It's been almost three years since I wrote anything substantive on UX and the Design industry. I've been busy launching new businesses over at Mediahuis, Ireland's largest publisher. Working in the Start Up Studio is almost like having your own businesses, it's thrilling and all consuming. There are the highs and lows of course, especially when ideas that you where championing underperform in user testing or MVP launches. However, that's the beauty of honest research participants and objective performance indicators such as conversion data. You have to take a deep breath and move on to the next concept.
One product that did make it through the funnel operates in the professional education environment, it's called Learning Force. It started out with an ambition to carve out some of the global online education market, expected to reach $133bn by 2023.
The original concept was to present learning from journalists who work for the world’s greatest newspapers as they discuss the most important topics of our time. Inspired largely by Masterclass. However, research told us that if users were going to spend their own money, or that of their employer, they wanted accredited courses. Having something 'to show' for their investment was critical. From the capability point of view, the product also felt too complex in terms of having to establish and maintain relationships with other publishers.
When searching for a differentiator, research also told us that students were disappointed that many courses do not bridge the gap between theory and real-world practice. Therefore, Learning Force offers accredited courses from trusted third parties, overlaid with masterclasses from Mediahuis’s industry experts. The digital marketing courses also include the opportunity for students to pitch our Marketing department. A great thing to be able to say in an interview or put in one's portfolio.
That was just a short reflection on some of my more recent activity. The power of research and speaking to industry stakeholders has never been as relevant. More updates to follow.
I'm Frank Gaine. Strategist, Designer, Manager, Founder, Educator.