Microsoft Learning Tools can improve reading and writing comprehension for all audiences by viewing content in an immersive reading mode, using tools to enhance text, and activating a voice reader. Learning Tools started as a small hackathon project, but with the success of winning the Microsoft’s company-wide hackathon, Learning Tools has grown to be included in products across Microsoft.
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Teachers with diverse classrooms often struggle to help the students move forward as a group and end up spending too much time managing assistive tech solutions. Learning Tools aimed to address the diverse needs of students such as ESL learners seeking to improve fluency, new readers wanting more confidence, or students with learning disabilities struggling to decode text.
As the sole UX/UI designer during hackathon week I quickly worked through multiple design directions before creating the final beta designs for development. FoIlowing the hackathon, I worked closely with engineering to ensure the initial beta product turned out as planned and had a successful rollout to educators across the world.
Starting from a simple feature list, there were a lot of explorations to consider for this project in a short amount of time. The design that resonated most with the team and aligned best with the large amound of exisiting research was an immersive experience that removed the navigation clutter unrelated to the student’s reading.
This project emerged from the 2015 Microsoft Hackathon as the overall Grand Prize winner and took 1st place for the Student/Schools category. Recently, Learning Tools was awarded a US patent for it’s immersive reading technology.