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How UC Berkeley Students Helped Improve CC Search

About CC

Since its launch, CC Search has become more than just a search tool for CC-licensed content; it has come to exemplify the virtuous cycle of knowledge creation—where we create, collaborate, and learn from one another. 

Our recent collaboration with a group of students from UC Berkeley was a true exercise in this cycle of creation and collaboration.

In the fall of 2019, instructors of the UC Berkeley graduate course, Product Design Studio, approached us to act as “clients” to a group of students learning how to solve complex design challenges. Of course, we said yes! And thanks to prior user research on CC Search, we already knew what design challenges we faced but were struggling with how to fix themthat’s where the students’ insights were critical.

Above is a screenshot of the students’ proposed prototype for an improved CC Search. (CC BY)

Like a well-trained team of consultants, they immediately asked thoughtful questions about the proposed design challenges, reframed them in terms of the user journey, and identified what they would be tackling. Early on, they were able to identify that the key challenge we face with CC Search is how to convey complex CC license and attribution information in a way that is succinct, actionable, and engaging.

Fast forward to the end of our four-week collaboration and the students left us with an immensely impressive outcome: a user research report of nearly 40 pages, a presentation highlighting and explaining their final design choices, and several interactive, high-fidelity prototypes.

In aggregate, the UC Berkeley students dedicated dozens of hours to this project while we provided guidance, feedback, and insights along the way. 

After completing the project, student Janine Rosenbaum told us, “Working on CC Search gave me hands-on experience…I really enjoyed the great teamwork and learned a lot of new things, especially regarding user testing.”

Student Victor Grajski echoed Janine’s sentiment, “It was a pleasure working with the team at Creative Commons. I greatly appreciated how much they know and understand their users, and it was inspiring to see how enthusiastic the team and their users are about creating a global commons! Working in a group to make a well-run, established team like theirs happy with a 4-week timeframe was an ideal learning experience for me as a designer.”

What are the next steps for the CC Search product team? 

The results of this collaboration have jump-started an overhaul of the CC Search user interface, serving as a launchpad for upcoming iterative design improvements. 

The outcome of this project truly spoke to the power of the cycle of knowledge creation. Each prototype was better than the last thanks to the many talented minds who, in the spirit of collaboration, brought their best ideas to the table with informed enthusiasm.

To stay up-to-date on the technical updates that we’ll be making to CC Search throughout 2020, be sure to follow Creative Commons Open Source on Twitter @cc_opensource, join #cc-usability in the Creative Commons Slack, or keep an eye on the Active Sprint and Backlog in GitHub! 


Posted 20 December 2019