In Context for Educators

project overview

In Context for Educators is a new Gale product specifically designed for K-12 educators, which meets their needs in finding, curating and using curriculum standard based materials.


UX Intern @ Gale, Cengage Learning

June 2018 - Aug. 2018

Mentor: Thomas Piggott (Senior UX Designer)

Tools: Axure, Sketch

Design Challenge

How to help K-12 educators prepare teaching materials and classes that align to curriculum standards more effectively and efficiently?

While preparing teaching materials and classes, K-12 educators have several needs, and the three major needs are:

  • Find replacement and supplemental materials align to curriculum standards.
  • Collaborate and curate the materials to meet their needs.
  • Use the materials.

Currently there is no product which fully covers all these needs, so the preparing process requires a lot of manual effort. As one of the biggest content provider in the US, it's an opportunity for Gale, Cengage Learning to provide an ecosystem with rich content where educators can prepare all their curriculum standards aligned materials.

Design Overview

Find - Set active curriculum standard to filter out matching materials

Find - Bunch search by uploading an existing curriculum document

Curate - Manage materials with user created collections and collaborate with coworkers


Persona Mapping

Henry and other five personae help to better prioritize user needs and scope the product.

After analyzing research results, we categorized and listed all user needs and created 12 personae for major needs. In order to prioritize user needs, in the meanwhile, define the scope of product and make sure it is sell-able and technical feasible, we conducted a persona mapping session with VP, PM, tech lead, sales, marketing, and specialists.

all six personae

User Scenario

There are various user scenarios based on different factors like materials in hand, and how the materials related to curriculum.

user scenario

For each selected persona, we analyzed the user scenarios based on different "variables". Using our primary persona, Henry, as an example, to achieve the same goal - finding replacement materials, there are three major scenarios.

Henry's user scenarios

Roles and Goals Matrix

Overlapping goals like finding curriculum standard aligned materials, and special goals like clipping parts of the resources are found.

After persona mapping, I created a roles and goals matrix with hierarchic goals and the 6 selected personae. The weight of each goal was different according to the importance of each persona. Overlapping goals and special goals for some personae are obvious in the matrix. Prioritized goals of our product are:

  • Find curriculum standard aligned materials
  • Create collections within the product
  • Curate materials within a group I create
  • Clip parts of the resources
  • Annotate materials for the people I share with
  • Download the resources in specific format
  • Share materials to students
roles and goals matrix


Find, curate and use standard aligned materials in one stop.

Based on the scenarios and important goals we got, my mentor and I together designed several variations and converged into two major concepts. I'll focus on the concept I was responsible for.


Final Design Walkthrough

Goal 1

Find curriculum standard aligned material

1. Set active curriculum standard to filter out matching materials

set standard screens set standard screens

2. Upload curriculum document to bunch search

upload curriculum standard screens

3. Show material and standard alignment with tags

standard and topic tags screens

Goal 2

Curate matching materials from a great number of search results

1. Manage materials with user created collections

collection screens

2. Manage collections and collaborators

collaboration and material management screens

Goal 3


personalization screens


The constraints of real-industry problems - Time constraint

Since we provide e-education enterprise solutions, we usually will not release a new product and sudden changes during semesters to avoid training costs on our customers' side. Educators are super busy at the end of summer preparing for the new semester, and considering the team planned several in-person testing sessions a month later, so it wasn't a good time for me to conduct research in the end of my intern project.

If I have more time...

Participate in conducting user evaluations to test on our concepts to iterate and converge to one final design.

The constraints of real-industry problems - Technical constraint

Curriculum standards and materials alignment is a great technical challenge for our product, which also leads to possible design decisions to compensate the inaccuracy of algorithm.

If I have more time...

Design a user assessment system for user to evaluate the accuracy of the alignment and in the meanwhile we can use the evaluation to improve the algorithm.

Difficulty of scoping a new product

We spent almost two months analyzing research results, creating our personae and defining the scope of product. And involved people from other groups in several important meetings to get everyone on the same page, decide the overall project time-line, technical feasibility, and so on. And I learned how to create personae based on rich research results and map personae taking suggestions from different perspectives.

researh analysis
researh analysis
researh analysis
researh analysis

Research Analysis, Personae Creation, Workflow Analysis, Workflow and Sketch