Blackbaud Everfi
Case Study

Crafting Compelling Narration Architecture


At an education technology company the main focuses and goals that we're seeking to solve for are to engage and help our users learn and reach the higher levels of thinking we want them to. And collaborating with learning experience (LX) designers and discovering the differing ideas we had, led to frustration and unnecessary effort to solve a problem that turned out we were both wrong about. After thorough user testing, we discovered though our values are in the right direction and our process a bit lengthy and overtly complex, they were not yielding the results we thought we were designing for all along.

Which is when I started to dissect and ideate upon the problem at hand. Questions such as: How can we better design for our users so they're reaching higher on Bloom's taxonomy of learning? Are the designs we're creating even reaching the bare minimum of what we thought they were? Are our users even learning?

The last question was the most jarring question, because frankly it was scary and so I began to create a streamlined process that spoke to all the questions listed along with the many design process questions that we also had as designers. Design systems help give designers guidelines and a toolkit to work off of but we were lacking such a toolkit for the collaboration of LX and UX designers. This is where the gap fills to resolve this issue.


Brand Design UI & UX Product Design Website Development Content Writer & SEO


UX Design Lead




As a designer there are certain biases that we all have that can defer from our stakeholders and also defer from what our users are seeing. Being tasked with working alongside learning experience designers, I found that we often had differing perceptions of what was working well and what was not working well the digital courses we were creating.

So what was the best way to combat this issue and resolve it to make it easier?


Bloom's taxonomy is a hierarchical model used to divide the framework of cognitive skills that help teachers and students. It divides learning into a varying levels of learning according to complexity and richness. This model is what we used to base our designs on and whether the teachers were reaching such levels.

User testing results from the courses we were creating showed that the level and depth of learning users were accomplishing were not hitting that of what we had hypothesized. Although disappointing, this meant that we had to ideate a solution that could actually solve for this problem. And what levels of Bloom's taxonomy were we actually reaching for each design component? 

Design Systems

UX designers rely on the guidelines of a design system in order to create design patterns that creates visual consistency across products and allow for designs to be quickly created and replicated with ease and at scale. We presently do have a well rounded and thought out design system which served the needs for UX designers, however, in this scenario, doesn't solve for our collaboration with LX designers.

Ensuring we're "speaking" the same language was necessary for collaboration. Tools that us as the UX designers were using were not familiar with the LX designers and just would overcomplicate the process if they implemented the same design process we went through.

Which is why I started to lean towards creating a templatized process with direct data to prove the success of each individual learning design component in relation to users, optimized the design process which opened up for better collaboration and communication. Streamlining story telling through a formulaic templatized process has made it much easier for designers to choose between proper components and what activities to reach a higher level of thinking for our users and learners.

A design system for UX and LX designer collaboration! 

Ideation and Evaluation

I started to ideate and work on the idea of creating a design system that blended the two worlds we had as LX and UX designers into one. Looking up on the process that we had in our design process was the first step in doing so. Because where along the way are we used such the design system as a guideline was vital to the success of these guidelines working.

As you can see there is collaboration between UX and LX throughout the design process and then drop off the either designers as we go further along the design process. But where does that happen that'll help both designers collaborate and expedite and streamline our design collaboration process?

Firstly, I gathered that data from user research and testing to evaluate the unmet needs of both our end users and designers. I began to start to ideate on what tool could be used to create such solution. I started out with a design system example to use but it was rather hard for LX designers to operate with as the design tools UX designers use aren't as familiar and necessary for LX designers to use. This is when I started to work upon the different iterations of this possible design system.

Gathering user interviews from all the designers on the teams, I was able to come to a greater understanding of the pain points that designers were experiencing. Some expressed frustration when collaborating effectively because of the back and forth that existed and led to a strained timeline for developers. Misunderstanding and lack of background of the capabilities of components and now even the success of components succeeding in the level of Bloom's taxonomy were put in question.

With further user testing from our learners to dive into the depths of our courses, we discovered the disconnect that we had for our components and where they stand along Bloom's taxonomy. Cross referencing with surveys from our own designers, I saw the difference between where the nuances were and how to better utilize designs to our benefit. I then started to map out the various components we had in our design systems into hierarchical order according to Bloom's taxonomy. Along with this started to build a foundation that designers could use as a course narrative foundational system that allows designers to build unconscious patterns that not only allow learners to feel a flow of understanding but also build upon that knowledge to reach the levels of Bloom's taxonomy that we were striving to reach for.

Thus a design system that provided guidelines for design users to work off of and see the patterns of the course product they were designing for was created. This design system helps to seamlessly allow designers to accelerate design decisions because such decisions were already made for them with their collaboration in the past, AND was backed with data and research. The look and feel of the components all resonated with the patterns that they were meant to adhere to and also helps the end users visually see and go through actions that we as the designers intend them to accomplish.

Results and Reflection

With additional iterations and user feedback, I presented the final design to all the designers both LX and UX. And this process was later implemented in our design collaboration process! It enabled designers to collaborate concisely and gave UX designers a greater understanding of the levels of learning that LX designers were trying to achieve. The foundation was necessary to be honed because each designer wasn't collaborating earlier into the design process. Understanding of software and technology was also a pain point voiced by LX designers which I mitigated by hosting Figma workshops because designing and creating documentation where users are actually going to be using them is crucial to a seamless process and ease of use. In the future, I still believe iterations of this design collaboration system needs to be kept up to date and evolve with workflows. I want to continuously work on the design system as new perspectives and components are developed for use for designers. But a design system creates a foundation for all design work and having one for narration and course building is no exception short of that.

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