Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Educational tool gets a visual language facelift and an improved user experience.

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Project Summary

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is a global learning company that publishes educational materials and creates software tools to help facilitate education in the classroom. As they transition their intervention products (geared towards struggling students) from print versions to a digital format, they realized the underlying platform, SAM Central was no longer meeting the needs of the diversifying users. What was once a successful tool utilized by teachers, school admin and leaders to administer student programs, had become a complex and disjointed collection of portals created in an ad-hoc fashion over the years.

Universal Mind came on board to redesign key components of the HMH proprietary Learning Management System, and to provide an interactive style guide, which would be a tool for the internal development teams. After learning about the project through Discovery and Define workshops, we began an analysis on all inputs, from personas and prior user testing feedback, to existing product backlogs and cross-product team dependencies. We created a common vision of how everything would come together for the core user, the teacher. This served as our detailed Information Architecture visual, and to help the HMH project teams think about and organize their work in a way that allowed for cross-product interaction and alignment. All said and done, we delivered both the visual design project work and the subsequent refresh/rewrite of the interactive prototype, and created a new visual language for these products to reinforce the usability and intuitive design.

HMH is enthusiastic with the deliverables; the new and improved interface is expected to significantly improve life for teachers and district admins. A win for teachers. A win for education. Two wins…that counts as a win for Universal Mind too… so make that three wins.

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