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Education Portal

A Self-Service Solution for Seamless Scheduling and Improved Efficiency


In the face of a nationwide educator shortage, the demand for innovative solutions in the education sector has never been more pressing.  The client, an online education platform, was established with the mission of democratizing access to high-quality education for students across the United States. This case study revolves around the design of this online education platform and the tools used for teachers and administration to utilize the client’s platform.

Disclaimer: Due to non-disclosure agreements, I am limited in the amount of work I can show. 


UX Research Lead

Design Strategy Lead

Interaction Design



September 2019 - February 2020


1 Lead Product Designer (me)

1 Jr. Graphic Designer

1 Jr. UX Designer





Amidst crisis-level teacher shortages, the client aimed to expand access to live education in classrooms throughout the country. To achieve this goal, the client sought to develop an online platform that would facilitate seamless collaboration between remote educators and in-person classroom facilitators.

Problem 1.png


Product Scalability

The implementation of this software for administration required white-glove service by the client, severely reducing scalability and increasing set-up time.


Each new school that the client brought on required individual excel trackers and constant email reminders for disparate tasks required during initial implementation.


Delays during initial set up led to reduce customer satisfaction, and students receiving delayed education.


Implementation Visibility

Onboarding documentation was managed through multiple .pdfs and emails, visibility for school superintendents couldn't tell the latest status of implementation of the product across their schools. 


Each new school that the client brought on required individual excel trackers and constant email reminders for disparate tasks required during initial implementation.


Delays during initial set up led to reduce customer satisfaction, and students receiving delayed education.


Ease of Use

For educators using the platform, many of the back-office tasks such as scheduling unavailable hours, viewing upcoming teaching opportunities, and maintaining certifications was all manual, requiring countless emails and delayed responses.


A teacher could experience an emergency, and not be able to communicate their unavailability due to the delay between sending the client and email and the client's support team acknowledging the request for a substitute teacher.


Teachers not able to contact the client's customer support group could experience delays in uploading certifications, or could result in students showing up to class with no instructor if PTO messaging didn't get submitted in time.


Solution Graphic.png

A self-service tool for educators and administration to track and perform back office tasks.

Teachers would be empowered to autonomously view upcoming opportunities, manage schedules, and request time off.  School administrators would experience greater transparency in implementation and. The integration of this tool would underscore the platform's commitment to user-centric design and its effectiveness in addressing complex challenges within the education sector.

As the lead designer entrusted with shaping the vision and user experience of the education platform, I embraced a structured approach informed by the double diamond process. This method allowed for a comprehensive exploration of user needs, iterative ideation, prototyping, and testing to ensure the platform's efficacy in meeting the diverse requirements of educators, students, and facilitators alike.



To start the project, I conducted 12 in-depth interviews with education professionals, ranging from classroom coaches to superintendents, to understand the challenges faced when using the client’s software. These insights guided the creation of personas and journey maps, pinpointing common pain points across stakeholders. The research report provided valuable clarity to both the UX team and the client, establishing trust and confirming our understanding of their needs.


A significant challenge arose in diagramming the existing user workflow. Initially, we assumed Yardmasters followed a linear process, but in reality, users navigated through Steps A-Z in various permutations, adding complexity to the workflow.

User Story Map.png

This discovery sparked ideation sessions as we aimed to chart a flexible yet comprehensible workflow. 

The mapping process uncovered the need for an additional inbox-type module, enabling users to execute global actions on each plan created. 

Process Diagram.png

With the workflow established, I started white-boarding potential mockups. My emphasis was on enabling flexible interactions, allowing users to step into any stage of the railcar-planning process and complete their tasks. After several iterations, I felt confident that the designs effectively captured the primary workflow.

Pink Earth


Next came prototyping. Integrating this product into an existing software platform imposed constraints on my design palette. Because I could utilize only a few colors, I relied on strategic component placement, font weights, and intentional color usage to convey interaction hierarchy. 

Overall progression of the design from sketches to customer prototype.


User Testing Icon.png

Main Findings:

  1. Additional Feature Request
         In addition to placing orders, users wanted to black-out loading zones,
         add comments, and other tasks.

  2. Validation Differentiation
         Users wanted to set which parameters would trigger warnings versus errors. 
         Interactable objects should also dynamically filter based on selection criteria. 

The UX Research Lead and I presented the initial designs to internal experts and customers, inviting them to engage in real-life scenarios within the prototype. This interactive process unveiled several insights, providing a deeper understanding of the user's task flow.



I iterated on my designs, incorporating newly requested features into the prototype. The user initiates by creating a new plan or selecting an existing one. Upon opening the Planner, users can seamlessly drag and drop either railcars or orders onto preconfigured loading spots. The system validates the order-car-spot combination, ensuring that railcars from the previous shift roll over to the current plan. Users can add comments and subsequently publish completed schedules, triggering an auto-generation of a switch list to be sent to the railroad.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the user's workflow, I diagrammed every possible interaction to provide engineering with a clear map of expected behavior. 

Engineering Notes.png
Pink Earth


A flexible planning tool to assign and validate railcars, orders, and loading-spots with roll-over data and export functionalities. 

I collaborated with engineering to address challenges arising from tech-stack limitations and conducted a design audit post the MVP release. The product garnered positive feedback both internally and externally, resulting in new customer acquisitions and achieving 54% of the targeted revenue within a single quarter post-release.

This experience underscored the significance of intentional project scoping. What initially seemed like a straightforward design problem evolved into a multi-faceted tool with features that the customer hadn't anticipated at the project's outset. Moving forward, I recognize the importance of insisting on a clear definition of the project scope in collaboration with the commercial and product teams. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of the customer's needs before embarking on the design process, avoiding the pitfalls of delivering a product that only meets 70% of their requirements.



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