Certificate Generator

Digital Society School Certificate Generator

How can you guarantee that users with various design and tech literacy levels, can create consistently branded certificates?

One of the issues we have encountered at the digital society school, is that the courses we give, are given by very different types of people. This meant that due to the diverse backgrounds, not all of the people in charge of the programs were design literate enough to use design programs or templates created in them.

On the other hand, the creation of certificates was creating a choke point, since they were being handed out to a couple of people to do, or were rushed by someone that was unaware of basic design principles. This caused consistency issues, since depending on the instructor’s design proficiency they would be able to make properly designed certificates, or it could be a rush job done in whatever software the person felt the most comfortable with.

User Research

I did an initial analysis of what types of users could potentially use the certificate generator. I started by mapping them out on post its based on type of users and technology they felt the would feel the most comfortable with. I then checked with some of my colleagues to see if this user categorisation made sense, and if there was anything missing.

User Types

Regarding technology use and design literacy, the group is very diverse. The instructors could go from someone that has no design skills and is most comfortable using a text editor on a windows computer, to someone with very high design skills that can use any of the latest design software. At the same time, in situations were the course would be given remotely, the instructor might not have access to their work machine, and making sure that the instructors are self-reliant and the certificates are consistent could pose problems if they were developed for a specific platform. At the same time, from experience we had seen that even though we had created simple templates and trainings on how to use those templates, due to the fact that using the templates was something they wouldn’t do very often, they forgot how to use them, or would struggle because of lack of familiarity while using them.

Based on the analysis, and the possible use cases it was determined that the best solution would be a webpage that would step by step guide people in creating the certificate. This way, the template would not be tied up to any specific platform or OS, would guarantee consistency within the certificates and the certificate design could be changed without breaking the template itself.

The certificate generator works as a web form, and gives clear step by step instructions based on the different steps needed to create a certificate. This allows instructors to generate up to 500 certificates at a time

I developed a simple wireframe of elements that the certificate generator could need, leading me to a list of requirements. These requirements  were transformed into a design mockup and basic frontend webpage in html/php plus blank pdfs that would be used as background and populated with the content. These elements were then handed to the development team, so that they could build the generator.

The task was split into 4 separate steps:

  • Step 1 – General information specific to the course: course name, instructor names and signatures.
  • Step 2 – Identify if it is only one certificate or multiple certificates that are needed. In the case of multiple certificates, upload a spreadsheet with name of participants and email.
  • Step 3 – Define the way the certificate will be distributed,  will it be emailed to the participants directly or will it be printed and handed to them in person.
  • Step 4– Preview and confirmation of the certificates. This step also gives an update on the progress.