Public-facing online learning platform

The Iron Yard

Case Study

Our team helped The Iron Yard build a complex internal learning management system, then re-design it to be launched as a public-facing learning product.

Design
for Learning

The Iron Yard was the world's largest code school, offering immersive code education programs across 25 campuses in the US and UK. The unique needs of both students and instructors operating in an immersive environment and flipped-classroom format demanded a custom learning and classroom management system flexible enough to deliver dynamic curricula both online and in-person.

Our team architected the app and designed user flows and interface features using direct input from actual students and instructors.

Designing for two separate users in the same app is no small challenge, especially when each user is interacting with a large variety of content and separate analytics dashboards. Our greatest challenge, though, was also designing for the company's leadership team, who wanted to use data from the product to build quality assurance models and analyze current and past classroom efficacy.

Process

Our design process relies on solving user flows ahead of time through research and mapping, which translate into prototypes built on a modular design system—the foundation of flexible, scalable interfaces.

Prototyping Examples

Newline rebranding,
public launch

As The Iron Yard's curricula and learning platform became established and gained credibility, the leadership responded to marketplace demand for a non-classroom, self-paced online code education program.

Our team was presented with the challenge of extending the learning management app we'd built for teachers and students into a stand-alone, public-facing product. The result was Newline.

The new brand allowed our interface designers to experiment with new ways of interacting with students that were previously limited by The Iron Yard's branded system, even with the flexible sub-brand.

Our team composed a new design system and re-engineered key user flows based on real user data from the learning management system.

Component Based Approach

In building Newline, we completely re-thought our interface-building strategy. Rather than creating full prototypes and then disassembling them into components, we opted to build and style the components as part of the prototyping process, crafting a modular design system around key user interface elements. The resulting system allowed our team to rapidly build and test new interfaces and features as we collected feedback from users and observed their behavior in the app.

Division Of Labor