Company: CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES
For CA’s Grades 3-5 Vocabulary product the team had several goals in mind. We knew that by the time a child got to fifth grade, a character-focused experience might not have the same impact as we see with younger kids. A better choice might be to let the challenge of learning drive engagement, and provide a UX that’s intriguing and fun. In addition, for vocabulary, we believed that imparting strategies about how a learner might figure out the meaning of a word would have longer-term benefit than rote memorization. Specifically, we wanted users to learn to:
- Look inside a word: What prefixes, roots and suffixes make up a word, and how can they help infer the meaning of an unfamiliar word?
- Look around a word: What context clues do the words around an unfamiliar word provide?
- Look the word up: Sometimes, your best bet is just to look the word up.
We also wanted to add more integrated support for English Language Learners, specifically those coming to the content as native Spanish speakers. Our 3-5 Vocabulary product has an always-available Glossary option that allows on-time support not only for the specific words that a third-to-fifth grader needs, but also prefixes, suffixes and root words that make them up.
I led a team of designers focused on providing a simple, streamlined experience. Every design was tested repeatedly with appropriately-aged students by CA’s in-house research team. Their insights helped guide and shape development. We worked closely with a team of educators and software engineers to ensure that the product came together smoothly and in a way that would be most effective for children.