Hello there! This site is still under construction, so please, excuse the unpolished state. Thanks for visiting and enjoy! For higher presentation quality of the projects included please visit my Behance Portfolio

Pet Stoyanova

designer

What kind of designer am I? Lines could be a bit blurry indeed.

I am a multidisciplinary designer with expertise in visual design, user experience design, and user interface design. I am a strong advocate for user-centered design and emotional branding. I have excellent drawing, rapid prototyping and visual design skills, am proficient in using Adobe products, and learning to use new software is not a challenge for me. I enjoy being part of all stages of product development from inception to delivery and feel most comfortable in an Agile environment and team collaboration. Also, I am familiar with Kanban and Scrum methodologies.

Within my recent role in the Research and Development team at CoSector, University of London, I have taken the lead on various visual and user experience design projects. I assisted the Lead User Experience Researcher in conducting user research and validation testing sessions with users. I helped analyse research to generate insights that served as the basis for various research outputs, including personas, user journeys, and concept maps. I also produced infographics and visualisations of research outputs for content marketing initiatives, including white papers. Furthermore, I built low and high fidelity prototypes and mockups which I implemented in collaboration with the lead Front-End Developer. Additionally, I presented the user research outputs and demoed the product's functionality to current and potential customers.

I am particularly interested in the EdTech and Games industries and I like to be part of a team aspiring to create awesome, unique, and memorable user experiences. In essence, I want to design and create products which people love to use and that rely on my creativity, analytic skills, and user-centered approach.

  • 40%

    Visual and UI design
  • 40%

    Research & UX design
  • 20%

    Front-end development
, illustration enthusiast & orchid hoarder.

  • Bloom VLE

    bloom mockup

    Bloom VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) is an ongoing project carried out by the Research & Development team at CoSector, University of London. Bloom is a service based on the open-source e-learning system Moodle. As an open-source software, Moodle offers the freedom to customise and adapt it to every possible need. However, as we found this freedom comes with the price of overall poor user experience.

    The discovery phase of the project started with undertaking an extensive market and user research. It included conducting over 200 surveys and 30 interviews (one-to-one sessions and focus groups) with students, lecturers, learning technologists and administrators. The research outputs were collated and used for building user personas, user journeys, design guidelines, MVP and future development goals. Low and high fidelity prototypes were built and then tested with 20 students.

    Project Goal

    Our goal as a team was to create a user-centered VLE solution which provides relevant functionality, consistent look and feel, and positive user experience out-of-the-box.

  • Top Research Findings

    What do students use their VLE for?

    • assignment icon 65%

      Submit work

    • course icon 59%

      Download resources

    • 43% grade icon

      Receive marks

    • The figures above were acquired from the surveys conducted. As it can be seen, not surprisingly, the most common activities students perform are submitting assignments followed by downloading/accessing course materials and receiving their grades. The percentage of students who reported using the VLE for other tasks plunges to 12% and less. Some of these are: contacting friends/tutors (12%), collaboration (12%) and downloading/watching recorded lectures (6%).

    Where is the problem?

    • Accessing and submitting assignments

      Despite this being the most important task students complete within the VLE it is associated with a variety of serious issues. Many students reported that the system is too slow when processing uploads and system feedback is not clear enough. For example, no upload progress indication and confusion around whether the submission was successful or not. Other issues include finding assignments is too complicated and deadline reminders are not correct or confusing. Some students talked about missing deadlines or submitting twice due to the poor notification system.

    • Accessing grades and feedback

      There isn't a single instance where students can easily find all of their grades. The journey to finding a grade in the VLE was described as a complicated task that feels very similar to physically going to a department in the university. Additionally, some lecturers said that many times students can't find their feedback and complain about not receiving any.

    • Navigation and clutter

      Students generally have high expectations when it comes to technology, being exposed to different software platforms on a daily basis. They expect to find what they need quickly and easily. However, this could be quite a challenge in Moodle. The system is clunky, cluttered and the navigation is complicated and confusing. Searching for a specific thing involves too many clicks, endless scrolling and wandering through too many pages.

    • Accessing course materials

      We found similar issues based on the complicated site navigation. However, students also report they find it frustrating that course pages look very different to each other and even inconsistent. A need for a clearer pattern of how information is presented was expressed.

    • Inconsistency of lecturer usage

      Lecturers' usage of the VLE greatly influences the overall student experience and satisfaction. Many students reported that they are not happy about the fact that some lecturers don't use Moodle enough, don't know how to use it or even refuse using it at all.

    • Look and feel

      Last, but not least, generally no one likes how the system looks like. The majority of users interviewed feel like it looks old-dated, clunky and boring.

  • Research Outputs

    User Personas

    The research outputs were used to build a range of personas reflecting the needs, goals and motivations of Moodle users within Higher Education and Further Education.

    • first-year student

      Bio

      Claudia is in her first year of BA English Literature. She is excited about being at university. She has spent time learning to use the VLE and has good digital literacy. However, she finds Moodle confusing and her lecturers all use it differently. She missed her first deadline because she didn’t see the notification, so she is wary of it now.

