As part of our commitment to learner success, we’re in the process of a large-scale redesign of our products. I’m proud to share our design language system, the design backbone of the great work you can expect from Blackboard over the next few months.


A design language system describes the heart and soul of a product. Blackboard’s new design language system is built on three core tenants:

  1. Above all, support the emotional needs of learners. While our software is used by people in all areas of education, our primary focus is on the people doing the learning. And while we strive to understand them and meet their functional needs, we are more concerned with empathizing with them and meeting their emotional needs.
  2. Sweat all of the details, all of the time. Building software takes time, and it’s tempting to cut corners to get products out faster. When users engage with our tools, the gestalt of their experience is based on the sum of many small, intricate, nuanced design decisions.
  3. Do less, better. We believe that products don’t need to be feature-rich to be great. We’re focused on creating less functionality, and building smaller products, in order to help users better achieve their goals.

For us, our design language system provides a way of thinking about interaction design, visual design and motion: the ingredients we’re leveraging to change Learn, Collaborate, and all of our other offerings. Our new interaction language is powerful and forgiving, allowing for and encouraging exploration. We focus on creating products that are usable, useful, and desirable. The language is simple and monochromatic, using color for meaning rather than decoration. Learning should be at the core of the product, and so our product should always be visually subservient to educational content and knowledge. And the design language system leverages motion in a playful way, to create an approachable, casual and free environment for learning.

Over the next few months, I’ll show how we’ve leveraged this same design language in all of our products. We’re working hard to improve the quality of our products, so we can improve the quality of education. We hope this new design language system helps you teach, learn, and grow. Click here to explore the design language system in detail.

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