Check and Connect: Usability Improvements For a New Tool


Check and Connect’s National Trainers have a tool to track the certification of local trainers across the country. The Trainer Tracker is a new tool and is not yet fully integrated into their workflow. My goal was to understand how the tool fits into their overall process and design improvements to better meet their needs.


  • Contextual Inquiry

  • Interviewing

  • Affinity Diagraming

  • Accessible Design

problem analysis

Check and Connect is an intervention program that serves students at risk of academic discipline or drop out. Their organization is nationally recognized with a clear success rate, and a track record that reaches back over 25 years. The program introduces “at risk” K-12 students with mentors who both check in with them regarding their behaviors and patterns as well as connect with them by offering personalized interventions to build helpful skills. Mentors are given direction by certified Mentor Trainers, who are led by National Trainers. They recently had a tool developed for the National Trainers with the goal of increasing visibility around the health of their trainer cohorts and tracking the certification progress of individual trainers. This tool unifies all of the national Trainers’ tracking methods and allows for simplified administration of the program. The tool functions as intended but could benefit from some usability enhancements and added functionality. Several key areas were focused on.

  1. Overall usability of the tool. There were several usability issues that were blockers for the National Trainers.

  2. Ability to use this data to efficiently connect with local trainers.

  3. Ability for Local trainers to update their information, add their photo to a directory and see their own progress towards certification.

After a review of the tool’s functionality we observed how the National trainers use it in their workplace. The helped us gain an understanding of other tools they use to accelerate their workflow.

proposed solutions

Filters expansion

The main blocker to efficient use of the tool was the filter accordion box to the left. When expanded and selected (which the tool requires to function), the user cannot see if they made a complete selection as all of the information moves above the fold. The work around was to scroll back to the top before verifying the correct selection was made.

Connectedness enhancements

National Trainers gravitated towards wanting to use this connected information to help them contact trainers in their territory. However, this was not the primary function of the tool as designed and it made using it to this end very tedious. Dev. team advice was sought to ensure that no technical challenges stood in the way, and additional features were built out to aid further.

Scannability Enhancements

The scannability of the tool was hampered by poor visibility. Simple adjustments were made throughout to help make the tool easier to read.

State Selection – 4.png

Filter Concept

By moving the filters over the table they remain visible while being selected, and allow for more data to be displayed on the table. This also emphasizes the hierarchy that the filters must be selected before the edit tool is usable.


The site modules were tabbed, search fields were outlined and an icon was added to make it easier to see. Finally, additional signifiers were added to the table to help National Trainers see upcoming due dates and differentiate completed and overdue tasks as the organization grows. If I had more time on this project I would like to apply some visual design changes to the table.

added features for connectedness


Next Steps

National Trainers will supply links to this page to helpful job aids relevant to their territories. This will enable collaboration across territories and be a catalyst to organizational growth.

This solution is focused on solving the user’s primary problem in giving them quick and easy access to the trainer’s contact information on a spreadsheet so that they can quickly build contact lists. The design choices were made so that National Trainers could learn them quickly and that they could be developed at a low cost. This will enable Check and Connect to quickly address the key findings and begin connecting more of their tools into a shared knowledge-base.

Click here to see the interactive prototype.