Company: Unacademy • Platform: Web + Android • Year: Mid 2017
Unacademy is an online learning platform that makes education accessible to over 1 million users across India. It is an open platform, which means that anyone can apply to become an educator and start creating content.
To help learners discover content that is relevant to them and easy to consume.
Introducing curated lists with the new homepage experience (1)
Reimagining the learning experience (2)
Product Thinking, Information Architecture, Wireframing, Interaction Design, Visual Design, Brand Language
Unacademy's biggest audience today are civil service aspirants from lower and middle class India who cannot afford physical coaching centres. The civil services examination is considered one of the most difficult and competitive examinations in India. Without proper guidance, candidates can feel confused and lost.
Unacademy learners were facing a similar problem. Being an open platform, the courses on Unacademy lacked structure and many CS aspirants didn't know where or how to start their test preparation. Relevant discovery was also a major concern with 'Which course should I take next?' observed as a common theme amongst users.
Key problems with the existing homepage
Introducing Curated Lists
Lists are collections of courses that one can take to gain an in-depth, and sequential knowledge of a particular topic. I defined and designed the list experience to provide candidates a framework to guide them through their test preparation. Lists are targeted at two types of users:
- Users at the outset of their test preparation - Low intent
- Users who don't have access to study material outside of Unacademy - High intent
I took the introduction of lists as an opportunity to improve the overall homepage experience on mobile and web. My initiative opened up the discussion around a full scale redesign which I will come to later.
New homepage experience (based on existing design language)
List page on mobile (based on existing design language)
The new homepage experience that I designed for mobile was drastically different from the existing one. Apart from the addition of lists I had made several other structural, as well as some content changes. At the time, Unacademy's rating had dropped from a 4.9 to a 4.8 on the Play Store and so I decided to leverage the new design to get that back up.
Having never been a fan of app rating prompts, I was particular about implementing a feedback capturing system that was non-intrusive. I found this lovely piece on integrated app rating asks by Matt Galligan and had to look no further. His system was effective in driving five star ratings to the Play Store and filtering out the bad ones by capturing negative feedback internally.
While our feedback cards were shamelessly modelled after Circa for the most part, I added a couple of things. I changed the negative response to 'Not right now' so we could show the same user another feedback request, in case we were unable to secure a rating in the first attempt.
I had seen many Uber drivers in India, struggle with the rider rating at the end of a trip, resulting in a lot of accidental one star ratings. This made me realise that people from small towns who are also first-time internet users, are not familiar with the star rating system. I felt a visual cue was needed so users would know what to expect on the next screen and how to interact with it.
We released the new the new app home screen experience on July 11. This resulted in a 600% increase in app ratings on the Google Play Store. From a daily average of < 25, we received over 180 ratings within a day of launching the feature . By July 15, the app rating was back up to 4.9 from 4.8 and today we have over 89% 5-star ratings.
Building a Better Learning Experience
In order to perfect the discovery experience, the content on the website had to be reorganised. I worked on the information architecture from scratch and tried to make the content more accessible by designing a navigation system that was intuitive and user-friendly. I approached the visual redesign with three main objectives:
- Evoke trust and dependability
I used serif fonts to recreate a text book vibe and add a tone of seriousness and credibility.
- Focus on the content
I removed content cards and extraneous interface details that were fighting for attention.
- Brand refresh and relevance
I switched to brighter colours that were more suited for digital screens.
Initial sketches on the homepage structure
Wireframes detailing out key pages
Homepage experience for desktop (proposed)
Mobile experience for Unacademy (proposed)