GOALingo: A Language App for the Casual Traveler, aka, My First Experience in Rapid Paper Prototyping as a UX Design Student

The Research Process

The initial, exploratory user interview.
  • What are the biggest obstacles you face when traveling in foreign countries?
  • What strategies or technologies have you used when you’ve encountered a language barrier?
  • Have you ever attempted to learn a language before you’ve traveled to the country or region it is spoken? Why or why not? How did you approach learning the language?
  • Have you ever attempted to speak a foreign language while traveling? How did it go?
  • What types or categories of things would be helpful for a tourist or traveler to know in a foreign language?
  • What types of travel apps do you or have you used? Do you find them helpful?
  • Do you usually carry a smartphone with you when you’re traveling?
  • How do you organize your apps on your phone?
Conducting a user interview.

Developing the App

Please forgive my horrifying 3rd grade-level drawings.

Prototyping

A user interacting with my first paper prototype.
Iterated home page screen. New and improved!
On the left, the original. Iterated screen, center. Added language overview screen, right.
The two frames on the left are the originals, and the frame on the right is the new and simplified version.
No dogs were harmed in the making of this prototype.
Search fail, pop-up #1.
Search fail, pop-up #2.
Search fail, pop-up #3.
The final prototype.

Next Steps

  • I would like to enhance the visual appeal of the app with graphics or animation.
  • Research to see if a more extensive conversational video library would help users in their quest to master the basic words and phrases of travel.
  • Explore new technologies for an audio feedback feature, wherein users could pronounce a word or phrase into their phone and get instant feedback from the app about how well they are pronouncing it (red light/green light, e.g.). Interestingly, several users independently brought this idea up, but most said that they did not trust current voice recognition technologies to be accurate enough, rendering the feature useless.

Final Thoughts

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UX designer. Anthropology nerd. Restaurant veteran. Venetian by nature, Mainer by nurture, Cantabrigian for love.

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Cat Anderson

Cat Anderson

UX designer. Anthropology nerd. Restaurant veteran. Venetian by nature, Mainer by nurture, Cantabrigian for love.

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