Designed for Teachers: Lessons Learned from Designing the Buzzmath iPad App

Buzzmath iPad Screenshot

Most recently, I worked with the team at Buzzmath to redesign their iPad app. It was (and continues to be) an incredible experience because the team at Buzzmath really care about teacher and student feedback and work to make sure Buzzmath creates the best possible experience for them. 

The specific features I want to highlight in this update are:

  • New drawing mode! Select the pencil to draw directly on the screen. Doing math on the iPad has never felt more natural.
  • The calculator has arrived! Optimized for the iPad screen, the new calculator will show you the last calculation and let you paste it in the answer zone. Now every single tool your student needs to work on Buzzmath is right in the program itself!
  • 10% more space! Pages have been redesigned to give more space to what matters most, the content and your work.

The design choices in these features was completely informed by teacher feedback. However, one of the more surprising things that I learned was that getting teacher feedback alone isn’t enough. Design is a process, not an end result, so the only way to effectively meet teacher needs was to engage in constant dialogue with teachers and with each other, to build their voices into our design process. This is why having educators on an edtech team is so important. Educators serve as that user voice in the adhoc conversations startup teams have at the water cooler, or over Skype, or in a meeting where a pivotal decision is made. 

As a result, I am now mulling over the questions “How might we connect educators and education technology entrepreneurs together in a way that adds value to both parties?” and “What are best practices in design specific to the education market and how might these best practices be shared more widely?”

If you have any thoughts, please share. And, if you’d like to see Buzzmath’s new iPad app, please see it in the Apple App Store today!

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