NoƩmie Sollier

ProWrite user interface



Graduate Assistant
Project lead


Design of a user interface/dashboard for ProWrite


3 weeks


Focus groups/co-design workshops


ProWrite is an intelligent tutoring system for writing that will automatically capture writing processes issues using biometric technology. The tool will provide data-driven, personalized, actionable feedback to students in real-time.


ProWrite will be used by writing consultants in college writing centers as well as by their "clients", usually undergraduate students.

Research goal

While ProWrite is a complex system, users should find it easy to use.
The goal of this project was to better understand users' expectations for the product as well as to give users a say in the way the product will look.


Method choice

Through the focus group approach, participants were able to exchange ideas and brainstorm together enthusiastically. This led to very creative outcomes that may not have been reached through 1-on-1 interviews. This approach was appropriate in the context of participatory design.


However, focus groups also have limitations. It is possible that more outgoing participants' opinions may have weighted more in the final outcomes of the sessions. This is why it is important to keep in mind that those focus groups were only the first step in the design process.


  • Moderator script
  • Consent form
  • Craft supplies
  • PowerPoint presentation


  • 1 moderator and 1 observer
  • 8 participants, 4 per session
  • Writing consultants

Sessions (45 minutes each)

  • Presentation of the ProWrite Project
  • Discussion about the work of writing consultants
  • Paper prototype design by participants
  • Discussion centered around the prototypes

Data collected

  • Observer's written notes
  • Audio recordings (entire sessions)
  • Participant geneterated paper prototypes

Data analysis

  • Observer's written notes & audio recordings were thematically coded
  • Participant geneterated paper prototypes were also analyzed to look at patterns of preferences


"Mine looks almost exactly the same as Grammarly because I love how Grammarly is set up." - Participant


  • Several participants expressed skepticism about whether the product would meet undergraduate students' needs. This is because undergraduate students tend to visit the writing center to get a specific paper edited rather than to become better writers overall.
  • Several participants were not convinced that changing writing processes might improve the quality of writing.


  • Participants would prefer in-text visualizations combined with bar charts.
  • Participants strongly disliked Likert-scale visualizations.


  • Participants would prefer being able to always see their clients' texts.
  • participants agreed that they would enjoy being able to show/hide visualizations as needed.
  • Several participants talked about wanting the system to look like Grammarly, a product that they are familiar with and enjoy using which serves a similar purpose to ProWrite.


I enjoyed using the focus group approach to get creative insights and suggestions from future users. However, in this project I would have prefered to either interview participants 1-on-1 or use a survey to learn more about their attitudes and expectations towards ProWrite.

From this project I was able to really notice the difference between UX Research and academia research. This project was a mixture of both. In an industry environment, a lot more user research discovery would have been done previous to getting to the design stage. However in academia, it does not always matter whether the product being built is something that people want or need.

I am excited to see where ProWrite goes and whether the product will turn out to be effective. As for next steps, based on the findings from this project a high-fidelity prototype should be developed for further user research. Usability testing could help ensure that the interface meets the needs and wants of users as much as possible.

Product image

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