Redesigning the way students
provide feedback to peers
Round3 is online formative peer feedback and project monitoring platform. The current application lacked visual communication and was facing challenges with user acceptance.
To solve this issue, we worked on the redesign and designed new functionality for a web application that supports students providing and receiving peer feedback for course assignments and collaborated closely with the client and designer at Round3.
Client: Dr. Matthew Callison, Cofounder at Round3
Duration: Capstone project (August 2018 – April 2019)
Role: I led the UX Research and Interaction Design for this project.
Tools: Sketch, Axure RP, Invision, Figma
Redesign the user interface of Round3 meeting each of client’s criteria:
- Add new features involving action list, teams, project preview, and instructor dashboard
- Improve usability
- Make it visually compelling
We held initial meetings with our client who essentially shared all the resources (secondary data) required for the project. This gave us more context on the challenge. We were excited by the opportunity to impact the
We held weekly meetings with our client throughout the project. This created a sense of ownership throughout the teams involved, but it also sparked some
great ideas as we moved on with the project.
Our client made sure that we adopt best practices to build this product. To envision the best optimal solution, we adopted the design thinking methodology as described in the process below to tackle this project.
Our client approached us with the objective of improving the user interface of round3.
Currently, the user interface is not visually appealing and the application needs to be more self-explanatory. Also, the project required us to add new features for the next iteration of Round3.
How does it work?
Round3 provides custom checkpoints, allowing students to share work-in-progress, receive feedback, and revise projects, all with instructor oversight.
Our Vision / Goals
The basic understanding of the working of the current application helped us to identify opportunities for improvement to the Round3 platform that gave us a clear vision of where to focus on and achieve our goal.
To understand the overall requirement of the peer feedback tool was to understand the methodological process used previously. To understand the context behind using peer review tools, we conducted Literature reviews as they can provide initial research and knowledge about what we are dealing with, who likely can be our users, what are the most commonly identified problems in this space.
Field Research and Analysis
The literature review gave us a pretty good understanding of our client and their requirements of giving peer feedback which helped us to identify the users that can be benefited by using this tool.
Who are the users?
The target users are K-12, instructors, as well as college and university students. The tool is for them to have the ability to conduct peer review efficiently, collaboratively, and get real results by sharing good feedback.
We interviewed 10 participants in total, out of which we interviewed 3 K-12 instructors from different schools that were recommended by our client who used the current version of the application Round3. The student interviews were basically past user feedback that we analyzed provided by our client. There were 7 Interviews that were conducted contained students from Masters Level and Undergraduate Level. The undergraduate level were the students who used another feedback tool than round3 which helped us to know the viewpoints of other peer feedback tool users which we could think of incorporating.
We conducted an affinity diagram to help us synthesize the interview findings from the interviewees, both teachers, and students. We wrote some interesting and useful ideas on the post-it notes and stuck them on the whiteboard. Then we went through all the insights we got and categorized them by “problems”, “benefits” and “solutions”.
Based on the interviews and synthesizing the findings by gathering functional requirements, we created two fictional characters of the users through personas, one for teachers, another for students to help us understand the users. The personas help in understanding the students and the instructor’s frustration on using the peer review system. The personas also enable us to know the significance of having the teachers and instructors perception on the feedback tool which helps in demonstrating the problems faced by them.
We created the user flow to identify the use case, and to understand how Round 3 works in detail, and where to add the new features to make the whole system work properly.
User Needs and Requirements (Research Insights)
The primary requirements
The requirements from our research
We desired to explore potential ideas for developing the best solution for our users involving different scenarios, henceforth we came up with different ideas including their system maps and storyboard for each design by brainstorming conceptual design ideas.
Selected Final Design Concept
As per our client’s requirements, we had to re-design the website of round3 so we selected the final idea of redesigning and adding new functionality to round3 web application based on our research findings.
Sketching (System Map)
This is our sketch of the overall system of round3, it shows how we have
As we moved on to designing the interface of the application, I wireframed all the UI screens of instructor and students having separate interaction and conducted initial user testing. I designed using Sketch and Invision.
We performed 5 think aloud tests with instructors and students on low-fidelity prototype within our university. Our usability tests generated many ideas for how we could better improve our current prototype.
Recommendations from Instructors
- Perfectly sync up to any learning management tool.
- Import easily from the learning management tool in order to start the feedback round easily without creating the project again.
- Start the feedback round should have a function to select a specific project. Also, to have it on the class page to start the feedback directly for easing out one more click.
- Make the text similar in all the projects for having a well-designed prototype and high-readability.
Recommendations from Students
- The instruction page is helpful for the first time but provide a button to skip it for the next time login.
- Any other representation for joining a class to make it more prominent like having floating action button, also provide a color combination to it.
- Authentication factor by having instructor to send the request and authorized by the instructor itself.
Users were really impressed with the simplicity of the prototype and they would like to use the tool frequently. Also, the instructions were helpful for them to start off and use Round3. Overall, they did not have major usability issues.
Design Style Guide
We maintained Round3’s original branding color, cyan while shifting to a more minimalistic and clean look using different color schemes as secondary colors. We wanted the website to be inclusive and attract students and teachers from all experience levels and ages.
Some key screens of the application are listed below:
Instructor Key Screens
The dashboard of the instructor provides overall information on the feedback received by the students and monitor all in one platform, It also covers some of the important features such as Notification and to-do list.
The instructor creates the new feedback round by having a project management feature where the instructor creates a new project first and then create feedback round for each project.
Set Up Feedback Round
The instructor fills in the details by writing self-reflection and feedback prompts and sets up the feedback round.
Student Key Screens
The homepage is simple and shows the classes and to the right-hand side shows assignments (to-do list) and when they are due. It is very easy to read and use.
Create Submission File
This screen shows when a student is about to give back the peer feedback review that they have been assigned to. We offer two options about submission, file upload and add links. Below are the prompts that the student must type into and then give feedback on.
This screen shows the ability to annotate and make comments such as how someone makes comment on a google doc form by just highlighting directly and input the comments on the bar.
This project was exciting which gave me a remarkable experience working with a client. Having a good relationship with the client made our work easier and design better. Also, it was my first time taking the lead role in the project and handling the team with project deliverables and client meetings which helped me to become a better team player and obtain leadership skills.
What I would have done differently
If I had more time, I would have worked on the responsive design and think about how the new redesign project of round3 will fit into mobile.