Building more efficient in-class interactions

User Experience

More and more classes are relying on online learning platform such as Zoom due to Covid-19. However, both students and professors find online classes less efficient and interactive compared to in-person classes, so I designed new functions on Zoom to address the user pain points.



User research

User flow

Discover pain points

UI design

User testing


Through personal experience and observations, I found out that college students struggle with Zoom classes compared to in-person learning, due to the lack of concentration and difficulty to concentrate in class.

UX research

I interviewed five college students using Zoom for online classes. I asked how they interact with professors and classmates and the general experiences. Then I created a user persona and journey map.

Discovering significant user pain points

I concluded design findings from user research and distilled two insights from the findings, which are also the two main user pain points that lead to my design goals.

Listen to class


1. Students don’t know when to speak when eye contact is missing from online learning.

Class discussion

2. More awkward silence when the professor asks open-ended questions.

3. Hard to confirm student’s level of participation in class.

After class

4. Students can’t receive feedback in time

Pain point 1

Pain point 2


Difficult timing to speak in class

Difficult to give instant feedback

Define design goals

Make speaking more efficient in class

GOAL 1: 

  • Indicate the professor when students want to speak in class at any time

  • Allow students and professor to see who is ready to speak in order

  • Students can type and save their questions

GOAL 2: 

Encourage student to give instant feedback

  • Allow the professor to check on student’s level of participation easier

  • Avoid moments of awkward silence by letting students to give instant reactions

  • Create a more interactive way of giving feedback

Brainstorming ideas


How might we make speaking in class more efficient?

  • Create a waiting line for students who want to ask questions, professor will answer questions in order

  • Using pop up box with reactions or voice generation to avoid awkward moments of silence.


How might we make class participation more active?

  • Let class see instant reactions in the live chat format

  • A collaborative board that prompts a more interactive class discussion format


How to best take the opportunity to speak in class

Based on the first goal, I created a user flow that highlights students and professor’s actions in using a speaking line function to increase opportunity to speak in class. From here I created low-fi protoypes to visualize the steps.

User Case One


Create a more organized way for students to speak in class

The raise hand function makes in class interaction more efficient, by indicating the professor at any time, students no longer need to save questions till the end. This function avoids multiple people talking at the same time.

Make student Q&A more straight-forward

Student has the option to type questions and can easily receive and manage answers from the professor.


Allow professor to answer
students’ questions in time

While students are added to the list, professor can see who is speaking in order. Professor can choose to answer questions privately through the chat box.


How to increase class participation and active level

New features incorporated into Zoom that encourage students to be more active in class participation, including an alert window to remind students to respond more when the class is silent, and a collaborative board to post feedback to other’s presentations.



User Case Two


Activate a reminder to ask for student’s feedback

Professor can send a reminder to students with a note that asks them to give feedback when no one wants to talk, so the professor doesn’t have to sit through awkward silence.


Live feedback make class active again

The class sees professor’s message. Students choose to talk, write short responses, or send emoji reactions. Students’ feedback appear in the form of live chat, and everyone can check on class participation easily.




A collaborative board for multi-media discussions

A collaborative board is integrated into Zoom that allows the class to post notes, images, comments, and draw. This feature allows more interactions such as group brainstorming to happen in online classes.

Usability testing

I did two rounds of usability testing on both user cases. In each round, I asked the user to describe what they see and expect to see after each operation, and any confusion. After the first round, I made changes to the UI design which was shown as the final outcome above; after the second round, I made some changes to case one’s UX flow.


Law of Similarity–make operation buttons tied together

User case 1: Improving the design of student control panel




Add an answer saving function to the existing flow

User case 1: User wish to save answers to desktop for record-keeping, also to see other students' questions as references



  •  I understood the needs of the users through interviews and research, and delivered a solution that addresses the user pain points.

  • User familiarity was considered throughout. The final solution integrated successful features used by other platforms to Zoom, but also blended well with the existing UI design and user pattern. 

  • Student users found the new "raise hand" function more efficient and easier to use than the existing Zoom chat feature.


  • I would like to perform user testing on professors for the next stage. If possible, I would also like to ask a few students and a professor to go through the prototype together and give collective feedback, in order to maximize a classroom simulation. 



Copyrights @ 2021 Wendy Ju. All rights reserved.