App Design: Nameonic

Designing an Experience to Help Teachers Remember Student Names

The Design Challenge

At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students.

Design an experience to help an educator match faces to names, with the goal of shortening the time needed to reach complete un-aided accuracy.

Target Audience

I asked some former elementary and high school teachers of mine what they would want to have in a product like this. They emphasized how much work teachers have at the beginning of the school year to prep all the coursework and other materials, so the product would have to be something quick and not very time consuming. They also specified that it be customizable because of how volatile class rosters are at the beginning of the year.

Memorization Techniques

In order for the product to actually work and help teachers remember faces and names, it would need to utilize effective memorization techniques. Two effective techniques for learning and memorizing are Active Recall and Method of Loci.

Active recall is a principle focuses on the learner actively answering questions or solving problems. This is contrary to passive learning, which includes reading or watching, less doing.

Method of Loci is a way to aid memorization by the use of visualization within a space. This is a type of mnemonic device that has been proven to be effective in memorizing faces.

These mnemonic devices inspired the name of the product, "Nameonic," a combination of the words "name" and "mnemonic," which emphasizes how the focus on memorizing names.

Product Definition

Choosing between a mobile app and a computer app, I decided to go mobile. I chose mobile because:

Memorization Features

User Flows

Flows for the initial setup
Flow for the Flashcard feature
Flow for the Classroom Visualization feature


Most of the app features are pretty straightforward and are clear in their usefulness. However, the roster visualization and the "Classroom Quiz" are where it becomes less clear. These features introduce more of a visual approach to learning student names. By associating the names and faces of students with their desks in the classroom, teachers can form even stronger neural connections. This helps teachers memorize even faster and with more confidence.

An important aspect of these two features is the AR capabilities. Unfortunately, I don't have the technical expertise to demonstrate the AR functionality so images are used as placeholders in the current design. Since teachers spend a significant portion of their day in the classroom, the phone's AR capabilities allow teachers to continue to see their students in their respective seats, even after the students have gone home for the day.

Final Designs

Student Roster ListTeachers have the ability to view the student roster in list form and can edit existing students or add new students.
Student Roster ListTeachers have the ability to view the student roster in list form and can edit existing students or add new students.
Student Roster VisualizationTeachers can also see where the students sit within the classroom with AR.
FlashcardsOne of the best ways to memorize names and faces is by using flashcards. Teachers have the option to be prompted with the student's face or name.
Classroom QuizIn addition to flashcards, teachers can learn student names and faces by associating them with their seat in the classroom.


This design challenge was helpful to teach me how much of a difference it makes is to have interacted directly with the potential users. Following the conversations with my former teachers, I had a better sense of who I was designing for. I was also able to develop my motion design skills by using Principle for this project. Overall a great learning experience to sharpen my skills.