Policymaker is a Django application that was developed to facilitate simulation exercises for students at the University of Michigan.
ObjectiveUnderstand how instructors design simulation exercises in order to improve the workflow for creating and facilitating simulations while creating a better experience for student participants.
ProcessFrom the existing MVP app and related user feedback, define and prioritize the areas to redesign and what features should be included next.
SolutionA flexible editor for facilitators to build, share, and reuse simulations, and an immersive experience for participants.
The hardest part about working on this app is designing an interface that can be understood and used by anyone, regardless of their level of knowledge about simulations. While some apps are easier to relate to others, Policymaker is constantly challenging our ability to rely on workflows that users are familiar with.
What I Learned
I was pushed to step out of my front-end comfort zone on this project and have been working on the backend Python and Django. This has been an exciting (and equally frustrating at times) experience and has really helped to solidify a lot of foundational programming concepts that I was unfamiliar with. I also lead the design and front-end development efforts on this project, which has been great for learning how to manage priorities.
The next phase of the Policymaker is an overhaul of the simulation editor as we continue to learn more about potential use cases for additional schools at U-M and around the country. We have conducted many interviews and user tests after the conclusion of the in-simulation interface and will continue to iterate on that and our branding and marketing efforts.