We were able to catch up with Kurzweil Education’s product designers and developers to for a behind the scenes perspective of the new k3000 user interface. Here’s what he had to say during our Q and A session:
Q1: What’s the first change users will notice?
A: We created a start screen to represent the center of k3000. It’s a place users can view the details of each core feature k3000 can do, Read, Write, and Scan. Returning customers can easily see recent documents that were opened. The start screen will always be the first thing users see whether they are new or returning and they have the necessary tools to start their assignment quickly.
Q2: What’s on the start screen and how will it help end users?
A: The start page acts like a project hub, it is the center of your projects. The new start screen explains what you can do in each of the core tabs and provides a road map for where to go next. Here are the main areas you’ll want to pay attention to:
1. New, simplified navigation eases students into learning
2. Easy to use Read, Write, Scan tabs for getting started faster
3. Recent Documents allows you to pick up where you left off
4. Quickly adjust your Audio Options in simple to navigate dropdowns
Q3: What can users expect once they get past that initial screen?
A: Once students have chosen a path from the start screen they move into the sleek new interface. Clearly separating tools for each aspect of the project allows students to quickly dive into working on the project instead of searching for buttons and features.
Q4: Why did you move the navigation to the left of the screen?
A: Every document starts in the upper left corner. The k3000 interface is a tool for reading and writing and should mimic the same principles.
What we’re most excited about is that this realignment allows more vertical room for the user’s document, which displays more information. The flow is improved by eliminating the distraction of all of the tools at the top – instead the student can focus on the text. Context sensitive toolbars reduce the clutter.
Q5: What did you change about the feature icons?
A: The new design of the icons use a modern flat and simple technique to keep distractions at a minimum. We increased the size of the icons, making it easier for students to click the icons. The use of images and color should make it easier for learners to identify and memorize where features are, with the most common tools placed at the top.
Q6: What specific design changes did you make to enhance the learning process?
A: Separating each process by tabs for reading and writing tab allows users to focus on one learning process at a time. The new interface has several universal icons that are comforting to the user, these features such as the audio reading controls in green, and the document navigation will remain in the same location regardless of which tab or aspect of the project you’re working on. It gives users complete control on where they want to be.
Q7: Are there any specific changes that make educator’s life easier?
A: When stepping into k3000 students can pick it up faster. It’s also easier for educators to walk students through k3000 for the first time since you can direct students to one of three tabs, then to an icon which has a unique color when activated. The robust functionality has been retained, it’s just simpler to use.
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