My work

ACMI

Researching the school excursion booking

UX Research / Design

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UX Methods involved

  • User research (Creating discussion guides and conducting user interviews)

  • Research synthesis

  • Journey mapping

  • Low-fi wireframing

Deliverables

  • Mapping the end-to-end user journey of the teacher's school excursion experience

  • Service blueprint of our internal booking process and systems

  • Recommendations for comms for teachers

  • Low-fi wireframes of a booking web form

Background

There are two ways this project came about.

1 — We were going through a booking software (Tessitura) upgrade and to put it politely, this was an absolute headache of a process. It was becoming clearer how underwhelming and inefficient the booking experience was for educators and for the Education booking staff at ACMI. 

2 — The Experience, Product and Digital team had begun conversations with the Education team about how we can make a more meaningful school excursion experience whereby teachers and students can extend on and explore their interactions at ACMI after they’ve left the building. 

What came out of those conversations was we needed to better understand what teachers want from us so we can cater our current and future (digital / online) offerings to them.

We had questions like:

  • What type of experience will they be getting when they’re at (the new) ACMI?

  • How will this affect the booking process?

  • What resources do they want to receive before/after?

We wanted some research to better inform the:

  • Booking process

  • At museum’ experience

  • Pre/post content content

  • Post ACMI experience

So I undertook a user research phase where I learnt about the school excursion experience for teachers. Later, I took these findings to design a solution around an improved online bookings pathway.

The objectives

1— How might we improve the school excursion experience for educators? In particular.

 

2— Can we improve our booking pathway for educators and discover how ACMI might optimise our processes and systems to support a better user experience internally and externally?

Discovery

User research

I conducted user interviews with teachers of varying experience and schools in Melbourne (Catholic, independent Catholic, independent and government). 

I recruited through internal communications, my personal network, and the Education team and their affiliated schools.

I created a one-page discussion guide with a set of ‘required’ and ‘nice to have’ questions. Sometimes I would have teachers for 15 minutes, others I had them for 90 minutes.

I also educated myself on all things Tessitura and what would happen for our new software upgrade - a doozy.

I mapped out the end-to-end map of the school excursion process based on what I heard from educators and from the Education team at ACMI.

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Main findings from user research

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Curriculum based decisions

Curriculum is the main driver for an excursion. If a program is suited to the curriculum, they’ll choose that first and then find the suitable date/time.

Teachers need to know during the planning stage when an excursion is available.

Availability

Unsurprisingly, teachers said choosing an excursion is also date and time dependent.

Teachers are researching on laptops and it’s important to have available dates/times clearly signposted on the website (if they’re anything like me while researching, they’ll have 50 tabs open — info needs to be all there in one place!).

Budget

Teachers always have to consider budget, regardless of the type of school.

It determines the length of the research and planning phase (teachers can plan more excursions if they have little to no cost) and the approval process (free excursions are quicker to be approved, teachers need to take longer to prove why they want to go when something costs more).

Pre excursion

Preparing the students

Regardless of how much subject matter knowledge the students have (an excursion can come in at the start of the term, midway or at the end), ‘in a perfect world’ teachers will scope out a venue to prepare worksheets for the upcoming excursion.

They will also research anything they need to know about the content in order to keep the students’ interest whilst there. They want to prepare the students to understand the right language, spark their interest and give them concrete things to look out for.

Venue on boarding

Safety is the biggest consideration/concern teachers have with excursions. They need to know logistics, the types of content their students will be exposed to, the ratios of teachers & adults:students all before they arrive.

It’s important for them to know everything so at least to the students they seem like they’re in control.

I heard for many teachers, they’re unaware of what to expect when they arrive at a new venue which is also another reason they feel compelled to visit prior to the excursion. #opportunity

Post excursion

I was surprised to hear how varied the excursion follow-up class back at school can be.

The ‘post excursion’ class is different depending on year levels. Upper high school (in particular VCE students) are more likely to have assessments (SAC’s) related to that excursion and spend more time focusing on the excursion specifically and its themes.

On the other hand, primary school students were more likely to spend maybe half a class doing a critical thinking task or a ‘show and tell’ if they had done a workshop.

Regardless of the year level, however, I heard from most teachers how valuable ‘deep dive’ resources were, in case a student showed particular interest in the themes of the excursion.

Recommendations

My recommendations (and our opportunities) for areas of focus

  • An improved online education booking pathway to solve user pain points and needs.

  • A look into pre- and post- excursion content for teachers to prepare their students and provide deep dive resources for back in the classroom and how they fit into a teacher’s online experience.

  • A pre-arrival onboarding experience — something to give teachers on all the information they need to feel in control when they get to our venue.

  • An automated post-excursion follow up. I learned how many venues don’t do this. Building relationships is important, for teachers and for venues especially when I heard schools like to to go back to the same places because they know what to expect.

Next steps

Redesigning the education booking pathway

One of the recommendations I actioned was designing a new booking pathway.

Concurrently the organisation had been upgrading our Tessitura booking software so we could get the most of our purchase pathways, so alongside the research, I was able to wireframe a booking pathway which would implement solutions from my findings to create a better user experience for teachers.

Discussions are still ongoing around the best route to take with our Education booking pathway however whichever route we take, there is now much more insight into what teachers want and need.

‘Would be nice’ next steps for the UX

  • Ideate and design a comprehensive end-to-end excursion experience including on boarding, the booking pathway and content recommendations.

  • Usability test with educators to iterate on the booking pathway.

  • Create an onboarding experience which integrates the ‘online’ and ‘offline’.

Part 2

Redesigning the online booking system

Unfortunately, not long into doing low fidelity wireframes, we had to halt work on this as we directed budget into improving functionality in another aspect of our booking system.

However, I was able to understand and highlights the complexities and limitations of our current booking software, Tessitura in hopes that in future, we might be able to improve this process for educators and for ACMI education booking staff.

Understanding our booking system, Tessitura

We have customised Tessitura to do a lot of things, and selling our education is not an 'out-of-the-box' offering, so there are quite a few work arounds to have it work the way we need.

So I had to investigate if there was a better way without it costing too much.

Moving the booking pathway out of Tessitura

The idea was to take the education booking pathway out of Tessitura to create a simple web form, with API calls to Tessitura so we could automate certain steps in the process.

I created a user flow of how a booking process could be taken out of Tessitura and started creating low-fi wireframes as a visual representation.

I looked at what competitors were doing online to identify what was an expected online booking process and what looked outstanding.

Wrapping my head around Tessitura and the education booking path for educators.

Low fidelity wireframes of the 'on demand' (when teachers can request their own programs) booking form.

These wires were to spark conversations on how we might utilise Tessitura's functionality without having to have a booking process go through that software.

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