3 months / 2021 / 1 Researcher, 2 UX Designers, 1 Visual Designer

School administrators aren't devs

Actionaly is a family relationship platform for educators. What started out as a group messaging app evolved into an ecosystem that manages parent engagement across an entire school or district.

The Admin Panel started an internal tool that was released to customers out of necessity. School administrators complained that setting up the app was confusing, and we saw opportunities to give them more autonomy. My contribution was part of a larger project that went through phases and testing together.

Make it pretty, but make it smart

With my team's support, I introduced (1) a personalized Home screen that eliminates hard-to-find features and (2) a refresh of the left rail navigation. The new dashboard home screen gives users a quick snapshot of family engagement at their school, which is particularly valuable for a principal or super intendant, and the new taxonomy makes navigation more clear.

There's always an outlier, but most people didn't know what was going on

The client provided 8 current users of the admin panel to take us through their workflow and identify their most critical pain points.

Key learnings

  • There’s a lot of data available, but it’s not actionable

  • The 1:1 onboarding experience was thorough but theoretical, the app needed more prompting

  • Jargon is unclear and makes users feel a lack of confidence

  • The Home screen is barren and should orient the user in the app

Could you explain what that is?


To make features easy to find and maintain, I introduced structure by standardizing the navigation.

Previously, pages were labeled with company jargon to make the app stand out and add personality. However, learnings from interviews led us to a more familiar taxonomy. I added a separate Settings page that allows the Actionaly team or a power user at the school to customize the app based on user group; school admin or district admin.

Home screen

The web app was developed as an internal tool to manage the mobile app. However, the growing company wanted to give admins more autonomy meaning there needed to be more consideration given to its design.


The existing home screen read like a sloppy Word doc, and most users ignored it.


The new Home screen acts as a dashboard that

  • Orients the user and allows for personalization

  • Provides a snapshot of useful information and emphasizes the key value prop; the ability to manage and track family engagement

  • Makes data actionable; schools know whose contact info is missing and can report population data for grant funding

Final thoughts

One round of testing showed that the new taxonomy was a hit with current users. We had 85% validation of the featured data, and more research is being conducted to surface useful content for each user group.

Thanks for making time for me today!

©2023 Katie Suarez Diaz-Roehrich

Thanks for making time for me today!

©2023 Katie Suarez Diaz-Roehrich