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.


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




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

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Review of the Interaction Design Foundation

The don’ts of Nepal’s Craigslist — HamroBazar app : A UI/UX case study

Project 1 MOODSIC music streaming app

Chapter 1. How to have a good design process


Why Design and UX matter for your brand?

Pool Deck Resurfacing Guide

The one design tool you absolutely can’t live without

Research Plan (Design thinking process part 1)

Get the Medium app

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

Cat Anderson

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

More from Medium

My Personal Ethics Code.

Photo by Kevin Malik from https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-surface-with-text-9016969/

Success, Self-Recognition, and Web Design at Encompass Academy

What I think about when I think about… Design (now)

Range of ingredients for Cooking

Wanna feel smart?

Brick wall