Skyward to Unveil New Intuitive, Customer-centric User Interface with the Launch of the Skyward School Management System 2.0

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Skyward collaborates with an interface design and usability firm to maximize its customers’ experience and their existing Skyward investment

Skyward, Inc., an industry leading K-12 school administration software provider, has announced that it will unveil a redesigned web user interface (UI) for its industry-leading School Management System. The new UI will provide users with greater ease of use, flexibility and efficiency and enable them to leverage their existing Skyward investment to the fullest.

Skyward’s customers appreciate the advantages of the company’s existing web-based solution. But as part of Skyward’s ongoing commitment to delivering an innovative and powerful user experience, it has transformed its existing web UI to offer customers new functionality and enhanced usability. Skyward collaborated with Gomoll Research + Design, Inc., a leading expert in humanistic interface design and usability, to develop a new web UI that will maximize its customers’ experience and the benefits they receive from the School Management System. With a customer-centric approach to designing user interfaces, Gomoll Research + Design’s team initiated the project by observing, in-person, how Skyward’s customers accomplish their daily tasks. To ensure the new web UI design benefits all of Skyward’s users, Gomoll’s UI design experts visited a number of districts, ranging in size as well as experience with the Skyward product.

“By carefully watching how a number of Skyward’s customers perform their jobs, we were able to understand, at a very specific level, what we could do to streamline their tasks and help them to be even more successful,” explains Tom Gomoll, Principal, Gomoll Research + Design. “Our approach is to focus on the people first and then how we can enable them to use the technology in ways that are most valuable to their day-to-day lives. With that in mind, we designed the new Skyward web UI to meet the unique needs of both large and small districts, and to ensure a user friendly experience for both existing users and new customers.”

Based on these observations, Gomoll Research + Design worked with Skyward to design a new UI with an intuitive layout that customers will be comfortable with based on their experience with the Internet. The new web UI will enable Skyward’s users to navigate between screens far more quickly, increasing their efficiency, productivity and overall user experience. “With Skyward’s new web UI, customers can take even greater advantage of their existing Skyward system by finding what they need more quickly and performing their tasks with even greater efficiency,” says Gomoll.

Since the initial design, Gomoll Research + Design have conducted usability tests with Skyward’s customers to gauge their reaction to the new UI. Customer feedback has been extremely positive, with participants reporting that the new UI is very easy to use, visually appealing, and enables them to quickly navigate between screens. "I feel that the new design of Skyward's user interface is great! It will reduce the number of clicks for our users and immediately improve their performance and satisfaction,” says Scot McCombs, Information Technology Director for Canyons School District in Sandy, UT. “I believe that the interface is designed with web standards and ideals in mind. I also believe that the learning curve for our users will be minimal. I am looking forward to the release of this Skyward update.”

Joel D. Margliano, Instructional Technology Manager for Consolidated High School District 230 in Orland Park, Illinois echoes McCombs’ anticipation for increased efficiency and says the new UI is reflective of Skyward’s ongoing commitment to evolving its product to meet the requirements of its customers. “One overall theme that is very strong with our district is the number of clicks it takes to get to the areas you work on the most. With the new SMS 2.0, most features will be ‘Just Two Clicks’ to get to the pages we need to work on. I think that new direction and layout proves that Skyward is not like other SMS companies. Since we have started using Skyward I have found that they are a progressive company that is responsive to the end-users concerns and needs. These new features clearly show how Skyward works at maintaining a quality product that assists in making our day-to-day usage easier.”

“Our focus has always been, first and foremost, on our customers,” says Scott Glinski, President of Skyward, “so Gomoll’s approach to UI design was a perfect fit for us. Our goal was to take what is already a robust and excellent product and continue the next step in its evolution by redesigning our web UI so customers could maximize the benefits of the solution. With Gomoll’s expertise and the involvement of our customers, we have created a new web UI that will enable our districts to reap even more benefits from their Skyward investment, including improved efficiency, increased productivity, and a more satisfying user experience.”

Skyward will deploy the new user interface with the release of the School Management System 2.0 in February 2012. Over the next few months, Skyward will provide customers with a series of notifications about the new user interface, including links to a demo database and reference materials.

About Skyward

Skyward is a leading provider of K-12 school administrative software that surpasses districts’ needs in state reporting, improves operational capabilities, and opens communication between schools and families. Today, you can find Skyward's School Management System™ in more than 1,400 school districts worldwide ranging from districts with as few as 50 students to districts with more than 70,000 students. Founded in 1980, Skyward serves school districts with its integrated student, finance, and human resources suite of products and is proudly made and supported in the U.S.A. http://www.skyward.com

Skyward, Inc.
Raymond Ackerlund
info(at)skyward(dot)com
800-236-7274

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