Abstract provides version control and design system management to design teams through the use of Git-based technology. This is something that, until Abstract was created, had not been part of a design team's workflow before. It is a highly technical space that many designers aren't familiar with and as such, there is much to learn in order to be successful in adopting Abstract into a team's workflow.
As a product designer of user education at Abstract, I took on the large initiative of evaluating our training materials and methods in order to determine how to better serve our customers. I wore many hats, including project manager, user researcher, user experience designer, content strategist, technical writer, video producer, and video editor. The final product was a complete set of videos that serve as a scale-friendly curricula on how to use Abstract.
Note: This project is still in progress.
The user education team had a general feeling that the way we were teaching customers wasn't working, but we weren't sure exactly what was wrong. Together we designed a quick survey, which we sent to each customer immediately after a training session in order to gather feedback.
While we continued to make minor iterations on our teaching and gathered feedback from customers, I registered for a course on how to design and teach curricula for traditionally hard-to-understand technical topics (such as math).
With the survey results in and a better understanding of the principles of teaching complex topics, I documented an OKR project plan to redesign our teaching as a true curricula.
Next, I led the effort to coordinate with cross-functional partners, outline the structure of the curricula, and plan the information architecture of the content.
I wrote, copy-edited, and refined nearly 40 video scripts and prepared the slides, graphics, and other visual assets that would be used for the videos.
Finally, I used QuickTime, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe XD, and Adobe Audition to record and edit the video and audio for all of the videos before publishing to YouTube.
We used qualitative and quantitative research to inform our plan to redesign our teaching materials into a full curricula. At the time, our method of teaching was to meet each new design team with a 1-hour video call to introduce the main workflow of Abstract, followed a few weeks later by a 1-2 hour video call with a set of topics into which customers could choose to dig deeper. Our research consisted of:
During the process of planning and outlining the curricula, we highlighted a few key principles to make sure they were maintained through to the final product.
The content planning process started in Google Docs, as this is our company's primary tool when it comes to writing and editing large bodies of content. I used the information and structure that I learned from my curricula design course to lay out the entire course. I started with broad strokes: the content standard, enduring learning, and essential questions that users should be able to answer. I was then able to narrow down the content to fit a rubric, and then created something similar to a lesson plan which helped me break down the videos.
It was important to me that each video would be short and complete so that the curricula would be flexible to additions well into the future, and so that it would be easy to edit videos should anything change.
Since I was responsible for most of the project myself, I was able to use the tools of my choice. I am very familiar with Adobe products, so I used Adobe XD to create the slides and animations that featured in the videos, and then recorded and edited with Adobe Premiere Pro. I planned and created all of the assets in advance so that I could iron out any awkward points or fill any gaps before recording in order to avoid redoing work.
The final curricula that I created ended up as a series of 37 videos across 7 different topics. We uploaded the finished videos to YouTube in a playlist for ease of sharing with our customers. Not only does this playlist cover everything that a designer and their teammates would need to know in order to successfully get started with Abstract, it also allows us to scale our education and support to many more users. Users around the globe can access the videos on demand so we can reach people who aren't in US time zones, and YouTube's closed captioning allows even more people to learn about Abstract.
Check out the embedded video below or click through to view on YouTube.
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I watched the videos right away and they have definitely helped our team! They are short, to the point and you can quickly find individual answers. Great!
— Abstract Customer