Project Dashboard and Notebook


The Project is a feature in Pearson Writer that helps students to manage writing projects, deadlines, and reducing distractions coming their way. When taking writing projects, students need to take notes and easily manage notes in the project. The project management features and note-talking features bring a seamless place for students to improve their studying habits, avoid procrastination, and juggle all students’ responsibilities.

The new design increased the NPS score by 36%, retention rates by 13.3%, and conversion rates by 9%. It also improved the Project creation rate by 20%, note creation by 16%, and average session by 6%, this is the overseed KPI expectation.




There’re three mains challenges:

1. How to Breakdown the Business Ambiguity

The business scope was to improve the overall user experience. With the limited resources and data on hand, how to breakdown the ambiguity concepts into scalable and actionable product design plans? I did a few things :

  • Communication. I versatile collaborated to bridge different team members from different perspectives. Asking the right questions was one of the keys. Timely communication and good discussions were the boosters.
  • Measure. Since different requirements, I had to measure how feasible those different requirements can be used to build a good experience. Would this requirement be able to ship the product MVP?
  • Build. I narrow down the different requirements into actionable plans. I built many versions and designs comparison to generate different conversations and find out the best ones. I will share some examples below.
  • Present. I present design mockups to cross-functional teams to gather different perspectives and feedbacks to move the decision forward.
  • Recommendations and execution. I iterated the design and recommended the design solutions to get cross-functional team leaders’ buy-in. Finally, shipping the design into engineers’ sprint and release it.


2. High Demand of Accessibility 

Pearson commits to a high demand accessibility design. When working on a product that is used by millions of people around the world, it is crucial to consider accessibility as well. I was very cautious of the colors, text sizes, and contrast ratios in my designs.


3. How might we provide users with flexible and easy to manage, and bring them an effortless note-taking experience?





Drill Down to Users’ Core Needs

Users requested rebuilt a flexible project management experience and note-taking experience. What does it mean for flexible ways of control?

In order to understand, we did a quantitative study by sending out over 100 surveys to empathize with users’ real needs. Besides that, we collected data by interviewing students with a design based interview to get some quantitative and qualitative understanding. I collaborated with user researchers in this process.



Some Results from Survey and Design-Based Interview

1. The majority of students make a plan prior to completing a writing assignment.

2. Most students begin writing planning by ensuring they understand the task by reading the syllabus/assignment (SRL) and the topic (writing focus).

3. Student experience in the study provides initial validation that the existing scaffolding designed to instruct support writing goal setting and remind students how to optimally initiate and complete the writing planning process supports learning and writing process improvement well.

4. Students take notes for their assignments often quickly and their primary goal is to write their notes down as quickly as possible. Students always manage many notes for multiple courses at the same time.






Break the Results Down to Actionable Plan


User Journey Map

After researched users, I started creating a user journey map to illustrate the users’ flow and tackle down the problems which users would encounter in operating the old design. The user flow gave me a way to iterate faster through ideas and increased the speed of iterations. Also, it improved communication across the product team.



Designing a space for Conversations and Reflection


In order to tackle the product bad users experience problems down, I built a few scenarios. Each of the scenarios represents how users interact with the products and where is the place where caused them to drop off the product.

One scenario here shown the breakpoints that caused students to leave products when they manage the projects and check tasks. Another scenario in here shows when users use the note clippers, where were the places for them to leave the sites at certain times because of the frustrating experience in the product design. Users cannot track overall project progress,  cluttered UI and uncleared information architecture constrained them from efficient managing projects, no way to bulk edits to efficiently manage many projects at once, etc.


Then I started to think about how can I rebuild the joints with users to relieve their pains?





Allocate Design Resources


Meet Industry Standards & Internal Design System

Starting the design, first to meet internal design system requirements, I need to smart and strategically pick the right design pattern. Also, I need to make sure the design is easy to communicate with users by following industry design system patterns, such as bulk edits. To reduce users’ memory load and ensure when they switch from different products and they are able to fast on board.


It’s All About Attention To Details and Thorough Documentation

Be Innovative — Innovative Design Components

During the same time, I built 2 design components,one is for search and one is for card component for my internal 7 other learning applications to reuse. The shared component/design system helped engineers have clear implementation guidance.  It is not only benefited me but also benefited all of our millions of customers by having a consistent and seamless cross-products experience and having a coherent product functionality experience.



Prototype & Test

Iterate At A Lower Cost and Enhance Quality Of Design

In order to find the best solution of flexibility and ease of management to support users’ efficient project management experience. I created several versions of the lo-fi and hi-fidelity prototype and design.

I collaborated with UXR had 3 rounds of moderated usability testing, 1 on 1, and 1 hour/ per session. I iterated 3 rounds after each round of usability testing. Each round, we tested over 10 learners, in total, we went to test with over 30 learners. We validated design and catching errors. Then I prioritized the problem and severity levels, based on the reports and iterated a few times.


Want to have closer look at the user flow?




Release: The product release to market in April 2019

Design Gallery

Want to look at other parts of the released design? 

Here are different version, testing, and iterations for the Project Lists View Page


You might want to have an extra peek, here is the lived product



Here are some prototype, testing, and iteration for the Project Dashboard Page View


You might want to have an extra peek, here is the lived product.



Business results

Measuring Success

After release 2019, we got many positive feedbacks. Below are some metrics data we achieved.



Comparison of the old and new




Responsive Design

To ensure users have a consistent and seamless user experience on different devices. I created a responsive design to support users to easily see and operate the design across platforms. The design supported desktop size, tablet size, and mobile size.