The Flow of Apps

What makes a good app, is the flow and how the user interacts with that flow. If an app does not have a good flow, the user can become confused as to how to progress within the app and/or find needed information or options. To understand this aspect of flow better, I was tasked with downloading a few apps that I never use to see how to set them up and use them. The first app I chose was Duolingo, a language education application.


When I first opened the app, I was greeted with a little green bird (their mascot) and was immediately asked which language I wanted to learn. As I had a bit of experience with Spanish, I thought I’d try that out.

No Japanese isn’t offered, at least in the free app version. :(

Next screen that I progressed to was to set my daily goal with 4 options. Beyond this, I have to say the layout of this app is very welcoming and very simple. Large buttons, few chooses and the layout is very easy to understand. It felt like I was using an app for kids which in certain cases is a great thing.

I plan to use this as my daily ritual on the train to school.

Now having set the language I want to learn and at what pace, I had to make the very difficult decision to either start at the basics or take a quiz to test how much I actually knew. Having taken a 6 years of Spanish in middle/high school, I decided to take the test. To which I realized I didn’t remember a darn thing. Due to this, I was able to back out of the test and choose to start from the basics.

Time to start from the very beginning.

The app is all set up, time to get into the nitty-gritty and start using it. My first lesson was rather basic and I knew the answer immediately, so I wasn’t surprised. Everything was very colorful and laid out perfectly for an app. I also liked the little “gamification” ascents they added to keep me interested. As an avid gamer, this is a huge plus and makes me want to get the next answer correct to increase my point total, all the while learning a new language.

I got one right!

As I came to the end of my lesson for the day, I was greeted with a screen that would allow me to set up a notification to take that day’s lesson. Once again, very simple layout with very few options. Im a big fan of this type of scrolling number selector (not sure what they are called), its simple but also rather classy looking and takes out the guessing game of putting in actual numbers. My only gripe is that I was only able to select the time by the hour. Since I will using this on the train, I wanted to place a time when I knew I would be sitting on the train and ready to take it rather than before and possibly dismissing the app as 7am, I will be standing on the train platform, and 8am I will be arriving to Grand Central Terminal.

Outside of the 1 minor gripe I had with selecting the notification time, the flow of this app was great. I as new user, knew exactly what to click and where I was going as well where I had come from. The layout during the lessons were very engaging and allowed me to quickly go through the paces. The layout seems to be their brand in terms of the “elementary” or “school room” style, which for the basis of what this app does, is great. Another nice touch I like is that while going through the app, it felt like I was going through a powerpoint presentation as opposed to pages of a website, a very nice touch which made it feel that everything was concise and together. I personally will be using this app to learn Spanish and some other languages I am curious about.