Between January and March 2016, the Ravensbourne BA (Hons) Web Media Production level 2 class took part in a pilot collaboration with the Invicta Primary School in Greenwich. This involved 16 undergraduate students, 150 pupils aged 5-10, Ravensbourne senior lecturer Matteo Menapace and 8 Invicta teachers.
The students were briefed to design and prototype an educational web-based product aimed at primary school children. Over several field research trips to Invicta, they worked with different pupils: conducting interviews, evaluating product ideas, co-designing interfaces and user-testing prototypes.They also teamed up with Invicta pupils and teachers to design and produce a web-app, which promotes the school activities and its ties with the Greenwich community. They taught children how to draw Web interfaces, take pictures, record audios and upload Web content. Then they collaborated with a group of digital leaders (hand-picked children from all year groups) to code the web-app.
After a short introduction to good UX practices, students were given freedom to plan their activities at the primary school as they saw fit. They organised themselves into small teams, then carried out research, design tasks and user-testing independently. During their first field research trip to Invicta, they quickly learned which questions and techniques worked with children, and which didn’t. They experimented with different methods and tools, learning from their mistakes and sharing those lessons with everyone else.
Being able to test their ideas and prototypes every week at Invicta stimulated an iterative test-driven design approach: rather than making assumptions about target users, teams prototyped different solutions and tested them with children as soon as possible. This also reduced in-group arguments, promoting the ethos that every idea is neither good or bad until it’s been tested. Web Media student Harry Difolco said 'Overall working with Invicta was a lot of fun and I feel both parties got a lot out of the project. It was an important lesson for our class that the Web industry is not all behind screens but engaging with people too.'