The English language has become a language of vital importance in the present day. It serves as a meeting ground for peoples from different regions and different backgrounds in the field of communication. But there exists a section of the population who do not know the language. This was a month-long app design project under the guidance of a professor where I designed an app that focused on teaching English to people.
Understanding the problem
The project began with a brief discussion of the idea with the professor. After a short conversation, the problem statement finalized by the professor was :
Design an app that would help people especially the ones who only know vernacular or regional languages to learn English.
After browsing through some online resources and some field-related research posts, I concluded that the design of this app should concentrate on a community of people who not only know English but also on a group of people who know the basics but cannot speak correctly and that I should be empathizing with the actual target users.
Research for enhanced insight
I started the project by conducting user and product research to gather specific field-related information. The knowledge obtained has served as the basis for going forward with the process.
I performed a user survey to collect data on some relevant details about the assumed users of the product. The survey was carried out using Google Forms and through sharing on social media platforms. The data obtained from the survey was re-tested to evaluate any faulty or fraudulent entries.
- User Interview
I conducted a one-on-one interview with three separate users — a student and two daily-wage workers who were dealing with the same issues in their everyday lives, in order to get a deeper understanding of the metrics obtained in the survey. There was a series of open-ended questions that were discussed during the interview to better understand and evaluate the problems they were facing and to verify certain user-related assumptions.
- Competitive Analysis
I took a careful look at existing solutions within my context and analyzed their pros and cons with respect to supporting my target activity. I analyzed multiple existing language learning apps such as Babbel, DuoLingo, Utter, and Bolo to explore insights. Moreover, I analyzed the comments of poorly rated field-specific apps in the market, I took into consideration various other demands and suggestions that the users had given.
Empathizing the Users
After analyzing the metrics from the survey and the insights from the user interview, the defined target audience was the set of Hindi* speaking / knowing people who did not know English or know just the basics of English.
(* Taking into consideration, the time constraints and India, being a country with 20+ vernacular languages with a majority of them speaking Hindi, the people only speaking/knowing Hindi were selected.)
Empathizing with the users helped focus on their pain points. The major problems faced by them were:
- Internet connection is required in order to access the app content.
- Lack of motivation. It does not encourage the user to do a task.
- The same course content is followed for all users irrespective of their expertise in the language.
- Absence of Hindi user interfaces for the app.
- Absence of organized course content. Users have no idea of where to start and where to end.
I created Personas to represent a user group who face similar problems. This gave me a clear picture of the user’s expectations and how they would like to use a product.
Having prioritized the pain points, I brainstormed taking into account the pain points of the user and the target group and then figured out certain viable features for the app that could remove or at least minimize the potential issues faced by the user while learning a new language, to a greater degree. The features are as follows:
- Downloadable Course
Course content can be accessed even when the user is offline.
- Suggested UI and Experience
Suggested experience level and user interface language based on onboarding results.
- Social Networking
Linked with social media for better outreach.
Improve English while chatting with bots.
- Dual UI
Can use the UI in which one is comfortable.
- Discussion Forum
Discuss with friends and the community for a better understanding.
The variable reward for constant motivation.
- Organized Course Content
Organized course content for better understanding.
I developed a generalized user flow for the user who will be using the app. The user flow comprised of one time onboard, sign up, or log in, and then the user would start a task(chapter/topic), get progress on his status, and then get rewarded for completion of the task(chapter).
I built the Information Architecture demonstrating the navigation of content through the app. Building the Information Architecture also made the prototyping easier and less complicated.
Sketching the solutions
Before moving forward with the design, I rough sketches of each screen was drawn to get an overall view of the app after implementing the features and to prevent any irrelevant time-consuming design rework.
Low Fidelity Wireframes
After completing the drawings, low fidelity wireframes were designed to get a quick analysis and input from the user to prevent bigger errors in the forthcoming steps.
The Style Guide
The color and font were chosen in a manner to create a visual harmony in the deliverable user interface for the app.
High Fidelity Mockups
Having gathered feedback and suggestions from the low fidelity wireframe, certain design changes were made and the color schemes, typography, and icons were applied to it. The high fidelity wireframe, thus generated, was used to create a prototype of the app.
High fidelity mockup was used to create the prototype of the app. The developed prototype was to be used for conducting user testing and gaining constructive feedback for the improvement of the product.
Preview Full App
Testing for feedback
I conducted user testing & cognitive walkthroughs to find out usability issues in the interface of the app. Most of the users found the application user-friendly and could easily navigate between the screens. There were some problems in the Lesson topics where the user found it difficult to change the section from “Learn” to “Test” or “Discuss”. I solved the situation by adding a tab to change section from “Learn” to “Test” or “Discuss” in the Lesson page itself.
In this project, I was challenged to set aside my own assumptions and quarrels with the platform and seek feedback from all types of users. This project provided the opportunity for me to learn the value of user research techniques like surveys and interviews to gain a deeper understanding of all users. With users participating in my design process, I have gained a more comprehensive understanding of different factors surrounding the problem to reduce my design bias.