Smart People Inc. — UX Case Study
In this project, I created an online language learning platform for 20+-year-old. It was created to transform the in-person learning experience into a 100% digital experience that can be accessed by people at a lower cost.
I researched and made an application that would help and guide a studious user to learn Spanish or English. The app consists of notification preferences, feedback messages when completing a task, and a video section where the users can watch videos with substiles to feel immersed in the language they are trying to learn.
My pre-determined goals were to create an app that user can download and learn a new language. It would help the user feel accomplished when completing a lesson, get reminders to complete more levels, and videos with subtitles to help the users feel immersed.
Setting the Scope
I was determined to talk and interview as many people as possible that have learned languages by apps or any other method of learning. As well as send out a survey on their thoughts, pains, and gains on pre-existing language apps.
The Actual Research and Discovery
I first created a lean survey canvas and with that, I created a survey online and sent it out to people on Reddit Forums, Facebook Groups, and friends; I got 41 responses back. I discovered that many of the users’ goals in learning a language were mostly for travel, for fun, and learning vocabulary. I also discovered that the users would like to see games, visual and audio features, and a chat feature that connects them with native speaking people. I then interviewed 5 users who gave great insight into pre-existing language applications.
I created a lean UX canvas with all the research and feedback from the survey I sent out; it helped me pinpoint the problems people were having while trying to learn a new language. After creating the lean UX canvas, I created a competitive feature comparison chart and from that information, I created our marketing positioning chart where I found our ideal brand position (our blue ocean). The position of Smart People Inc. app was positioned in the more value and more innovation part of the graph. That is where I wanted the company to stay because value and innovation is a big deal for applications these days.
From the information, I gathered, I created a user persona who would represent a mental model of our users. Our persona is Studios Stella, who is 24 years old and a travel blogger. I also created Stella’s journey map to show her actions, feelings, and problems while trying to use a pre-existing language app before her trip to Honduras.
Stella’s pain points include:
- Not getting a feedback message when completing a lesson
- Not getting notified to complete lessons
- Can’t find a video to watch with subtitles
After interviewing users, sending out surveys, creating the lean UX canvas, researching, collecting business analysis, and creating our user persona, I started to ideate to fix the three main pain points; I answered the “three how might we” questions. After answering the questions I created a MoSCoW graph which helped me come down to specific features I must include in the new language app.
I wanted to create a mobile application that helped our users learn Spanish or English easier. The application helps the users stay on track with notifications, feedback on their progress in a lesson, and videos that help the user learn by seeing and hearing. In conclusion, the app would help the user feel better about learning a language with some “congratulation” notifications for completing a task and keep the user up to date with their lessons.
Flow, Design Patterns and UI Choices
I created the lean UX canvas, business analysis, user persona, MoSCoW graph, user flow, and a site map. The user flow shows the users “happy” path to the task that has to be completed. The site map shows an outline of how the application would look and flow together. After creating the user flow and site map I finally got to design the low-fidelity and mid-fidelity wireframes on how the website would look on an IOS users phone.
I started designing a few low-fidelity wireframes, from there I chose the ones I felt would work best for the purpose of the application. After creating the low-fi wireframes with paper and sharpies, I tested the wireframes with 5 in-person users; most of them said that the landing page was a little confusing because nowhere on the page was there a button saying “sign up”.
After the usability testing phase with the in-person user, I create mid-fidelity wireframes on Sketch. I then transferred the mid-fidelity wireframes on to InVision, then I created them into a live prototype and moved it into Maze to send it out to users to test the prototype.
I had 27 users test the lo-fi wireframe prototype; takeaways I had from the usability testing was that users do not read instructions while taking Maze tests and the heat maps show the user clicking on everything on the pages because they want to see what every button does.
The research I collected from the usability testing showed me where the users clicked on and it showed me a heat map. Overall, there was 96.6% indirect success because when I created the live prototype I made the “back” buttons work to go back to the recent pages. I had one person bounce/give-up when they opened the test. I asked why they gave up and the user’s answer was that they were taking the test on the iPhone and Maze.design did not keep the task on the page as it does on the computer, so the user forgot the instructions/task and gave-up. The wireframes themselves were great and no major issues. Also, many people wanted to figure out what each button did and that is why it changed the success rate. I figured if I included active/passive states of the buttons it could help with this very issue. Below I have included a side-by-side of how the pages look like without the heat map colors. As you can see, people just want to click on everything.
- Users want something easy to use.
- A language app that is realistic and it focuses on the real human to day-to-day activities.
- People want to play games and learn in an interactive way.
My next steps for the language application would be to include onboarding for the games section of the app, level testing at the beginning of the application to see in what level the user stands and get the app to truly remember the user by their accent and pronunciation.
My personal thoughts for this week that it was a great week. I worked hard, learned a lot about myself and learned more about the UX process. I can’t wait to learn more about the UI process next week.
Thank you for reading!
Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marian-parajon