Ark Header

A Learning Resource For Beekeepers

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) approached us to design and develop ARK — their online learning tool. This is an online portal to help their members improve their beekeeping knowledge.

We joined the ARK project in its early stages and worked with the BBKA team to help plan and develop it from the ground up. We created a visual identity, including a logo and icon set, to create a unified look and feel across all elements, while still complimenting the BBKA brand. The web application involved creating a user friendly and intuitive site structure, that would allow users to quickly and easily find beekeeping information and record their learning progress.

Creating an engaging user experience

The ARK project had a very clear goal to measure its success — improve members’ beekeeping knowledge in a quantifiable way. There were two key challenges for the user experience of this project; firstly, ensure users can easily find relevant information and, secondly, make the experience engaging enough to return and continue to learn.

The information architecture was largely dictated by the course structure laid out by the beekeepers curriculum, which provided a good starting point to how we could best present the content. After creating initial prototypes and testing them we settled on an accordion style list which allowed users to quickly get an overview of the course then drill down into the individual topics.

Micro-Learning Experiences

To help user build familiarity with the system, help overlays were used to give context-specific information on how to get the most out of ARK.

Maintaining User Engagement

The second challenge was to ensure users wanted to return to use ARK and continue to learn. We introduced a status system, where the user self-assesses their knowledge on a given course element to help track their progress. Alongside this, we also provided research material directly from the BBKA as well as the ability to add notes to each element so that ARK would become their primary resource for beekeeping.

Taking Learning Offline

To further support user’s learning, we provided the functionality for teachers to provide beekeeping courses to users in a targeted way. Users can add location details to their account, which provides email updates on courses in their area. ARK also provides a searchable listings page, for those who don’t mind travelling further afield.

Technical Considerations

Due to the fairly complex requirements of ARK, it was decided early on that this project would require a custom-built web application. Our team selected a robust, flexible framework and built a solid platform for the system.

Featuring complex functionality such as CSV data importing, searching by distance from a geographic point and dynamic drag-and-drop curriculum administration, the client and their members were delighted with how easy-to-use the system is.

Menu Functionality

A hidden menu allows users to quickly access and edit account information without compromising on space.

Creating a Visual Identity

The inspiration for the logo came from the ‘waggle dance’ bees use to communicate. Bees circle then ‘waggle’ to indicate the distance to a resource. The angle of the waggle in relation to the sun indicates the direction. We thought this pattern was a fitting metaphor for ARK. From this initial concept, we developed a series of icons based around the style to help direct users around the site, giving visual clues as to what content and actions are available to them.

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