UX Design for Digital Education

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UX design requires a unique type of attentiveness if the principal aim of a digital outlet is to impart knowledge and guidance in a way that is both comfortable and easy. Learning is a process; likewise, UX design is an extensive process that requires patience and care.

UX design ranges from written content to the very architecture of your digital outlet. In short, UX design refers to the overall human experience that a website provides. Despite contrary beliefs, aesthetic appeal and ease of usability aren't the only parts that require your attention.

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What does UX design for digital education look like?

Peter Morville’s "User Experience Honeycomb" explains UX design quite effectively. A website/ digital outlet should be useful, desirable, valuable, accessible, credible, findable, and usable. An amalgam of these – in a perfect mix will differentiate a good UX design from the best UX design.

In view of these principles, a digital education arena designed keeping the user's experience in perspective is more optimized, agile, user-friendly, highly ranked, and enhanced than one created without it. Stick around for the example digital education usability test at the end of the article! Or skip to this tutorial explaining how to setup a test with TryMyUI!

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Importance of UX design for digital education

During the pandemic, the entire world had to re-learn technology. Most importantly, distance learning – though not a foreign concept in the first world – was new to most worldwide. Without an alternative, education had to be made digital and educational institutes, and their audience had to shift to it. In the midst of this, numerous complaints arose, highlighting the ineffective modules of e-learning.

Research showed that educational institutes with well thought out UX design digital platforms ranked higher in providing quality education than those who disregarded these principles. On inspection, it was deduced that these platforms had a few things in common – a clean UX, a main page that is both attractive and easy to read, simplified navigation, clear directions, user-friendly UI, and accessible access content and different material types.

These facts further solidified the need for UX design in digital learning platforms.

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What does the UX design process include?

One of the easiest way is to think of yourself as the user. What would you want in your digital learning experience? A site that is easy to reach? One that guides to your desired outputs without too many inputs? One that is organized? Of course, there's an when you approach UX this way, and so it's necessary to move on to the next steps of the process.

A UX design process can be categorized into three tiers – research, design, and usability testing.

  • Research. Tthe preliminary homework carried out before starting the formal design process. It can include anything from surveys to user testing when redesigning existing sites.

  • Designing. The underlying structure of the site. How does a user interact with your site? More importantly, how does your site interact with your user?

  • Usability testing. The backbone of the UX design process. In this stage, you will learn how user-friendly your product is for the demographic you plan to target.

Usability testing is a technique in which a product's effectiveness is evaluated by testing it on potential users. This process allows the designers to calculate any problems in their UX, and this also helps in estimating whether the primary goal of creating a website is fulfilled; that is, whether it's easy to use or not.

Plus, watching users' interactions and reactions to the website will help them devise a more user-centric design for a more user-friendly experience.

image showing what the basics of user testing methodologies look like for of digital education UX remote usability test example


Exploratory methods are used to evaluate how a user responds to the idea presented in the digital platform and is used in very initial stages of the process. For remote usability testing, this means running an impression test.

Assessment methods mean that users are given a prototype, and their errors and reactions are recorded.

Comparative approach, the last of our three, have researchers compare evaluations and select a final prototype to develop. Our test dashboard is the one-stop shop for all of your qualitative and quantitative needs, including cross-team collaboration, highlight reels, and executive summaries.

Digital learning platforms often use these three methods at different points to create a digital product or experience that caters to all its users' needs.

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An example of a remote usability test for digital education experiences / products

In terms of digital education, it should be clear that, especially during a pandemic, remote testing is the best way to optimize usability. But what does a good remote usability test look like for designing a digital education user flow or product? Let’s create a new test together!

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Step 1: Basics

First, we’ll begin with the obvious: let’s name our test, select our interface type and device, enter the URL testers will use to access our product, and then the number of testers and time allotted to them to complete the test. Here’s what we came up with:

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Step 2: Audience

In higher education institutes, especially universities, the student body and the faculty come from diversified backgrounds. The Demographics settings will ensure that user testing remote education is a way everyone can give their input. This enables the UX design experts to design a website that is easy for everyone to use and has a broad spectrum approach.

Here’s what we came up with:

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Note that the more specific you get with your demographics, the longer the study will take to complete. If the gauge estimates a long wait time, try loosening some of your requirements.

Screeners allow us to further specify what sort of testers we are looking for. For example, we might want to ensure that a tester is using a specific OS type with a technical screener, or maybe we want to hear them explain how they meet a requirement with a verbal screener. A screener survey will allow us to prompt testers with a question that will either qualify or disqualify them from the test based on multi-choice answers that we have written.

Step 3: Test script

The test script is the hardest and most important part of any usability test. Here’s a guide to help you along, but to summarize: make the scenario relatable and real for the tester. Then, via tasks, create a natural flow that balances guiding them along with clear instructions with prompting the tester to explore on their own.

Here’s what we came up with:

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Notice in our example, we ask the tester to be in the mindset of a college student whose university is offering a remote inter-library loan system for ordering books. Our tasks immediately compliment this scenario by asking them where they would begin with this scenario firmly in their mind.

Although just a barebones example, our test script highlights the balance of guiding testers and allowing them to explore.

Note that we did not enable an impression test. Your design may warrant it (especially for e-commerce or service industries), but within the context of our scenario, the system will only be used by people already familiar with the page/brand, and so their impressions are not needed.

Step 4: Post-Test

The post-test is where you get your top-line qualitative AND quantitative data. From standard free response questions about their experience, to multi-choice, slider-ratings, and psychometric scoring, TryMyUI has a comprehensive suite for getting the data you need.

Here’s what we came up with:

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Psychometrics require their own dedicated section, as we find that researchers are often unsure which of our many offerings will be right for them. Psychometrics offer not only a solid benchmarking score for iterative sprint testing, but also will help your UX and design team hone-in on problem areas. It could be that your design is beautiful! But also, frustrating. Psychometrics measure various aspects that purely qualitative surveys cannot.

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In the case of our example, the PSSUQ will be the most helpful for providing a rating of both usability, information quality, and interface quality. Other options to think about are the SUS, SURPQ, and ALFQ.

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Now we can review all of the data, as in the example above, and quickly edit any aspect we realize is incorrect or not ideal.

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After reviewing the test, we can now submit our order. We have 22 credits available, and requested 7 testers, so we will not need to purchase any additional credits for our remote usability test.

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