Field Notes. An ipad productivity tool for Teach For America coaches.

Coaches need better tools to support them in mentoring teachers. Field Notes makes key activities conveniently accessible in a single app optimized for use on an ipad.

UX/UI Designer

User Experience design
UI design
Icon design

Consilidate and streamline key tasks for coaches in the field.

Coaches observe and meet with teachers regularly. They may move between a number of classrooms and settings and have limited time to gather data and communicate what they see. A dedicated ipad and an app that supports their work in varied field conditions would increase efficiency and establish organizational consistency.

Qualitative and quantitative studies of TFA coach/mentor behavior.

Coaches were inteviewed over the phone, observed in person in the context of their daily activities, and given a series of surveys eliciting information about their practices.

Four key areas to address pain points and increase productivity.

  • Note taking which includes simultaneously gathering other media like video
  • File sharing with teachers and institution
  • Scheduling
  • Messaging to communicate with teachers


92% of coaches reported note taking and file sharing as pain points. Note taking and file sharing were also mentioned several times in interviews as currently a problem. 64% of coaches reported having to use multiple devices when observing teachers. In the Notes section users can take notes while simultaneously collecting video, or photos, or audio. Handwriting option allows user to write short notes, or make drawings with a stylus or finger. File sharing can also be accomplished in this section.


84% of coaches reported they text to communicate with teachers. Text messages are easily accessed and are stored on server for later access and institutional memory.


92% of coaches reported scheduling as a pain point. Interviews also feature complaints about scheduling difficulty, particularly the need to have teachers see coach's calendar. Calendar section syncs with Google Calendar. Teachers can see calendar and request available slots.

Ergonomics and usage.

At the time of this project I was working with an editor who carried her ipad around everywhere in the office, setting it down on the nearest convenient surface, to type in notes on the ipad keyboard for any meeting whether impromptu or formal. It was exactly this kind of usage I envisioned when designing for the Field Notes app. In addition to typing in notes, the user can grab quick photo or video captures by tapping the menu on the right, a short stretch for the right thumb.


Teachers report a need for support via documentation. Coaches request an easy way to share that is not overwhelming. Materials section puts all the resources (ie: notes, videos, photos, lesson plans) in one place. This section augments file-sharing capabilities by providing a place to store and organize written documents and media. Files or collections of files can be sent to single or to multiple recipients from this section.


Teachers report a need to know best practices. Teachers also report a desire to share knowledge. This is the place where that can happen. The community section adds to institutional memory and enlists collective wisdom by allowing all teachers and coaches to share lesson plans, tips, and best practices with all TFA members.

My Corp Members

Coaches can access a list of Corp Members (Teachers) that he or she is supporting with key information like contact info, upcoming deadlines, school relationships. This section provides an additional point from which to share files and communicate.