Enhanced Search & Discovery · Fall 2016 – Spring 2017
Google Expeditions initially launched with a limited set of virtual field trips that could easily be browsed in a flat list. As the number of field trips grew to hundreds there became a need for improved search/filtering functionalities as well as a scalable organization system. The ability to promote specific field trips was also desired.
Expeditions users consist of two groups: 1) Guides and 2) Explorers. The experience requires one guide who will be guiding one to many explorers.
The target user group for this feature were Guides, who are typically teachers in a school setting with a broad range of backgrounds and tech savviness. The guide experience is typically conducted on a tablet, however phone-sizes screens are also supported.
Preliminary research was conducted with teachers who were current users of Expeditions in order to understand how they currently find field trips and to gain insights into what solutions could possibly be helpful. I also spoke with our internal content creation team.
Preliminary research findings were converted into a set of user tasks that this project needed to solve for.
I then distilled these user tasks into a bucketed feature set for the project which would be used to inform the design solutions needed.
I use Sketch as my primary design tool throughout my entire design process. Because it's so easy to duplicate and manipulate shapes in Sketch, I typically start at a level of fidelity slightly above typical wireframes.
The proposed solution involved a flexible framework of modules in both the homescreen and search experience that would allow our engineering and content teams to surface appropriate suggestions and recommendations.
Remote user testing was conducted with 7 teachers from various parts of the United States. I created semi-functional prototypes with Framer Studio from the wireframe designs so we could test usability and comprehension of the interactions and views. Users were given a series of tasks to complete. The success of the designs was evaluated on whether or not those tasks could be completed.
We also conducted a card sorting activity to help determine what categories and carousel sections would be useful to teachers.
Users understood and really enjoyed the new features. Most of them expected customized recommendations based on previous activity. This understanding helped us inform the prioritization of carousel groupings and alerted us to the fact that we needed additional logging capabilities in our app to better determine recommended content for users.
Users wanted and expected customized recommendations.
Unfortunately on initial release our product was not able to provide customized recommendations, so the framework has yet to be fully utilized. Future releases will make this possible, however.