Fronter has developed the learning platform to include functionality demanded by schools and municipalities across the Nordics and Europe for 17 years. Over time, it grew into a selection of nearly 100 tools and now, there’s almost nothing you can’t do in Fronter.
The only problem is, not many people are doing it. Most of you will only ever use a very small set of functionality. Why is that?
When we meet you - and when you respond to our surveys - your answer to that question is loud and clear:
Stop trying to do everything. Instead, be great at the teaching and learning tools used by teachers in their day to day job. It may then seem like a paradox that those who issue tenders, continue to ask for more and more functionality. They do not, however, ask as clearly for intuitive design of this functionality or, simply put, an enjoyable user experience.
Our talented employees are getting impatient. They say that squeeze between what they must develop so that Fronter can respond to tenders, and what they want to develop - things that will actually make life easier, better, more enjoyable and more efficient for teachers - is painful.
And so we say enough, already. Fronter has been asked to do too much and it has come at the expense of usability. Our product development going forward will be all about making the service simpler.
We’ll spend less time and effort on functionality used only by the few. These resources will be better spent on projects to make Fronter more mobile, more user friendly and more inspiring. We’re building some parts anew. They’re fully adapted to the new devices we’re using, and fully taking on board new expectations to just how simply things can be done online.
As a result, we will no longer respond to tenders with must-have requirements that only a minority will ever adopt - we just don’t have time to build functionality unless it supports teachers’ workflow. And on that note, we invite all procurement departments, tendering bodies and municipalities to join the conversation. We think the time has come for redesign, not for adding more. And we have started:
Have a look at the new Planner. It’s built on the principle of mobile first, in close cooperation with teachers and students who have tried, tested and provided feedback throughout the development period. This, say the teachers, is a really useful feature that supports our creative and pedagogical efforts.
We’re also launching a new app. We’re not trying to replicate the entire learning platform on your mobile, but to make it easy to do the things your pupils want to do on their phones and tablets. In version 1, we take first things first; the app gives notifications of assignments, tests and relevant news. It also notifies pupils when an assignment or a test has been evaluated. And, it allows for uploading files. A small project that we believe will make a big difference.
And there’s this new website, where we encourage you to take part in the conversation about what the learning platform should be and how it can best support you.
Technology is evolving incredibly fast and the opportunities are huge for those who dare seize them. We do. And this means that some of the old ways of developing - and purchasing - technology for schools should be left behind. What we will never leave behind is the competence Fronter has gained throughout its years in education, or the relationships to the thousands of schools that use Fronter, which are now more important than ever.
/ GENERAL MANAGER, NILS SUNDSTEIGEN
Posted on Wed, May 27, 2015
by Sofia Linde