Teacher
All users easily found the button and sent a message. Most users were confused by the send button stating message sent, close here, after they hit send.
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