SmartLogic worked with Folio Collaborative to bring new flexible collaborative features to their core product.
Folio is a professional growth platform to encourage teacher and staff professional growth in schools. Folio includes tools for goal setting and tracking, opportunities to give and receive feedback based on classroom observations, and it provides educators the ability to track goals and feedback all in one place.
SmartLogic has been working with Folio Collaborative since 2011; the partnership initially grew out of a need to move from a home-grown app to a scalable product. Over the years, the SmartLogic team has worked with Folio Collaborative to continue to grow and support their core product, plan their long-term roadmap, and scope and develop features on a rolling basis.
In the spring of 2019, a feature that had been on the backburner for a couple of years emerged as an important next step to lay the foundation for Folio’s next big leap forward: Workspaces.
One of the challenges for Folio is the diversity of their user base; the application is used in over 160 schools around the world, and each school uses the platform in unique ways. SmartLogic and the Folio team work together to walk the fine line between making Folio flexible enough to meet the needs of many different schools while at the same time keeping it simple enough to not require training to use. Workspaces is a new feature that supports that balance of flexibility and usability. Folio was originally designed for a more top-down hierarchy, where only administrators and supervisors could give feedback to teachers. Workspaces provides a more flexible framework and enables peer-group feedback and goal-setting, supporting a newer distributed leadership model for growth.
Because this new feature had the potential to have a large impact on the codebase, the team put a lot of time into planning and determining scope. Together, Folio and SmartLogic were able to deconstruct the possible aspects of this iteration and narrow down and prioritize the features that would have the greatest value to end users, scoping the project to something that would be immediately useful and that the team could deliver on time and on budget.
Developers can build whatever you ask them to build, within reason — they’re capable of building anything. The team at SmartLogic is willing to build what we need but is also just as committed as we are to the mission and vision of the organization. Dan will raise important questions and help us focus on what features contribute to the mission and how to best use our resources.— Meredith Ford, Executive Director, Folio Collaborative
SmartLogic’s Product Designer also brought a fresh eye to the project, assisting with mapping and evaluating common user flows and helping the team simplify and prioritize the user experience.
The first version of Workspaces was developed in the spring of 2019, and tested with a small pool of users during Folio Collaborative’s Summer Institute. Folio was also able to use the testing conversation with their group of summer users to launch an ongoing dialog about what features users would like to have, where they are getting tripped up, and what the one feature is that each user wants most.
For Folio, Workspaces represents the next step forward in their ongoing partnership with SmartLogic. The new feature set has enabled them to meet their growing user base’s evolving needs, and SmartLogic is helping them to lay the foundation for their next big round of changes.