Redesigning a Top LMS for Tablets
PROJECT CONTEXT
We were tasked with an individual project of redesigning the learning management system Canvas for tablet devices. We were to utilize the user-centered design process and go through all aspects of the design process including primary/secondary research, ideation, prototyping, and usability testing.

This was a 5-week project for Designing Interactive Systems.
ROLE
Primary Researcher and Designer

  • Observations, Talk-Aloud Protocol, User Flows, Interaction Models
  • Sketching, Prototyping, Usability Testing
  • Visual Design, Interaction Design
PROCESS
For this tablet redesign, we were asked to identify features of the current desktop and mobile versions of Canvas in need of redefinition. As such, I wanted to analyze what could be improved from these iterations as well as understand the core features that would be most effective in a tablet version.
I began with several cognitive walkthroughs with several students of varying experience levels with Canvas in order to gain an understanding of the different user flows within Canvas. I found that there were indeed multiple paths that users take to complete specific tasks. However, most of these paths involved navigating through the courses in order to satisfy assignments and other tasks.
Research
With this finding, I continued to do secondary research which consisted of competitive analyses of other learning management systems. Using these as models for visual and system design, the findings here contributed heavily to my later design choices.
Mood Board
Sketches
After gathering some initial insights, I strove to incorporate two main ideas:

  • Streamline and consolidate the user flows to fit the tablet aesthetic

  • Organize information in a more informed and visual way
User Flow
To fulfill the first requirement, I first needed to understand the how content is managed and navigated in the current desktop and mobile versions. As a result, I created site maps and user flows to illustrate these journeys.
Once I had a firm grasp of how I would develop these flows in a tablet iteration, I began wireframing the home page interface as well as the assignment submission feature, a common task for students using Canvas. The other features I added to enhance the experience wtih Canvas as a course stream function and a maps utility. These features allow remote students to view classes live and find classrooms and buildings across campus respectively.
Wireframe 1
Assignment Details
Assignment Submission
Course Video Stream Alert
Course Video Stream Page
Canvas Maps
I then went to apply a visual skin to the wireframes. I kept the color scheme fairly simple in order to highlight key elements more effectively. After that, I performed guerilla usability testing with users of various levels of experience with Canvas.
Mockup 1
Mockup 2
Mockup 3
Mockup 4
Mockup 5
Mockup 6
OUTCOME
This redesign project was an excellent microcosm of the user-centered design process in a short time frame. From my testing, most users felt that the features presented were organized and relayed effectively. Some users cited the interest in more communication capabilities with other students and course faculty. This feature is currently available in some respects in Canvas now. However, it is not a core feature of the system and could become the focus of another redesign effort.
A process book was created as a physical artifact of this project. It can be viewed here.
CREDITS
ME & MYSELF & I