    • continuing student

      Bio

      Sam is very digitally literate, using programmes such as Premier, Final cut, Photoshop regularly, as well as Instagram and other social media to promote his work. However, it took a long time to get familiar with Moodle. Now he’s used to it and it’s fine. He uses college computers as well as personal devices and access to multimedia files is very important.

    • distance learning student

      Bio

      As an MA distance learning student, access to Moodle is vital; the whole course is structured around it. Working in a refugee camp means internet access is intermittent, so being able to work offline and find information quickly and easily when she can log-on is vital. Communication tools are also key- this includes discussions with classmates via forums and feedback on essays from tutors.

    • further education student

      Bio

      As a BTEC IT student, Martin uses Moodle regularly to look at course materials and upload work. He uses it when the teacher has posted something, or at a deadline/exam. He is guided by the teacher’s content. The navigation can be difficult and the high volume of content means lots of scrolling and it is easy to get lost or forget what he is looking for.

    • higher education lecturer

      Bio

      Jacob is a lecturer in Neuroimaging. He has been at the university for five years, he is familiar with Moodle and has a good idea of how his students like to use it. He is keen on features such as quizzes and forums, but has come to realise that students only use Moodle if they have to, so he is adapting the digital technology he uses in his teaching accordingly.

    • learning technologist

      Bio

      Stella has worked at the university as a Learning Technologist for three years, she is based in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, which comprises 15 different departments, each of which uses Moodle differently.

  • First Release

    For the first release of Bloom VLE, we chose to focus on 1st-year students as they are usually first-time users as well. For this group, the initial interaction with the system has a great impact on the overall student experience and how they perceive the institution in the future.

    Continuing students generally felt that by the second year they had learnt how to cope with Moodle. For us, it was crucial to reduce that learning curve through redesigning the user journeys. This includes reducing the number of clicks, simplifying the paths to completing certain tasks, reducing the clutter and scrolling across the site and create onboarding tours as a replacement to dedicated training sessions. Last, but not least, we aimed at designing a user interface that looks and feels contemporary and engaging but can also be easily configured depending on the institution's specific needs.

    Claudia: our first-year student

    first-year student

    Bio

    Claudia is in her first year of BA English Literature. She is excited about being at university. She has spent time learning to use the VLE and has good digital literacy. However, she finds Moodle confusing and her lecturers all use it differently. She missed her first deadline because she didn’t see the notification, so she is wary of it now.

    Needs

    • Intuitive interface
    • Confirmation of assignment submission/ receipt
    • Relevant notifications
    • Learn to use the VLE quickly and easily- reduce time that could be spent learning
    • VLE to accurately reflect calendar and deadlines
    • Third party software integrations (Turnitin, Panopto, Google Drive, RefMe, JSTOR, Dropbox, Office 365)

    Frustrations

    • Auto-logout
    • Receiving grades (confusion over where to find grades and feedback)
    • Incorrect assignment notifications
    • Difficult submission system
    • Difference in how some faculty lecturers use the VLE

    When and Where?

    Most days, evenings and weekends. However, the highest usage is near exams and deadlines.

    Devices

    Claudia accesses Moodle mostly on her laptop, but sometimes on the library computers as well. She also uses her tablet/ smartphone to read course materials while writing her assignments on the laptop.

    Minimum Viable Product

    • Produce a theme ready for Beta testing
    • Improve access to grades and feedback
    • Improve access to assignments and submission process
    • Implement configurable settings

    User Stories

    Based on the determined MVP features, we started by breaking down current task flows and aimed at reducing the steps of completing a task to a maximum of 5 clicks per task. To help us to redesign the existing functionality we created a series of user stories covering different situations and contexts of Claudia submitting assignments, finding her grades, finding her feedback and finding course materials.

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  • Deliverables

    So far the Research and Development team has produced a default Bloom theme for Moodle and 2 user facing plugins: Bloom Information Panel and Bloom Agenda panel.

    Initial Design Process

    We started by breaking down current task flows and aimed at reducing the steps of completing a task to 5 clicks per task.

    prototype screenshot

    Bloom Information Panel

    The Information Panel encompasses the desired features of the MVP, provide quick access to assignment and grades, with the addition of displaying up-to-date courses information. The panel is constructed from 3 functional parts:

    • Activity Deadlines- displays all activity deadlines within a week or at least 5 items, sorted by most urgent deadline and includes a quick link to the assignment submission page. Activities with a deadline within the current week or overdue items are indicated as urgent. Currently, the functionality allows for 3 types of activities, however, in the next steps of development the Information Panel will be able to display any activity type with a set deadline.
    • Grades- displays 5 of the most recently published grades and includes quick links for viewing and downloading feedback.
    • Courses- provides latest updates about the courses the student is currently enrolled in and links to new or activities which need attention. This functionality was added after validation testing sessions during which students reported that, although it's useful to have such quick access to their grades and deadlines they consider it a frustrating experience to see either straight after logging in. Thus, "Courses" is the default active tab.

    All tabs include a link to a page which displays all courses (current and past), all assignments (submitted and upcoming) and all grades.

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  • Bloom Agenda Block

    The Agenda Block allows easier way of managing personal timetables. It displays a number of the student's closest upcoming events. Additionally, the block includes a quick link for creating new events.

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  • Bloom Custom Icon Font

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    Activity Icons

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