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