Defining a New Student Experience

Web App
Product Design

The Discovery Corps web app is a platform designed to help students showcase achievements and progress in science learning programs. The app features the ability to earn badges, showcase portfolios, and highlight learning progress.

Main image of Discovery Corps.

Project Plan

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Client: Pacific Science Center

Date: March 2018

Duration: 3 Months

Role: Lead Product Designer

Tools: Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, InVision, Zeplin

About the Client
The Pacific Science Center, located in Seattle, is a premier institution that strives to inspire lifelong interest in science, technology, and math. Their interactive exhibits and educational programs attract over one million visitors annually. The center recently collaborated with the University of Washington’s Information School to develop a web application that recognizes student achievement in their Discovery Corps science learning program.

Client creative brief of Discovery Corps.

Key Perceptions

  • Focused and streamlined
  • Informative and valuable
  • Simple and clear
  • Delightful and enjoyable

Design Brief

The Discovery Corps web application will be a natural extension of the Science Center’s web-based products, and will need to appeal to high school aged students who make up the program.

Students, instructors and parents will come away with the impression of a simple and engaging, but powerful tool that provides valuable insight into achievement and activity within the program. The web application will make day-to-day tasks simple, be responsible for providing a delightful experience and track achievements with peers, employers and admission officers.

Key Perceptions

  • Focused and streamlined
  • Informative and valuable
  • Simple and clear
  • Delightful and enjoyable


Problem Statement
The Discovery Corps program at the Pacific Science Center has difficulty tracking and recognizing student achievements, affecting both instructors and students. This can result in lower engagement and motivation, ultimately reducing learning outcomes. By addressing this challenge, the Pacific Science Center can better fulfill its mission of promoting science and technology education.

Discovery Corps objective.

1. Track Learning
Track student learning ladder progress and life skill development through visual digital badges.

Discovery Corps objective.

2. Share Work
Allow students to share achievements and make work visible to peers and supervisors.

Discovery Corps objective.

3. Coordination
Improve the day-to-day coordination, work, and community at the Pacific Science Center.

Discovery Corps objective.

4. Accessibility
Ensure the design is inclusive and meets WCAG 2.0 AA requirements at launch.


As the lead product designer, I was tasked with defining the app’s structure and mapping out its contents. This required a clear understanding of the target audience and their needs, as well as an organized approach to presenting the project's key features and benefits.


Personals of Discovery Corps.

Site Map

The site map is a crucial component of the project, as it outlines the structure and hierarchy of the website, allowing for a clear understanding of the navigation and content organization.

Site map of the Discovery Corps.


Wireframes provide a visual representation of the layout and functionality of the web application, allowing for user interface design and testing before the actual development process begins. In this step I mapped out each page with it’s relevant content, reviewing with steakholders along the way.

Wireframes of pages of Discovery Corps.

Final Design

After defining the personas, creating the site map, and designing wireframes, the next step was to bring everything together to create the final visual design. In this phase, I incorporated the Pacific Science Center's branding and used appropriate language and bright colors to create an engaging and visually appealing experience for students. The design included custom graphics and illustrations that conveyed complex scientific concepts in a fun and easy-to-understand way. The final result was a cohesive and polished design that effectively met the needs of the Discovery Corps program and its users.

Main image of Discovery Corps.

It was also crucial to focus on designing the responsiveness of the web app since students tend to access educational resources on various devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. By ensuring that the web app was optimized for different screen sizes, we were able to provide an engaging and consistent experience for all users, regardless of the device they were using.

Responsive design of Discovery Corps.

Public Portfolios
One new feature we added to the web app was public portfolios. These portfolios allowed students to showcase their progress and accomplishments throughout the program, giving them a sense of pride and motivation to continue their learning journey. This addition not only enhanced the user experience but also helped to promote the program to a wider audience, as students shared their portfolios with friends and family.

Public portfolio pages of Discovery Corps.

We successfully implemented a messaging feature that allowed students to communicate directly with supervisors and other students. This feature proved to be a valuable addition to the platform, as it provided an easy way for students to ask questions, collaborate on projects, and receive feedback in real-time.

Messaging Discovery Corps pages.

Additional Pages
Design quality was emphasized throughout the project's development. We created user-friendly settings pages that were easy to navigate and designed a badge information page that displayed students' achievements in a visually exciting way.

Additional pages of Discovery Corps.

This engaging design encouraged students to continue completing tasks and earning badges. The attention to design details on all of pages helped to create a seamless user experience for the students.

Style Guide

As the lead product designer, I recognized the importance of consistency in design to ensure the success of the product. To achieve this, I created a style guide that outlined color, typography, layout, and other design elements used across the platform.

Discovery Corps style guide.
Discovery Corps style guide.

Outcomes & Results

The Discovery Corps web application was successfully deployed in early 2018. The Pacific Science Center has had great success supporting students from the time they enter the program until they graduate. Nearly 100% of the students who graduated from the program went on to apply to college. The application has helped facilitate student engagement throughout the programs and improve work and community at the Pacific Science Center.

I am proud of what the team accomplished in creating an engaging and effective web app for the Pacific Science Center's Discovery Corps program. However, if given the chance to do it over again, I would focus more on user testing and feedback to further refine the design. Additionally, I would have liked more time to explore additional features further enhance the learning and recognition aspects for the students. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked on this project and feel it was a creative challenge.

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Leading the Vison of a Design System