Weekly Design Problem #1 — Face Memory
In an effort to be a better designer and keep my design thinking and skills constantly polished, I recently signed up to receive weekly design problems curated by Artiom Dashinsky. If you’re curious, you can sign up here to try out these challenges too!
At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students.
Design an experience to help an educator match faces to names, with the goal of shortening the time needed to reach complete un-aided accuracy.
Challenges with the Project
There were several challenges I had to overcome to complete the end prototype. They are naturally explained over the course of this post, but here is the list of challenges for your convenience. Clicking on each problem takes you to the part of this post that explains how I overcame it or reached a solution.
- I was not able to interview teachers for initial data
- It was difficult to narrow down the demographic I wanted to design for
- Everyone memorizes differently so making one simple, easy-to-use app for that is challenging
Demographic: High School Teachers
Although all teachers for other grades also hold an importance in learning names, I chose this group because high school has older students who may be harder to get through in terms of encouraging them to be diligent in school. As a result, teachers — on top of having an already packed curriculum to teach them before college — are more likely to try to get personal with students in order to reach out to them. That starts with learning their names as quickly as possible to make a positive impression on them.
User Goal: To learn the name of students as quickly as possible
Constraints of this Project:
1. One week timeline
2. No users to interview or observe
Teachers’ Current Process of Memorizing Names
User interviews would have been very beneficial to answer this question, but since I was not able to interview teachers myself, I did the next best thing which was to research about it online. Someone out there has interviewed and researched about this before, so it was only appropriate to use my resources.
In a gist, there are countless ways teachers overcome this issue. Often, they try to constantly use the students’ names whenever possible to create a solid association. Essentially, they usually do not get a name to a face until the first day of school so the memorization of names typically only happens when class is in session, which is a problem since they have to focus on teaching, not memorizing, making the process of learning names longer.
The Science and UX of Memorizing
I researched the science of how the human brain best memorizes things in order to find a basis of similarity in humans since everyone learns and thus memorizes in different ways. There are also a few UX Methods out there that help with memorization. Here are a few of the points I gathered:
•Emotional experience associated
•User is exposed to only a few elements at a time
1. An effortless way to memorize over 60 names on top of a heavy work load
2. Method needs to seamlessly flow into their schedule (it can’t be too out of the way during their usual day)
3. Multiple options/ customizable options to cater the interface to how they prefer to learn
I found three name memorization apps: Nameshark, Namekeeper, and Facecard. All three apps had the face picture, name, and details associated for each person. This helped me establish what minimal standards I needed to add to the app. Nameshark and Facecard were the only ones with quiz options where Nameshark had many different kinds of games while Facecard was a simple flash card kind of quiz. While I want to give the users an option to quiz themselves, I don’t want it to be too many pages or too overwhelming, considering the users don’t have that much time to be on this app.
Final Design Decisions
Face Memory is a name learning app that is designed for teachers who are busy or always on the go. It’s a simple phone app that can be pulled up at anytime, especially when they’re at lunch or taking a phone break. Its simple navigation and customization makes it an easy app to use that effortlessly allows teachers to memorize their students’ names quickly and efficiently.
Gallery vs. Single Profile View
There are two ways to view the students and their names/ memory attached to them: single pictures and gallery pictures. Since people learn differently, I wanted to cater to the different types of learners out there while keeping the app as simple as possible. Some people like to memorize with single profiles at first and then move on to looking at multiple at once once they have started memorizing names and some people don’t, either way they have the option to toggle between those views.
There is also a chair next to each student’s description that upon clicking it shows where in the class they are sitting. Again, in an attempt to cater to the different type of learners out there, this gives the option of having an additional key to memorizing the student — their geographical location in the classroom. Sometimes knowing additional information like that helps memory and sometimes it doesn’t, either way that option is available to those who want it.
This feature appears in three different places. The first two appear in the single profile perspectives next to the picture and the name. This feature allows the user to quiz his/herself, using it like flash cards, whenever they are ready to do so without having to move to a different page. It also appears in the seating chart page because it shows everyone’s seating location in the classroom. This gives perspective to who a certain student sits next to, providing yet another way to help the user memorize.
Final Prototype: Explore Face Memory yourself or see the interaction below!