Evaluating Blackboard LMS

This User Journey map shows the problems users run into when setting up the course website.

User Journey Map

A consistent finding is that while there are a lot of features,  setting things up takes a lot of poking around the websites, a lot of trial-and-error to figure out the appropriate settings. It often takes a call to the university’s helpline or extensive searching on Blackboard’s help section online. Even after all that extra research the  instructors have had a hard time adjusting all the settings – for example, one instructor complained that while he can see the scores for an assignment, his students can’t, and he is not sure how to fix that. The interface is not clear, and far from intuitive.

Entry Point/ Onboarding

This is the instructors’ entry point  to the course website. The only clearly labeled function is creating an announcement.   Remember we identified the most frequently used functions as making files accessible, and measuring and communicating student progress.

Entry point

As Linee Strind points out,” being on the end user’s side is a key part of being a good designer.” – so how does interface help users accomplish their goals? Instructors look at this screen bewildered, trying to decide which button to click, and feeling inadequate.

Let’s try clicking on the buttons  under “Course Management – File Tools”. What we get is a list of 23  functions in alphabetical order, 80% of which never get used. The other Course Management tools are organized in the same manner.

Alphabetically ordered long list of menu itemsHere are the screenshots of the flyout menus:

If you are a new user, which button would you click on to get started? Which button takes you to create a survey? How easy are they to find?


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