A vocabulary app that facilitates learning of spoken language

Who: CareerFoundry (course project)

What: Competetive Analysis, User Interviews, Personas, Information Architecture, Wireframing, Prototyping, Testing

Result: Increasing understanding of foreign language by spoken text

A vocabulary app that facilitates learning of spoken language

Project Summary

I helped increase the acceptance of vocabulary learning apps of a relative old target group (50+ y) with few experience using learning apps. The key needs of this target group were the possibility to hear native spoken language and vocabulary embedded in context.

Hearing and talking a foreign language as a way to success

Problem Statement

Users need a way to practice understanding of spoken French and speak French themself because their goal is to communicate with ease with native French speakers.

We will know this to be true when we see them relaxed and confidently staying in a French conversation.

Making vocabulary apps interesting for older users

The target group for the app were older people. The problem with these users is that many of them have low experience and low interest in using smartphone apps. I learned that there are two important topics for theses users: They are interested in spoken language more than in written, they want to understand spoken French. And the second topic is context. Isolated words are uninteresting. The older users need words in complete sentences or paragraphs.

User Flows

My role in the project

As the UX Designer I was responsible for each part of the process. I organized and conducted the user interviews as well as I developed user personas. I designed the information architecture of the app, realized a functional prototype after the wireframing and conducted usability testing.

The job: Develop an app concept in two weeks

The mission was to develop a new vocabulary app. The language and the target group wasn’t fixed. I decided to concentrate on French as language and after research I found, that there are many older people who are interested in learning a foreign language. But they also have a special approach to learning a new language.

I spent half of the first week analysing possible competition, creating an interview script and searching for qualified interview partners. I found a group of French learners who meet in person or online one day a week. They are all between 50 years and 67 years old. For them it’s important to speak and hear/understand spoken French. And they all need context for their vocabulary. They aren’t interested in normal vocabulary apps.

Week One:

Competitive Analysis

I think this is a very interesting target group which is very normal “out there” and I decided to focus on this group.

I conducted interviews with real users of the mentioned user group. And there soon it was clear what they need and what they don’t need: Spoken French from native speakers, context, reminders. These interviews changed completely what I thought at the beginning.

Influenced by these interviews I created user personas to continue the work on the app.

Week Two:

In week two I developed the information architecture of the app, after that lofi-wireframes and from that a first functional prototype for the main app features. With this prototype I conducted usability testing with real users. This was a great experience. Looking on an app as a designer is one thing, but talking with real users is another thing. Apart of the special features for this special user group the Information Architecture and the User Interface were special. This kind of users has other needs than the “normal” users. I addressed this and refined the UI for the developers.

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