Bonsai: The Internet’s Academic Advisor

Bonsai helps learners to discover, collect and share educational content.

Using a bookmarklet system and playlists of content called collections, a learner can organize lessons and examples for themselves while directing the community to these quality resources as well.


User Testing – The Feedback

WOW. I got some amazing feedback from my class- Thanks everyone!

After listening to an example of user testing suggested by the UX syllabus, I led a feedback session with the entire class. User testing is usually done with a linked wireframe, one person at a time. I asked the class specific open ended questions at each step of the site, and got a similar experience, receiving lots of thoughtful opinions at once!

The best thing I could have done was to record the audio of my session. With so much constructive feedback, It was great to listen to it again in detail. I was so helpful that I will record every feedback session I can from now on!

Here’s a summary of my questions & the feedback I received:

Will you fill out the entire form?

  • Yes
  • I wouldn’t fill out the time because It may reduce my chances of finding what I want
  • It should be a sort later
  • Categories of time
  • Search by other criteria then filter by time

Can you tell me what you see here in the search results?

  • Confused about the time parameter
  • Reaction to layout: Netflix interface — Each row would be different types of movies
    • When she sees a line of things she assumes they are similar and the next line is different.
    • Sort by tab will make it better
    • Sort tag vs pre-sorting
  • Filter time once search results are presented

Any feedback on the sign up form?

  • Get person’s level of expertise 
  • Get preferred learning style
  • Sign up whenever – use
  • Sign up WITHOUT bookmarklett
  • Make every action cancelable
  • Log in with Facebook & Twitter accounts

Would you know how to install the bookmarklett?

  • Called something that says what it does
  • Cancel button
  • You have to drag for it to go away
  • Keep the fun copy
  • People don’t read anything
  • Change the sign up language to allude to the installation of the bookmarklett
    • Install the bookmarklett to create collections
    • Collect your knowledge from the greater internet
  • Make the user aware that they are signing up to use the bookmarklett
  • Allow a user to sign up without the bookmarklett

Would you fill out the form after hitting the Collect bookmarklett?

  • Why would you collect a 1 star lesson?… You wouldn’t.
  • Don’t ask for a rating when collecting… only when editing materials
  • Assume that the first person that tags content likes it and would give it 5 stars

Would you click the tell us more link? What would prohibit you from using it?

  • Say “Tell us more” not “can you tell us more” – be more direct
  • I’m not sure why I would do this? 
  • People love to talk about and rate shit…
  • If it popped up it would be more scientific
  • Use an iframe model where it pops up to the side. It will be there in real time to take notes, and you can even have a timer that automatically tags the site with the length of stay on the page.
  • Integrate the types of reactions that people have during different parts of the content. Similar to iBooks where there is a “people often highlight” section showing the path of other users.
  • I would want the interface laid in the screen and lets me take notes while viewing the content instead of waiting to tag it at the end.
  • Collect info when people are looking at the content even if they don’t submit the form
  • History – you would learn how much time YOU spend on different topics
  • bookmark tagging — look at it
  • I want to see my learning path

Collecting the cover image / categories:

  • “The Pinterest model for education”
  • Like the option to create your own board on Pinterest

Your collections scroll thru or select from list?

  • The ability to share the collections with others or curate for a class is a nice feature
  • Is there a way to sequence these things? — Needs the ability to reorder materials within the collection
  • Give drag handles automatically to the person who is the collection “owner”

Give a way to Edit Notes

iFrame may work out as a better way for collecting

Greg suggested checking out, and liked the ability I showed about screen-shotting the thumbnail on the page.

User Testing

Tomorrow, I’d like to use my critique time in class to do a quick user test of my site.

On the UX syllabus, the homework suggests to “define the things you would want a user to understand or do.” I came up with some example questions that may be hard without a clickable prototype, but here they are:


  1. Understand that the site is for discovering and collecting educational content.
    • What do you think the site is about?
  2. Know to fill out the entire form.
    • What would you do first?
  3. Understand that there is a way to collect their favorite tutorials.
    • How would you find a tutorial you searched for in the past again?
  4. Use the bookmarklett with ease.
    • What would you do if you just found a great article you’d like to return to?
  5. Feel an attachment to their collection like a personal bookshelf.
    • Would you use it? Why?
  6. Know where their collections live.
    • How would you view a specific collection?
  7. Edit their description.
    • How would you add to your description?
  8. Know how to log out.
    • How would you log out?

What do you expect to be able to do?

What would make it more useful?

Where can it go? How else could you use it?