You will very soon see a significant change to the appearance of the BlueSky Education user interface. Following extensive research and analysis of feedback from our members, we have been working hard to upgrade the BlueSky platform and enhance your experience of using BlueSky.

The upgrade will be applied automatically from Thursday 18th May, so there is no need for you to do anything nor any additional cost involved to your school.

You will see (from the screen shots below) that the colour palette has been refined, elements such as fonts have been aligned across every page, and that the layout of each page is uniform, with clear navigation.

We also want to reassure you that all of the functionality remains in place – we have not moved any functions nor changed how things work. The aim of these changes is to deliver the best possible user interface, which provides a solid foundation for our continuing mission to deliver best-in-class solutions for appraisal, staff development and quality assurance processes in schools.

Please read on to learn more about these changes, how this will benefit you and your team, and our roadmap for further development that is planned for the coming months.

Why are we making this change?

As the market leader in our field, BlueSky’s mission has always been to stay ahead of developments in the sector. As approaches to performance management have shifted towards a focus on professional development as the driver of school improvement, we have continually innovated our solutions to ensure BlueSky’s tools successfully support the evolving needs of our clients.

While we have added many new features to BlueSky in recent years – such as expanded customisation, Timeline view, the BlueSky Learning service and Opal Review – we recognise that ensuring continuity and standardisation across BlueSky Education is also very important in supporting your experience. With this in mind, we have taken some time to review the User Interface holistically and made changes that we believe will support that.

BlueSky experience, user interface, BlueSky update, school priorities, Evaluate the impact of CPD

What are the changes?

Over the past few months, we have rationalised and standardised the user interface (UI) of BlueSky Education. When logging in to BlueSky, you will notice immediately that all areas of the platform have a consistent visual appearance, with a streamlined colour palette, uniform page layout and navigation cues, and a clear, easy to read font used throughout.

BlueSky experience, user interface, BlueSky update

As teachers, many of you will understand cognitive load theory, and these principles can apply to UI design as well. Using a consistent visual language across any application makes it simpler to comprehend how to complete tasks in each module or area.

Visual cues have been given an intuitive treatment, which will allow you to complete tasks efficiently. For example, tasks within modules will show a colour-coded dot to indicate status: red for not started, amber for requires action, and green for completed.

(We will be looking at the buttons used across BlueSky Education, but want to do this once we have completed the exciting CPD and Training modifications that we are making).

BlueSky experience, user interface, BlueSky update

A streamlined colour palette with higher contrast and a clean font supports best practice for accessibility. Ensuring recognised standards of accessibility are applied not only helps users with different visibility requirements, but also improves readability when using different screen sizes or resolution.

BlueSky experience, user interface, BlueSky update

The Manage and Admin level screens will no longer have a different colour scheme applied to the whole screen: you will instead see the tab highlighted in the navigation bar. This change has been applied to enhance reading and understanding of the information on these pages, while clearly showing which area you are in.

BlueSky experience, user interface, BlueSky update
BlueSky experience, user interface, BlueSky update

What’s coming next for CPD And Training

We understand that many schools have significantly shifted their school improvement strategy over recent years. Recognising that professional learning and development are crucial to improving quality of teaching and student outcomes, not to mention job satisfaction and staff retention in schools, CPD has become a central part of appraisal conversations. We also understand that external stakeholders are increasingly invested in evaluating the impact of professional development on school and trust priorities.

Feedback from you, our clients, alongside extensive market research and insights from our thought leadership work, have given us a real opportunity to review some aspects of the CPD and Training modules in BlueSky.

We are aiming to release the updates for these modules by the end of the summer term.

Thank you again to everyone who gave feedback through our survey on the CPD and Training modules earlier this year or through conversations with our team. Your feedback is incredibly valuable to us as we continue to develop solutions that effectively support schools whatever their size, type or location.

Want to send us feedback on this update? Use the form below to send us a message.

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Tamsin Denley

Author: Denise Inwood,
CEO and Founder

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