Zerticate: your quality e-Learning App — UX Design Report

Clara Solozábal
7 min readFeb 8, 2021

Zerticate is defined as the quality e-learning app (i.e the delivery of learning and training through digital resources), its objective is to combine the diversity of technological resources and pedagogical proposals with coherence to promote an intellectually challenging dynamic for learners.

Provisional Logo

Last week I was asked to create a project, launch a new product for self-paced learning on the go. We intend to generate revenue based on subscription fees associated with access to content.

I had to start by launching a minimum viable product, but considering this is a competitive market to enter, we probably cannot compete solely on price — instead, we need to add value to the experience so that users may start adopting our platform. Also, the app will be designed for both iOS and Android and we only have five days to complete this challenge.

First step: starting the Benchmarking

I kept questioning ourselves: how can the app be positioned in the e-learning market?

This is a very competitive market, ‘’the reach of e-Learning today is greater than ever with the most rapid growth in emerging economies trying to close the education gap. The combination of low cost, high convenience, and accessibility are transforming eLearning into the predominant global educating force of the 21st century.’’ (Christopher Pappas, 2019)

E-learning is here to stay. The e-learning market will show rapid growth in the coming years and is estimated to grow by 7.6% to 9.5% annually. So, there is a possibility for us.

At this point, I decided to look at competitors, examine the features and characteristics they have that the user values the most. Below there is a graphic showing how we decided to analyse our most direct competitors: eDX, Coursera and Skillshare.

So, I thought Zerticate should have all of them, but also some others and with that, I will be able to look for my niche by being an academic, professional and serious app.

What about Business Model?

Once I knew what characteristics the application should have, thinking about revenue — the total amount of income generated by the sale of goods or services related to the company’s primary operation — became easier, it will be an academic app with professionals, so there are some partnerships and space is rented to universities, which provide official certificates and give a commission every time someone purchases a course directly from them, for those that just want access to a lot of content but don’t need the certificate and other options the app provides a monthly subscription.

Who are the users?

I could already get a visual idea of what Zerticate was going to look like, but to help me get started with the design, I was given already a few proto-personas that represent the market needs I would like to meet.

First, I present to you: Sofía Jacobs and Matthew Scott:

And below you will meet my primary persona: Alicia Coll, she is the one I chose as the starting point.

My goal is to provide a product that is useful to all of these personas and also follows the Business Model redacted above.

So, once I had all this information and felt satisfied with the Competitive Benchmarking and Business Model, I started to sketch some screens with the main ideas and features. You can see now an example of it:

First sketches of Zerticate

As my ideas had come to life on paper I felt safe to move on to Figma — a collaborative interface design tool — I spent many hours on this tool, I created different prototypes going from low to high fidelity. Along the way, I had to carry out several usability tests and make several design changes.

Now, check out the final prototype!

Alicia’s Flow:

  • Alicia has been recommended Zerticate by some colleagues at work.
  • She decides to download the app and register with Apple, then she starts exploring the main screen.
  • She immediately can see that seems to be of quality and professional, there is a banner with an offer subscription but she’s not sure about that, so she checks everything and she is lucky to find a Google Analytics Specialization by the University of California Los Angeles there.
  • She chooses it as she needs to learn Digital Marketing, this Specialization offers an Official Certificate and there are 5 courses in total.
  • She decides to watch the free introduction, and she appreciates how the rest of the specialization is lock. She really likes it, so she clicks the enrol button and once she analyzes the different possibilities to purchase the content she decides to buy just the Specialization (because she needs the certificate)
  • Once she has paid all the content is unlocked: 5 courses, assignments, 1–on-1 sessions with professors, the possibility to get the certificate once she finishes the courses…

But how the usability tests went?

To achieve this final prototype I had to make first a round of 2 usability test and then the second round of 3 more. As always, they were helpful.

I will show you now just a few changes:

  • The main screen was completely different at the beginning, it looked more like a boring app and I needed it to be more professional:
  • Then people alert me about the incoherence with the banner that shows a new subscription offer but in the flow, at the moment of the transaction, when the monthly subscription option is shown, the offer is not advertised.

Now the differences: Android vs. iOS…

As I told you before, the app should be designed for both iOS and Android, here is an example of how a couple of screens would look like, first in Android, next iOS:

  • Process of transaction in both systems:
Example 1: Android on the left, iOS on the right
  • Main Screen in both systems. The main changes are the App navigation bar, which is in a different position; in Android, there is a hamburger menu on the top left corner, and it keeps its universal navigation bar at the bottom.
Example 2: Android on the left, iOS on the right

How did the findings from research inform my design?

Finally, this is how I have connected the Benchmark and Business results with the design, as I wanted an academic and professional app. The overall look fits this statement, it offers quality by good University and Foundation Certificates and it follows the business goals:

Design decisions

Conclusions

This project has not come to an end, time was tight to carry out a full development, especially in terms of analysing in-depth the competitive market for e-learning applications, but what I have been able to see is that there is a possible niche in developing an application with a more academic approach and with a higher price tag, which can attract a type of user with a high-income profile who needs to obtain something tangible to prove their new skills.

What’s next?

  • Deep further on the business model and forms of revenue, what happened if someone is monthly subscribed but suddenly need a certificate? This point definitely needs a future solution.
  • Manage how the 1-on-1 feature would work in iOS
  • Know what Universities and Professionals would like to be in the app

and many other things…

Personal Conclusions

Time has been the biggest challenge in carrying out this project, I have felt overwhelmed every day, but along with all the bad there is an equal amount of good things, at the time of the delivery of the project I felt full of energy and pride, I think doing this makes me happy, so give me more.

--

--