Boletim + is a Somos Educação product which aims to facilitate planning school terms, organizing grades and calculating averages. Most of the product’s users are older people with less technical experience who are now able to thoroughly plan each school term.
Somos Educação is a company that manages several different schools all over Brazil. It soughts to assist each school with the difficult task of structuring terms for thousands of students as well as grading student work.
The many diferences between schools and each one’s own peculiarities and the fact that the platform would, for the most part, be used by people with little experience with technology were two challenging factors.
When I was introduced to the project and told about how it would help teachers calculate students’ grades, I planned the calculation based on my student’s perspective. The way I calculated was "exams + papers / 2 = student average".
But I couldn’t have been more wrong, the math is actually very complex. This was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned while creating a product: how important it is to be open to change, and how essential it is to have an understanding of the product as a whole.
After the initial stage of Product Discovery, planning the first steps and deciding what it would focus on, it was time to create the first prototypes and introduce them to the client in order to get feedback. We also introduced them to the schools, obviously, so they could validate our ideas, allowing us to work effectively on the next steps.
Something that had great impact on both creation and development parts was the fact that, although the product has five different modules, they all depend a lot on each other. Not only in terms of visual or usability, but also their functions are much interconnected. Creating something that would suit such very large number of users with different ways, ages and thoughts was the most complex part of all.
The prototypes were presented before the development of the modules. They were all introduced and validated before the development team began to actually program the product to its fullest. And even on the last days of development, it was often necessary to go back to the first module and adjust functions, remove others, and create a new feature option that was not previously planned.
School autonomy has always been one of the most important aspects for the client. The product will be used by a lot of different professionals in different parts of Brazil. Each school has its own list of courses offered, its own ways of evaluating students and planning how students and subjects will relate to each other throughout the year. It is one of the characteristics of the client to give schools freedom to operate their activities in the way they think is best.
A designer’s role is to design solutions, create ways to improve the lives of the users and make tasks much easier and more enjoyable. One of the main challenges was to create something easy to use and, at the same time, give the user all the information they need to perform what’s expected of them.
Today, the product is on its final stage of development. Soon it will start being used on a daily basis by a large number of professionals in various parts of the country. Our goal is to make life easier for those who once saw themselves fidgeting in their seats, trying to use visually confusing services. We will continue to collect feedback from users to improve and make it a successful product and I’m sure everybody who participated in the process will be proud of the result. Planning all these functions, prototypes and solutions while constantly having to bear in mind that each and every detail had an impact on users gave me knowledge and made me a more mature designer.