We’ve been up to a lot in the Education Umbrella offices in the last few weeks, so we thought we’d show you some of our favourite highlights just in case you missed them!
Take a look at our top five new and improved features!
What’s New 1] Empty States
Gemma, our busy-bee graphic designer, has been looking at some of those sections of the website you never really notice but are always there… empty states. For those of you who don’t know, an empty state is a section of a website or app where there is typically no data. For example when you open your basket before adding any products to it.
These blank spaces are a great way to interact with your users, give them tips on what to do next or help them solve a problem that might have occurred.
The classic one to think about is the error 404 page… a frustrating addition to online life. They’re annoying for us, and they’re annoying for the user, so Gemma set about designing something a bit more fun for the site. But first things first, she had to see what things were important to remember when coming up with something new. For a great place to start, nip over to The Next Web and TechCrunch for some pointers… two important things we picked up were that you need a relaxed and friendly environment for customers to interact in and that useful empty states tell you what they’re for, why you’re seeing them and how you can fill them… simple but important things.
We (the royal we, it was totally all Gemma’s designing work) took four of the empty states and filled them with something just a little bit more fun! And so began Euri’s (Education Umbrella’s robotic informer) expedition to see how he could help… take a look!
First off, that dreaded 404 page.
Euri really doesn’t like it when something’s not where it’s supposed to be so we took a quick snap of him while he was upset and added it to the page. Hopefully you won’t have to see him too often, but it does happen occasionally, we’re hoping that our users are going to like this new little addition before they go back to our site.
The next one was an empty basket; as you can see, it wasn’t very useful before!
Euri is very indecisive and never knows what to buy so he always has an empty shopping basket, here he decided to give the customers a little tip on how to find products that they might be interested in.
What about when the customer searches for something and there are no results?
Again, not a particularly useful screen before, but Euri Holmes has come to the rescue with a few of the most common errors that we see in the site’s search history.
Last but not least, our shortlist function.
Look at all that blank space! Look at it! Euri realised that some customers might not know how to add something to a shortlist, so he’s helpfully pointed out the ‘add to shortlist’ button and told everyone what they can be used for.
What’s New 2] “How to…” Updates
Next up we took a look at The Education Cloud. This is where our customers interact with our digital products, and with more people accessing them all the time we knew it was essential to make the journey as easy as possible.
We receive feedback from users all the time, and realised that they might not be able to use our products to their full potential because we weren’t being clear enough.
When you access one of our TECbooks or TECvideos there are seven how-to options to help you manage the resource if you’re a teacher or bursar. Every user journey from here should make customers enjoy their experience, they should log off wanting to come back and use it more, and hopefully recommend it to other teachers. While being faced with perfectly worded text on how to navigate the controls, we realised that it was in fact a block of stark black text that was difficult to look at and boring to read through.
Now, instead of two or three paragraphs of dull text, you’re now faced with bright illustrated bullet points making it as easy as 1-2-3… or 4 as the case above!
What’s New 3] PLUSFIVE
In April we launched our Big Price Lock-in, where we’ve extended our great prices on publishers’ backlist titles to new curriculum publishing from this year. All of our customers will be able to get these top discounts on the site and we’ve created a handy page to help users find books from their chosen subjects (just click on the link at the beginning of this section to take a look)… but I’ve gone off on a tangent… back to point 3!
We want our customers to get the best value for money on the best publishing for their classroom, so as part of our Big Price Lock-in offer we’ve added PLUSFIVE!
This one does exactly what it says on the tin, on top of the Lock-in prices we’ve got an extra 5% on some of the great titles that are part of the Pearson family. (You can use this voucher too until the end of May!) We’ve even included our bestselling GCSE English title, An Inspector Calls, in the offer. This Heinemann edition is by far the most popular English title on the market at the moment so we’re really pleased to be able to include it in the offer at the amazing price of £7.45.
What’s New 4] Page Updates
Everybody needs to have a spring clean now and then, and we’ve been polishing up some of our pages for you.
With lots of curriculum changes coming into effect this year we’ve had an overhaul of our GCSE curriculum pages. With the success of our GCSE English Literature page we’ve followed suit with other key subjects. Each page lays out the key exam boards, their latest specification documents to download, and the key series that are available for each. We’re also working on a new set of A Level pages that will be launched shortly… watch this space!
What’s New 5] Digital Inspection Books
It’s time to call DIBs on your books! (I LOVE this acronym!) For a while now we’ve been wanting to make inspection copies an easier experience for teachers and we’ve got our first batch live on the site now.
Oxford University Press are the first publisher to go live on our site with some of their top texts from Key Stage Three to A Level, and we’ll be releasing some titles from PG Online shortly, too.
Once you’ve requested to see a digital inspection copy you’ll be able to access it straight away from your browser. Following a similar process as our TECbooks you’ll be able to scroll through pages, view the contents of the book and jump to pages within the text.
You’ll be able to see how long left you’ve got to view your DIB each time you open the link from your email, in the example on the left I’ve got this copy of Romeo and Juliet for seven days. You can even forward the email to a colleague and they will be able to access the copy, too.
Pop over to the site today to see the first batch of DIBs and give one a test drive.
So that’s our round up of what’s been happening over the last few weeks here at Education Umbrella! If there are any other features you’d love to see on our site, you’ve noticed something that could use a tweak or you’ve spotted a crying Euri somewhere, drop us a line and let us know!