Language For Exchange App

Language for Exchange is a language-exchange community created to facilitate people’s language learning abroad and online. In their responsive website, the user can find people to improving language skills online with native speakers and also practice a second language abroad with native speakers.

Learning new languages — affinity map.

In partnership with Language for Exchange, our objective was to create a mobile native app to expand and engage their existing user base of language learners, which is currently underserved when it comes to conversational practice. Language For Exchange has an impressive daily usership, with a total usership of 100K and 115 languages spoken.

Most communities for conversation exchange are entirely web-based, with bulletin boards, and limited options for instant connections — like Conversation Exchange and My Language Exchange — but people learn additional languages for many different reasons and by many different methods. The factor that all of these language learners have in common is the desire and need to practice the language in conversation. So our main goal was to provide a language community for mobile devices, building upon an existing usership, using subject matter parameters to produce higher quality matches from users, with the same goal of learning languages. Our main purpose was to involve users to spend more time within the Language For Exchange platform, earning revenue for Language For Exchange from ad views, premium subscriptions, and from the eventual funnel into the travel and tutoring experiences already offered in your business model.

We approached the problem from a research standpoint first, to gain perspective on the following aspects of language learning:

  • How people learned languages beyond their first or native languages.
  • Reasons people pursue new language learning.
  • What people do to reinforce that learning.
  • Shortfalls of popular language learning methods.
  • What happens after prolonged disuse of a language.


A native app for iOS, presenting a friendlier and more trustworthy environment in which to make matches between users who can help each other converse on topics meeting one another’s needs. This platform will allow users to have those conversations, as already offered, by text, voice, or video, and enable community policing by reputation and gamification, to encourage users to behave as responsible global citizens and help each other’s language learning.

Language For Exchange — Affinity Map for Persona’s creation.
Our main user is reflected in the Persona’s archetype.

In addition to the Competitive Analysis of other competitor’s platforms — Conversation Exchange, My Language Exchange and Tandem app— we also look at other competitors like Tinder, Happn and How About We, for our Comparative Analysis. These three represent communities designed to match users with similar interests, but users have concerns about safety, information security, robots, and people unprincipled and malicious.

Tandem app has a very user friendly UI, that offers access to text, voice, and video protocols, but contextual inquiry and chat interviews we conducted as undercover Tandem users revealed multiple anecdotal examples, like for example of users making unwanted advances and “fishy”-sounding requests to move the chat to video.

Excerpts from real conversations, where we refered explicitly we were doing research about these specific platforms.

Language For Exchange iOS App

Besides looking and joining an existing conversation, the user can start his own new one by setting up a new conversation. For that the user will need to customize the conversation setting up the several parameters such as languages spoken, chat channel, subject and a time period for this conversation to be active, displayed in a logical algorithmic order taking into account:

  • Premium users (listed first as offered in the existing web service)
  • Subject matter commonality between users
  • Community ratings

User profiles and listings are based on chosen usernames and de-emphasize personal information and photos.

Onboarding, 3 first screens.
Onboarding, 3 last screens, before Building a Profile page.
Create a Profile with Avatar option.
Build a Conversation, that will be listed in the Community Page.

During the user testing we figured out that users made some confusion between the “start a conversation” and “build a profile” features. Users looked at the “Community” tab in bottom nav and believed that they were looking at a list of profiles similar to the ones they had built in the first task, and had frustrations deciding how to start the task. Our solution was to reorganize the bottom nav and to rename “Community” as “Conversations”. After that we also modified the top element of the conversation list and added a green circle to emphasize the screen as a list of live conversations available to join.

List of live conversations under the “Conversations” tab.

We’ve concluded that a social system like ours, gamification is a very important feature to be included in the app. For the MVP we just have done and tested the basic “starring users” but as next steps some more deep gamification features support should be implemented and tested, such as several type of badges, user benchmarking and ranking, milestones etc.

Other smaller aesthetic changes were suggested and may be implemented and tested in further iterations, including enlargement of the flag icons indicating a user’s languages on the conversation card.

UX Designer — from research and ideation to prototyping and testing, as well as pixel perfect visual design.

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A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
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