Impact & Lessons Learned
When users submit their finished application, we animated a burst of confetti. Advisors embraced it — reassuring families that “you’ll know you’re done when you see the confetti.”
MySchools is an extensive, critical government product designed and built from scratch within a demanding timeline. I spearheaded the vision to create not just a functional product, but an easy and equitable experience for families, and I directed its UX from start to finish — supported by incredible UX, UI, dev, and client teams.
- Launched in under 1 year
- Saved 50 million printed pages annually
- Supported 300% increase in 3-K offers
- Won selection as a new standard for other NYC children’s programs
“[Blenderbox brought] enthusiam for solving large user problems, collaborative creativity with our team, and the organizational discipline to deliver on the tight timelines of a highly visible agency such as ours.”
Sarah Kleinhandler, Senior Executive Director,
DOE Office of Student Enrollment
“With the new MySchools portal (which is excellent by the way), families can get as much information online as they can at a table.”
“They were literally like ‘Holy crap’ — in a good way.”
As with any project, there was plenty we could have improved in our process. A few takeaways:
- Enforce a clear separation between user goals and business needs, especially in large systems with lots of inflexible requirements. While we managed to keep user needs central throughout the process, it required constant reminders.
- Making serious, complicated decisions entirely on mobile is challenging for users. The user flow needs to be broken into the smallest steps possible.
- Government projects with a responsibility for transparency can be challenging to make usable — there’s just so much information to provide. Only by trying many different solutions and never settling for the easy way out did we achieve a balance.
- For large, complex projects, hold off on a “complete” discovery phase until you’ve generated some early concepts. Otherwise, you risk wasting time learning more than needed about existing methods that may be entirely replaced. You’ll learn more by throwing out many ideas for stakeholder feedback. Targeted discovery on specific details can then be spread throughout the design process.