Exquisite put simply is a highly customizable and flexible vocabulary vocabulary builder application. It has a wide variety of methods of storing custom words, definitions and even drawings.
Exquisite was designed by myself and six others over the course of a super short five weeks. We had to conduct rapid research, testing, story boarding and prototyping.
Before all of the aforementioned we had to come up with an idea and a logo for that idea. Ideas didn’t come cheap so we decided to make logos before solidifying an idea (Mine is on the bottom left):
After a few days of discussions we decided a problem that we faced and would like solved was a easy way to build our vocabulary lexicons. We proceeded to produce a new set of logos which now reflected this idea (Mine is again on the bottom left):
We took a vote and decided on Tyler logo to be our official logo:
Our next step was to refine our idea to fit the users needs. In order to do that we had to find our users and ask them what they wanted. We had to ask all the right questions: “How often do you read?”, “Do you find yourself wondering what a word means often?”, “What medium do you find yourself reading on? Paper or Digital?”.
So we conducted interviews with various people (friends, family, and many strangers) and asked them questions like
We found that College aged students found themselves reading and looking up words quite often, particularly looking them up in Google, forgetting them, and looking them up again later. This was a clear sign that they were not learning and we needed to make something to help with that.
I found a College aged interviewee who draws on physical flash cards and also uses digital drawing applications to help aid in the study process.
We tested out many vocabulary building applications, the most notable was Magoosh, which had many great features, but was not capable of creating custom flash cards or perform any kind of personalization.
Personas and Storyboards
Our need finding told us people love googling it, and the competition has no way to create custom lists of words to study, logic then proceeds to dictate that we should implement that feature. And as a result we decided to create a method of “Saving words for later” as you come across them.
Making Personas and Storyboards
Using our interviewees as a template we created personas who represented their groups of interests. This is one is mine which was based on a high school aged interviewee:
For each persona we created multiple storyboards representing multiple scenarios in which they would find the app helpful. Here is one of my storyboards where he has an exam the next day:
By looking at the others storyboards I was able to learn a lot about the different possible scenarios in which the app would be useful and this aided coming up with new ideas and solutions.
Using our contextual situation from our storyboards we were able construct lo-fi prototype apps which fit the needs of each of those situations (Here are a couple):
User feedback was absolutely invaluable we learned directly from the user what was useful and what was useless in our prototypes. We even got some recommendations. I learned a big lesson that we must be willing to pivot quickly as you may love an idea, but that idea might not be what people want and big changes are needed.
These were some of the suggestions that were given from our first phase of user testing.
- If there is a login screen, be sure it remembers the credentials so you only need to sign in once (unless you logged out).
- Keep the Search, Study, and Settings all in the top bar, rather than having the Study button at the bottom. This way, the application seems more organized and easy to follow.
- Your personalized list(s) should always show up first followed by your subscribed lists that you choose to follow.
- When you open a list it should bring up a new page that displays your categories if there are categories then you can click those which will open a new page. When your list or category is opened the words should all be displayed in alphabetical order and clicking on a word will give the definition.
- Make sure there is an easy way to tell when your lists are updated with words you add with some sort of highlight or icon to know that the list has been edited. This should also apply to the lists that you follow as well.
- When the application posts notifications to your lock screen of random words from your list, make sure there is the ability to change the frequency at which it occurs the number of words that can be displayed, and an option to completely turn it off.
Redesigning our App
Following our users feedback and “Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Heuristics for UI Design” we were able to create a new low-fi iteration:
We later talked with Professor Boyle in class and made some significant additional changes including highly flexible drawable, custom flash cards.
We took the time to re test our application made some final adjustment and proceeded to create the application you see below. The final Exquisite.
My teammate were great more than just working buddies they were a great emotional support, and I had fun every time we met. And I also thank Professor Boyle and her great TA’s for providing this excellent class and opportunity to learn. I am finally graduated!