#SeachangeK12: Creating the Optimal User Experience by Embracing “And”

Posted by Matt Berringer on June 23, 2015

Optimal User Experience

by Jeff Miller, eSchoolPLUS Development Manager

Not surprisingly, ubiquity of smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices with Internet connectivity has become the new normal for K-12 education. This trend in K-12 education is mirroring the global trend toward mobile. As the world has gone mobile, many web designers have embraced the Mobile First philosophy of web design, which prioritizes the mobile context over the desktop context when creating the user experience.

Those who have embraced this philosophy have done so for three reasons:

Opportunity. Research from the Pew Internet Project found that 64 percent of American adults owned a smartphone in October 2014. As of January 2014, 32 percent of American adults owned an e-reader and 42 percent owned a tablet computer. “Some smartphone owners—particularly younger adults, minorities, and lower-income Americans—depend on their smartphone for Internet access. Of U.S. adults who own a smartphone, seven percent are ‘smartphone dependent.’”

Constraints. For this growing population, the web experience creates natural constraints in screen real estate, etc., that forces development teams to focus web applications on those things that matter most to the end user.

Jeff Miller QuoteCapabilities. Mobile users have at their fingertips a variety of capabilities that don’t exist on a desktop or laptop. These capabilities can be leveraged by development teams to enhance and make more efficient the user experience.

In my role of managing the development efforts for the eSchoolPLUS student information system, I understand the value of considering the mobile context. But, I would suggest that development teams focused on creating the optimal user experience will prioritize the user over the device.

So, SunGard K-12 Education chooses to be guided by our customers. And, based on what we’re hearing from the school districts we serve, we believe the anytime, anywhere concept makes sense for K-12 education. Solutions that are truly making a difference for educational stakeholders are available in whatever way users want and don’t necessarily elevate one device above the other. So rather than “or,” we choose to embrace “and,” incorporating features that will allow users to efficiently access, navigate, and input information into the solution via keyboard, mouse, and their gesture-friendly screen.

For example, a multi-faceted approach to navigation, which incorporates global search functionality along with more traditional menus, allows users to quickly and easily find the student information or application areas they need from a variety of devices. For desktops and laptop users, we continue to rely on hover boxes for dynamic tool tips and user help. Incorporating Mobile First design concepts, like gesture-friendly screens and tablet-friendly touch targets, supports users in effectively accessing the solution’s functionality from their iPad or other tablet. And for mobile users, we offer a series of mobile apps that put just-in-time information that supports student achievement at their fingertips.

So by embracing “and,” our users have access to the student data they need to support student achievement from whatever device they’re using.

A sea change is coming in student information management. Are you ready to ride the wave? Learn more at THIS LINK.

Topics: #SeachangeK12