This project began with a desire to streamline the process of joining a course for students. In order to fully understand the pain points in this process, I began by creating a diagram of all the different ways a student could join a course in the current system. After some initial sketches, I created a flowchart in order to clarify where students could get lost and why. This prompted a new iteration of the chart that included different flows based on whether or not the course requires an application, payment, and/or review process by the instructor.
These charts helped refine the focus of the project to the login/register process preempted by the "join course" button. To explore how other organizations approached this problem, I compiled screenshots of alternative flows into a single image to easily compare them to one another and to the current workflow of the organization.
After some additional research into companies in other industries, I began mocking up a spectrum of alternatives, from simple text changes all the way through switching from a page to a modal. These initial mockups helped guide the decision to focus on a two-column page layout for short term implementation and a modal layout for future development. While harder to develop, the modal would be the most clear as the context for logging in/registering would be provided by the course page behind it. However, the two-column layout would be easy to implement and would at least provide greater clarity in terms of whether someone should login or register.
After deciding to focus on the two-column layout in the short term, I continued to iterate on this mockup to explore how we could provide a more cohesive experience from clicking "join now" to the application and payment pages. By playing with the course badge, title, and image we were able to settle on a layout that provided the context of the course but did not compete with the prominence of the login/register instructions.
By working directly with the development team, I was able to quickly iterate and come up with solutions that were easily implemented within days after deciding on a layout. In addition, the breadth of options I was able to provide helped rationalize the plan to devote time and resources to develop a modal layout in the future.