A teaching app to bridge educational gaps and streamline lesson planning

16 weeks
(May - Sep, 2023)
Me, UX/Product Designer
5 Designers
1 Design Manager
1 Product Manager
1 Product Lead
1 Stakeholder
My Roles
UI Prototyping
UI Components & Design System
User Flows & Sitemap
Usability Testing
User Interview & Survey
Handoff Documentation
Adobe Creative Suite
Sawa Africa's SomaSawa program mentors Kenyan school teachers to bridge children's educational gaps in fundamental numeracy and literacy.
However, the learning program faced challenges with the handwriting recording system and lesson planning. So, our client reached out to us for a digital solution for their educators.
A group of children with a teacher doing SomaSawa's learning activity. (Photo from Rafiki Africa website)
Teachers rely on paper for planning lessons, which is time-consuming and inconsistent.
Paper-based attendance recording is also difficult to track students' performance.

‍How can we ensure consistency in SomaSawa's teaching programand streamlining the record-tracking system?


Empower teachers to log class and lesson plans by student groups, integrating to-do lists and leveraging experienced input through keyword suggestions and @tag.

Outcome 1

Designed an Android app and design system end-to-end that is ready to imply at next phase

Outcome 2

Streamlined the complex learning program, saving 40 mins/day on lesson planning and student assessment

Outcome 3

95% of teachers highly approved of the app, indicating its strong alignment with the Somasawa program.

Centralized actions on home screen

Strategically placed on the home screen are essential functions: easy clock-in, clock-out, and student attendance recording, all just a single click away.

Effortless attendance recording

Recording attendance is made easy with a checkbox list, including select/deselect all and sorting options. This boosts accuracy and efficiency in data entry.

Lesson planning with to-do list and suggestions

Leverage insights from fellow educators with keyword-based activity suggestions. The integrated to-do list ensures smooth tracking of lesson progress.

Sharing lesson plans with educators

Easily share lesson plans by tagging colleagues and leaving comments. This feature is particularly useful for requesting time off or seeking curriculum reviews.

Smooth student assessment

Manage student profiles with ease, including key personal info, attendance, and performance tracking. The app auto-documents student progress using daily agenda data.


Three sides to every story

To uncover program infrastructure issues deeply, we interviewed all educator levels: program coordinator (overseeing whole schools), mentors (mentoring teachers), and teachers.

Also, we had to wake up at 5 a.m. to meet the educators from Kenya 🫠

Interview Overview
Question to Program Coordinator
Question to Mentors
Question to Teachers
Program coordinators and mentors focused on record tracking and substituting absent teachers, while teachers highlighted lesson plan concerns. As teachers are major app users, we surveyed them to gain more insights after the interview, exploring motivations and challenges in SomaSawa's teaching.
Survey Overview
Survey Questions
The gathered responses from the interview and survey were meticulously categorized into five key themes.
Curriculum concerns

Teachers' curriculum planning is often hindered due to vague agreements, incomplete activities, and a lack of target objectives.

Difficulties in paper-based systems

Paper-based systems hinder accurate attendance, lesson tracking, and student progress assessment.

Communication challenge

Educators rely on verbal communication for lesson-off requests and curriculum feedback, which is not efficient.

Frustration on wasting time

8/14 teachers mentioned inadequate time for SomaSasa, especially on lesson planning and student performance tracking.

Grouping students by level

Teachers group students by their performance so they can teach students at their level


Engaging in weekly meetings, we shared our findings with the client stakeholder, sparking in-depth discussions on each insight and scoping that is feasible under our timeline.
Through iterative exchanges, we ultimately honed in on the three core pain points with 6 use cases.
Curriculum inconsistencies

Issues arise from uneven communication, curriculum, and schedules. Clear expectations and consistent procedures are sought.

Standardized way to create a class

Before a new term starts, every teacher can create a new class in a uniform way

Keyword suggestions for teaching objectives

Suggested weekly objectives or daily activities will show up based on teachers' keyword input

Ineffective tracking system

Current paper-based tracking hampers personalized teaching and risks record loss. A streamlined solution is needed.

Teacher attendance management

Allow teachers to clock in/out, take student attendance, apply for leave, and switch classes.

Daily activity to-do list

Enable teachers to plan daily activity to-do lists per group of students. They can check the activities as they go, and incomplete activities will be carried over to the next day.

Students' performance recording

Empower teachers to input students' records, including attendance, baseline and endline assessments, and auto-updates on completed weekly objectives.

Scattered communication

Absence of central communication leads to inefficiencies, heavily relying on verbal contact.

Tagging coworkers to share

Allow teachers to share their weekly objective and daily lesson plan pages with their mentor or coworker by leaving a comment with @tagging the person.

Visualizing solutions from none

One of our biggest challenges was immersing teachers' workflow into the solution without seeing the class. We couldn't travel to Kenya to observe it, and the SomaSawa program had no documented curriculum or standard to share with us.
So we decided to show possible solutions in greyscale low-fidelity wireframes to the client stakeholder and iterate weekly - 9 iterations, including weekly client check-ups and two usability tests with educators. Using greyscale lo-fi wireframes with user story context (instead of Lorem ipsum) was convenient for validating ideas visually and making significant changes quickly.
Click ↗  to look at a bigger view
Daily Agenda

Efforts for consistency

No two designers are the same & a team with 7 designers can be messy!
For design consistency and smooth teamwork, we started with setting sizing, spacing, layout, grid guidelines, text styles, and color tokens. We could move on to polishing components and visuals based on those guidelines.
I also oversaw 160+ hi-fi screens and ensured they followed the style guides and component library.
Additionally, I ensured that every 60+ component was designed to be reusable and responsive, paid attention to accessibility, and added annotations for seamless handoff.

🔒 Coming Soon

This part will be discussed in other case study - Sawa App: Design System


We evaluated the product by usability testing, survey, and client meeting.
KPI: Teachers' time on lesson planning, attendance recording, student assessment, and tracking students' progress

Streamlined the complex learning program, saving 40 mins/day on lesson planning and student assessment

95% of teachers highly approved of the app, indicating its strong alignment with the Somasawa program.

See Prototype

Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects
Other projects

Promoting donation with improved information hierarchy and streamlined contents management

Coming Soon Aligning 70+ styles and components and design consistency, following WCAG 2.1 guideline and Material Design 3