As a part of Reasoning Mind team, I dedicated myself to Blueprint – an online math curriculum for students in pre-K through first grade. Blueprint includes 300+ interactive lessons and has hundreds of thousands of active users (the product is currently owned by Imagine Learning).
I was lucky to participate in all stages of the product lifecycle:
After the product team has agreed on the general concept and vision, we needed to describe this vision to the curriculum and software teams, so that they could get started.
Traditionally, this would be done by writing a lot of documentation and drawing some interface mockups. We needed to answer hundreds of very precise questions, such as:
For most of these questions, the answer was “we don’t know until we try”.
Instead, we decided to develop an interactive prototype of an entire 15-minute lesson (introducing number 3). I used my programming skills to develop a set of interactive HTML/JS pages, each page representing one exercise or educational video. We aimed to make it as polished as possible.
After less than a month, the prototype was ready. We tested it on a group of kids and then presented it to the entire company.
The feedback from development teams has been very positive. Everyone understood exactly what needs to be done, simply by looking at the prototype. I’m proud to say that almost all ideas we tested made it to the release.
One issue teachers mentioned a lot in the interviews is that the login process is difficult for 4-6-year old kids. When using similar products, teachers often spent 15 minutes (several times a day!) helping kids login with usernames and passwords.
I came up with the idea of Login Cards, where each card contains 5 simple symbols.
The feature has been very successful. In later interviews, teachers said that login time dropped from 15 minutes down to 30 seconds! Unexpectedly, most kids memorised their cards after a couple of logins, and did not need paper cards at all.