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User research, Appmaker


User research
Paper prototyping
Lo-fi wireframing
Service design
User personas
A/B testing
In 2013-15, Mozilla, the University of Toronto and local educators convened a series of hackathons at Hive Toronto to explore how digital literacy approaches could be used to create new apps using Mozilla’s free tool Appmaker, part of the Webmaker suite. More than 60 educators from both formal and informal backgrounds (including high school teachers, after school educators and librarians) joined us for the series. As one of two user researchers dedicated to the project, my aim was to identify and prioritize new educational features for the next versions of Appmaker according to the desires of educators working across a variety of pedagogical contexts.  
My collaborators and I introduced a toolkit of creative approaches for gathering data on the go. Methods included a "Hot-Warm-Cold" Post It note moodboard for participants to share points of success and frustration during each stage of their app-making process, and a series of paper handouts and ideation guides. Through ambient ethnographic observations and end-user surveys, we invited participants to reflect on their experiences, envision alternatives, and suggest new ways forward. Our findings were translated into a series of bugs to be shipped by the Appmaker team on Github and other platforms, as well as executive summaries and other resources for the use of Mozilla staff and communities. “It was so good to have user research be such a prominent part of this session,” a participant noted. “We liked that you actually asked us what wasn’t working for once.”

Photo credits: Hive Toronto & New York.

“I want to dance for the renewal of the world.” - robin well kimmerer