Ryan Untalan
Feb. 24, 2020 · 3 min

Project Description: Based on the 2012 Gallup Student Poll survey, student engagement is dropping each school year. HistoBox is a tool designed to assist middle school teachers to college professors in creating an engaging and interactive lesson plan.
Role: Product Designer and UX Researcher
Tools: AdobeXD
Time Duration: 3 days

Project Context
Adobe and HISTORY hosted a 3-day national design competition called Adobe Creative Jam LIVE. I worked with two designers, Tyler Matsuzaki and Emily Pi, on creating a solution to the design challenge.

Design Challenge
Use HISTORY’s deep catalog of video and editorial content to create a teaching and learning experience, ultimately resulting in a HISTORY Classroom app. The conceptual mobile app you create will result in a teaching tool for K-12 teachers OR a research tool for students at any level.

Design Response
Create lesson plans and interactive games based on HISTORY’s video resources.
HistoBox is a tool designed to assist middle school teachers to college professors in creating an engaging and interactive lesson plan. Our app integrates HISTORY’s extensive video resources and provides interactive games to not only help students learn lessons based on state-specific teaching standards but also create an enjoyable classroom experience.

We placed first at our school and had the opportunity to represent Cal Poly SLO in the national competition finale. We placed in the top 5 amongst a pool of 55 teams.
three frames of the histobox core features: create lesson plans, access video content, create games

How was it made?

The Design Process
User Interviews
I interviewed teachers to learn about their experience with creating lesson plans. Two key insights that we gained:
1. Ensure that lesson plans align with common core standards
2. Lesson plans should maintain student engagement and encourage participation
Online Research
I explored the internet to find more information on some of the challenges teachers may face while teaching history. One interesting statistic I found was about how student engagement drops each school year.
"8 in 10 elementary students who participated in the poll are engaged with school. By middle school that falls to about 6 in 10 students. And by high school, only 4 in 10 students qualify as engaged (Gallup Student Polls, 2012)."
a description of a teacher named taylor
Problem Statement
With student engagement dropping each school year, how can we design a tool for middle school to college teachers that assists them in creating an engaging and interactive history lesson plan?
To begin, we engaged in a BrainWriting exercise to generate key app features.
Prioritization Matrix
After generating an extensive list of feature ideas, we then used a prioritization matrix to determine which ideas were both highly valuable to the user and highly feasible. Based on our discussion, we wanted to create an app that included these features:
1. Create lesson plans (based on teaching standards)
2. Recommend HISTORY videos
3. Provide interactive classroom games
Product Sitemap
To structure our application, we created a product sitemap that would include our key features.
structure of our app
My team and I then engaged in many iterations of low fidelity wireframing.
low fidelity wireframes on a whiteboard
After developing a vision with wireframes, we dived into AdobeXD to prototype our app. During prototyping, we followed the design guidelines provided by HISTORY. I worked mainly on the home, create a lesson plan, and recommended content screens.
screenshot of all the frames of histobox

One key takeaway is the value of understanding the people you’re designing for. During a 3 day design sprint, it can be very easy to rush into prototyping. However, my team and I took the time to learn more about teachers and the challenges they face while creating lesson plans. With a solid foundation of research and problem comprehension, our team was able to design a solution to help teachers and improve the classroom experience.
Thank you for reading!