UX Designer + Researcher

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Project @ a Glance


1 UX Designer, 3 Engineers, 1 QA Specialist, 1 Product Manager


3 months


As the sole researcher and designer on a project with a constrained timeline, my role was to scale research across the team by creating research field guides for engineers to also run user interviews, and work hyper-collaboratively with engineering during the design concept phase to ensure concepts were technical feasible and communicated clearly to reduce rework.


Create a centralized system that keeps Instructors engaged with the CMMI site, and eventually drives them to upload more of their events to the CMMI calendar and use our system as a main communication channel to their students.

Return more of the Customer Support team’s capacity and focus on high value add tasks versus low value add tasks.

Providing some context

Every year, 8,000 different students around the world enroll in a CMMI certified course.

However, majority of these 8,000 students registered for their CMMI course through different workflows.

Without a central location for course management, instructors struggled to:

Receive course payments on time.

Check students prerequisites.

Send out pre-course materials.

CMMI Institute created this excel workbook to help instructors organize their courses, but instructors complained it required duplicate data entry because they were storing the information in a different excel sheet.

Connecting with our users

I started my research efforts by interviewing various students and instructors from around the world. The goal of these interviews was to learn our user’s workflows and pain points.

Tell me about the last class you taught. Walk me through your registration process.

I attended different classes to talk with students about their experience with CMMI Institute courses.

Tell me about how you learned about and registered for this course. How did you talk to your instructor?

Some instructors had detailed processes for course registration, others said they keep track of their students by writing names as they get them on random pieces of paper.

Students voiced complaints about CMMI employees creating accounts for them with the wrong name or forgetting to send their login information.

I wrote all of my interview notes on cards to organize into an affinity diagram. This method helped organize notes along a chronological course timeline to visualize the different pain points for both instructors and students across an entire course.

Blueprinting the course service

Our solution needed to meet each user’s needs along the journey of a course. Designing for this journey meant we needed to understand all the moving parts of the course registration process—the interconnections, dependencies, and breakdowns.

Collaborative service blueprinting helped the team visualize the current connection and breakdowns and align on how the future registration process should work.

From our collaborative sessions, I created a high-fidelity version of the ‘future state’ service blueprint. This version of the blueprint included design decisions in the context of the entire course process.

Research Insights

Zero Transparency

Instructors submitted courses for appoval with no indication of when or if their course would be approved, creating a black box for both instructors and students.

Duplicate Data Entry

After approval, instructors had to re-enter and re-send all information to the CMMI Institute that they had already sent in, even for minor course changes.

Incorrect Data

CMMI employees were creating accounts for students with sometimes wrong information or international name translation errors.

Non-existent Quality Control

Each registered student gained access to protected CMMI material, but the CMMI had no way of knowing if the student accessed or even redistributed this content.

Mapping the foundation

We shifted our strategy to designing a solution that fixed these major breakdowns in the process.

I mapped out user flows for a new registration process based around each of the different users: students, instructors, and the CMMI Institute.

I created multiple different wireflows for the different workflows for each of our users (instructors, students, and CMMI Employees). Above is the ‘Create a Course’ workflow. These wireflows were communication tools between myself and the engineering team.

Concept and Test. Rinse and Repeat.

Based on the different user flows, I designed a low-fidelity prototype of the course and roster submission form to test the new process.

We conducted in-person and remote user testing sessions with both instructors and CMMI Institute customer service representatives to see and hear their thoughts on the new workflow.

During each test, I annotated what features a user had difficulty with. At the end of all usability testing, the annotations created a heat map for us to see the main trouble areas in the workflow for all of our users.

From testing, we discovered the student roster was at the root of the major pain points we uncovered from earlier user research.

Enter and Upload Data Once

The new system ended duplicate date entry by allowing instructors to upload a locally stored roster in .csv or excel format.

More control for students and CMMI Institute

The new system automatically checks if a student on the roster already has an account in the CMMI system.

If the student doesn’t have an account, the system send an email to the listed email address. If the student does have an account, the system checks if the listed student met the course prerequisites.

Increasing Transparency

The new interactive roster is viewable and editable for both instructors and CMMI employees up until a course start date.

This flexibility allows for last minute changes, but locked once the course started ensuring a flexible but final list of students for the CMMI accounting department to bill the instructor.