bCourses Redesign
A new look at Berkeley’s course management system.
Click anywhere to interact with this prototype!
Introduction
bCourses is a web and mobile application used as a platform to connect students and instructors.
Students use bCourses to view and submit homework assignments, connect with peers and faculty, and see their grades.
001
The Problem
Despite most courses at UC Berkeley being hosted on bCourses, the current interface is painful to use. The app leaves users feeling confused and frustrated, namely in its most crucial interactions.
Lack of pertinent information regarding assignment submission.
Unintuitive, tedious file search.
002
User Research
A survey of 20 students currently attending UC Berkeley showed that students weren't using bCourses beyond the functionalities that enabled students to succeed in their classes(submitting assignments, viewing readings), When diving into the pain points of the students, we discovered some key insights:
Idle Features
Users noted they tended to not use features such as calendar and inbox, stating they already had established methods and mediums for carrying out this functionality.
Lack of Clarity
Students noted the lack of clarity across the main features of bCourses— this included file search, course distinction, and assignment submissions.
Building Community
ots of students noted that they did not use the Groups feature, but wanted a better way to use the platform to connect with students and faculty in the class.
Aesthetics and Feel
Many students noted that bCourses’ UI felt clunky and out-of-date. A major part of the redesign was to align the user interface up to speed with more modern design trends.
Survey results of student use cases.
How might we streamline crucial interactions that aid student success?
003
Design Goals
Streamline
Increase ease of access and flow of files, assignments, grades, and submission.
Centralize
Concentrate pertinent interactions and student priorities into a singular dashboard.
Update
Bring site aesthetics up to speed with current visual trends and patterns.
004
The Solution
I narrowed my focus on improving the existing systems that students felt were mandatory for succeeding in their classes(viewing instructor-uploaded content, submitting assigments, and checking grades). These interactions were noted as the most difficult to navigate.
Design Decisions
Assignments
A centralized location for the most recently assigned work
Courses
Easy access and viewing for each course a student is enrolled in.
Updates
The most recent announcements in a centralized location.
Visible Search
File search that appears immediately to the user, as opposed to hidden within the layers of folders.
Folders and Files
Folders and files in an more intuitive, GUI, much like Google Drive’s organization.
005
User Flows
I redesigned much of the information architecture to reflect what students were interested in knowing about their classes. I specifically looked at the home screen (Dashboard) and class pages.
User flow for the home screen.
User flow for the course page.
006
Mid Fidelity Mockups
Mid Fidelity Mockups
007
High Fidelity + Prototypes
Style Guide
Interactions
A brief glimpse into all screens.
Submission made simple.
Fresh file delivery.
Final Mocks
008
Final Mocks
In the future iterations of this redesign, I would want to explore internal version of taking quizzes and add more complex functionality to the file viewing system. I felt that the UI fixes went hand in hand with the usability issues themselves, as clarifying the UI allowed for the experience to be clarified in return. Despite this, I would continue to improve the flow of the more minute interactions to not only make it usable, but as delightful of an experience as possible.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the ways students interact with the software designed to help them succeed in school. I learned about the minute, individualized frustrations Berkeley students had with the application and the wider, more general issues students had.