User experience of the week: Treehouse online learning platform

Now that my General Assembly class is over, I’m looking for ways to continue learning how to create great user experiences. Being able to articulate strengths and weaknesses from a UX perspective is something I’m working on, so I decided to try a new thing and see how it goes. Each week, I’ll do a short post about a great (or not so great) experience I had as a user and talk about what made it that way.

So I’ll start with a good one. I haven’t counted how many hours I’ve spent on Treehouse in the past year, but it’s a LOT. In case you’re not familiar, Treehouse is an online learning platform, and they offer classes in all areas of tech, from basic computer literacy to Python, JavaScript, and C# development. A lot of learning for Code Louisville is done via Treehouse, which is how I got introduced to it.

In my opinion, intuitiveness is what makes Treehouse a really good experience. (By the way, nobody’s giving me any incentive to say any of this.) I never had to read a manual on how to use Treehouse, or consult any FAQ section. The visual cues on the site were enough to show me around the first time I visited the site. Here are four other navigation elements that make the platform enjoyable to use:

Treehouse UX

1.Overall progress tracking

For the most part, I’m not a fan of gamification. It just makes me feel like I’m being manipulated for some reason. (I can’t stand fitness tracking apps for this reason.) But I actually do enjoy seeing my points increase and the composition of the doughnut chart change as I complete more courses on Treehouse.

Having that information right there at the top right is cool too, because it makes me feel accomplished and it’s something I probably wouldn’t go looking for otherwise.

2.Progress tracking within the course

When I’m working my way through a four hour JavaScript basics course and not really enjoying any of it, at least I know where I am within the course, and how much more I have to sit through.

It’s nice to have the little checkmarks that indicate you’ve completed a section and the icons that indicate a video, a code challenge, or a quiz is coming up.

3.Indication of time commitment

Along that same line, it’s cool to be able to hover over a play button icon and see how long a video is. Do I need to brace myself for a 10-minute explanation of arrays and loops, or is it just a three-minute explanation? My question is answered immediately.

4.Progress tracking for the day

As I said previously, I’m not a fan of gamification for the most part, but I’ve been known to stick around for an extra video or two in order to move that line chart that’s documenting my progress for the day. Maybe it’s the suggestion to keep up the momentum that’s motivating me as well?

I’ll close with a random note. I’m currently creating the user interface for a butter of the month club as part of my Code Louisville JavaScript React course. I really never know where learning will take me next!

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 11.39.52 AM
Not a real club yet, but let me know if you want to run with this idea.

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