Lauren Hanford


Participate Chats for Twitter

Collecting ideas and colleagues

UX, Visual Design, User stories



This Participate feature redesign was initiated to address some serious usability issues with the current implementation. More broadly, our team wanted to increase feature adoption and increase user engagement — specifically looking at user journeys around collaboration. We worked closely with the research team to look at how users were interacting with the feature currently. (This data was part of a dossier sent to the product team for our design studio kickoff.)


This project started with two sprints of user research — we wanted to understand how and why our users collected resources, and then hone in more on the why and how they build their professional learning networks, i.e., collecting people. After 14 remote interviews (which our customer support team very helpfully agreed to note-take on!), we began to synthesize findings in a virtual sticky board

After identifying and prioritizing user goals, potential features and potential user journey maps, we began agile design sprints — time to test our hypotheses.

This turned out to be really challenging in the fall! As one might imagine, teachers are really busy this time of year, and recruiting and follow-through became really challenging to manage. We explored other avenues of recruitment (previously, relying largely on Twitter proved effective), and also other rewards. In addition to gift cards, we began to offer something that we thought could be more meaningful to educators — a percentage of a technology continuing education credit. One teacher in particular also helped us iterate on the timing and method of communicating with our users. This continues to be an ongoing process of refinement, but we're getting better at it!


What I'm learning

This project is now in development, while I continue to refine design based on findings from additional testing with mobile. As part of this collaboration with the developers on my team, I have been diving really deeply into writing good agile user stories. I'm drawing a ton of insights from Alex Cowan, and getting feedback from the team that's operating on these stories. I'm also ramping up into new ways of testing mobile using