US Army Hands-On Teaching Program
The US Army National Guard presented the Design Firm I was working for with an interesting project. They had been given a grant from the Department of Defense in partnership with the Partners in Education Program to connect educators to free programs, presentations, and resources available from the National Guard. The goal would be to provide valuable community services to high school students looking to gain new automotive skills and ultimately boost the Guard’s overall visibility.
To effectively promote the program to both educators and Guard members, the Army National Guard partnered with my Design Firm to fully conceptualize the program, design an engaging classroom presentation, develop marketing materials, implement a nationwide outreach strategy, and provide ongoing support and improvements.
The Goal: Real world adventures in a high school classroom
The goal was to highlight a special mobile automotive after-school program that featured hands-on training with the US Army’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee). The US Army National Guard representative wanted to create a web experience that featured multimedia resources that would explore the program details, synopsis of the training, videos, and student signups.
As the Interaction Designer (IxD) of the three-person project team, I worked closely with Army National Guard subject matter experts to understand the user experience (UX) expectations and what an interested student would need from the program. Out of these sessions, we mapped the program scenarios that would guide in designing the program identity, website, multimedia presentation, and promotional materials.
The Vision: Real-world adventures in a high school classroom
To deliver on-target classroom materials and marketing collateral with an aggressive timeline for fielding the program within the current school year, the client needed us to develop lesson plans and classroom materials, design marketing and outreach collateral, and formulate and implement a marketing plan that targets both internal and external audiences nationwide within 3-months.
It was my responsibility to design the interactive elements that students would need for the class. This included the complete website and course Information Architecture, write copy for each of the final website pages, and develop the initial prototype website from the designed user interface mockups.
I was also asked to create the treatments to classroom and website course videos that still needed to be scripted and shot.
UX Reserach: Card Sorting
I started to build this UX project by doing a card sorting exercise with representatives from the US Army National Guard. This moderated closed sort included words and concepts that included all the key elements of the HUMVEE School Program curriculum. After three sessions with five participants each, I was able to compile my research into a draft IA hierarchy PDF document:
Information Architecture Design
I took my card sorting research findings back to the team to vet out what the client research showed versus what we could possibly build within 3-months. From the information I had gathered, combined with feedback from the team, I created the final version of the IA hierarchy that would be used for the website:
The IA design resulted in the creation of mockups to the UI of the website that includes five primary categories:
About the Program – An overview what what the program provide students
HUMVEEs in Action – Showing the capabilities of the vehicle
Careers Behind the Wheel – Jobs that where connected to each of the courses
Downloads – Sharable multimedia and course workbook documents.
Get Started – How to request the program come to your school
The final UI of the website, logo, and IA were all came together into a final mockup:
US Army National Guard HUMVEE School Program website prototype.Additionally, the HUMVEE School Program required the production of multimedia content. The decision was made to shoot short videos to highlight the program during presentations and on the website. I drafted the initial creative briefs, wrote content for the website, and produce the treatment materials that detailed the concepts for producing a series of 60-second videos. These videos were produced by a third-party company using my treatments. The following is an example of the final version of one of those videos:
VIDEO: Mac Beaton discusses the value that the HUMVEE School Program offers students.
Insight and Reflection
I converted the UI prototype into a WordPress website that was delivered to the client before the deadline with high praise. Once all the multimedia content was completed and approved, the HUMVEE School Program began introducing schools and students to the course materials and multimedia content that we helped create.
Role and Acknowledgements
- The US Army National Guard presented the original problem to solve.
- I was a member of a three-person project team as the Interaction Designer (IxD) responsible for creating the user experience scenarios, information architecture, and website layout wireframes.
- I developed the clickable demo website (using WordPress) and created the first draft of the website that was delivered to the client.
#ux #prototype #prototyping #project #humveeschoolprogram
Last modified: July 15, 2021