Your personalized English learning service

Personal project.
Product Design | Research | Branding | Design Systems

OVERVIEW

As an educator, I've seen how unrealistic expectations and incorrect assessments affect students' learning experiences. I believe a more flexible and tailored learning system can improve this experience, leading to better educational outcomes.

Problem

Users of online language services often quit because of unrealistic result expectations during the learning process.

Solution

Algorithm matching users with better-suited tutors is the answer.

TACKLING THE PROBLEM

Analysis

Analyzing academic articles, markets, and competitors to understand current state-of-the-art solutions.

User Research

Understanding user needs and pain points and determining all parameters that might influence a learning process with user surveys and interviews.

Ideating

Using affinity mapping and brainstorming techniques to generate deeper insights that can guide the design process.

Design + Iterations

Sketches, wireframes, high-fidelity prototypes supplemented with user tests, feedback prioritization, and final iterations.

ANALYSIS

I started the research process with white paper research when an article analyzed the factors that positively affect students' satisfaction with online learning platforms. Then, I quickly analyzed the e-learning industry, a rapidly growing market with an expected revenue of $1 TN in less than five years, making it a worthwhile investment.  And finished with a demographics overview that shows that most popular language learning apps users are male, aged 26-35, located in large US cities, with middle income greater than $100,000, and interested in personal finance and traveling, potentially leaving underrepresented categories underserved. However, it's essential to conduct further research to identify the appropriate target audience.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Analyzing the 4 most popular language learning apps using SWOT, I found none of them tailored their lessons to users’ needs and preferences. The only type of assessment the competitors provide is a language test, which is imprecise and not helpful for personalized learning.

Duolingo

Busuu

Memrise

Babbel

USER INTERVIEWS

To understand the factors influencing people’s learning process, I surveyed and interviewed 8 participants who have been learning new skills recently. I asked them the following questions to find trends in what helps them stay on track, why they give up learning new skills, and what tools they find helpful or not in a learning process. Then I organized my data through affinity mapping.

Interview Questions Highlight:

1. Tell me about the time you were learning a new skill.
2. What did you struggle with?
3. How did you try to fix it?
4. What other things can you think of that could have helped you overcome these difficulties?
5. What feedback from your teacher/mentor/trainer did you get on your learning journey?

KEY INSIGHTS

The power of people in learning and motivation

Analyzing trends in interview debriefs and affinity maps, I narrowed the factors affecting the learning process according to my interviewers to the most popular topics. It helped me articulate the POV Statements and HMW Questions to pinpoint critical problems to solve. I noticed how significant the role of a mentor or a teacher is in the learning process and how competition and understanding of the application of a learning skill tremendously motivate learners.
Connection with a mentor is the most important factor in a mentor-student relationship.
When experiencing problems learning a new skill, I always turn to the Internet community.
Motivation and understanding that I will use this skill in the future are key factors for me.
Mentor is expected to help fix problems with the learning process, delivers criteria of good work, guides and assesses their knowledge appropriately.
Community supports a learning process, helps with fixing problems, motivates, creates a competitive environment, and helps to get a perspective of skill application.
Students say they are more motivated to learn a skill if they understand its future or potential application.

PERSONA

Considering the key insights of user research and a glance at the potential audience of the service, I moved on to creating a Persona.

IDEATION

I began by brainstorming and exploring different ideas to find better solutions related to mentor, community, and skill application to create a better user learning experience.

MENTOR

The storyboard shows the value of personalized mentorship in online learning and how it can help overcome language-learning obstacles and achieve goals. It is inspired by an interviewee's struggle to find the right English tutor for work after many unsuccessful attempts.

COMMUNITY

This storyboard highlights the importance of a supportive learning community and how it can enhance the learning experience for learners connecting them based on their learning styles and challenges.

ROADMAPPING

After I explored the ideation process, I moved on to the roadmapping phase. This is where I delved into the project goals and explored the product features in more detail. By taking a closer look at the goals and features, I created a roadmap that outlines the steps needed to bring the project to life. Only through careful planning and exploration I can ensure that the product meets users' needs while also achieving business objectives.

CARD SORTING

After I completed the roadmapping phase and established the project goals and product features, we moved on to card sorting. I conducted unmoderated hybrid card sorting with 40 cards in which 12 people participated.

The card sorting study revealed that "Tutor's page" was the most understandable category for potential service users.

However, there were still some uncertainties around arranging information for the existing students and onboarding pages, as respondents agreed more on some cards than others. Therefore, further exploration and analysis are required to determine the best information architecture for these pages.

Additionally, the study suggested creating new pages such as "My tutor" or "Helpful resources," which could enhance the user experience and provide additional value to users.

These findings will help better guide the design and development of the English learning service page to meet its users' needs and expectations.

SITE MAP

Testing the initial site structure idea on the actual users with card sorting and analyzing the results helped me to create a site map that was more intuitive and user-friendly.

TASK AND USER FLOWS

After conducting a usability audit using an open-source heuristic evaluation checklist created by Muditha Batagoda, I started working on the logic of steps a user follows to complete a task or achieve a goal on a website. While working on it, I gained a deeper understanding of how users interact with the website and identified areas for improvement. I used this information to optimize the website's design and functionality, ultimately improving the user experience.

WIREFRAMING

Based on the Task and User flows created, the next step was to develop Lo-Fi wireframes for the website. They helped me to get a basic representation of the website's layout and structure and visualize its overall flow.
After exploring some ideas and choosing ones aligned with my Persona goals, I converted my low-fidelity wireframes into a mid-fidelity digital format.

BRANDING

Using my marketing background, I followed a step-by-step approach to choosing a style for the project. I started by prioritizing our core values and selecting colors and a typeface that aligned with them. I created color palettes, gathered feedback, eliminated options overlapping with our competitors, and ensured the final choices were accessible. This consistent approach helped me develop a cohesive brand identity.

THE SOLUTION

Algorithm matching users with better-suited tutors

English-level assessment

  • Identify weak areas and skip familiar content to save time and focus better;
  • Measure your progress and celebrate your achievements to stay motivated throughout your learning journey;

Determine your
learning style

  • Avoid using less effective methods that may not help you learn as much;
  • Approach new information positively, knowing you have the tools to succeed;
  • Make the learning process more effective and enjoyable by studying your way;

Set learning goals and
time constraints

  • Helps you stay on track and prevents wasting time on irrelevant information;
  • Boosts your confidence and sense of accomplishment;
  • Helps you stay motivated and provide a sense of responsibility for your own learning journey;

Receive personalized tutoring by
being matched with tutors

  • Focus on the areas where you need the most help, and make progress more quickly;
  • Tutors use teaching methods that work best for your abilities and learning style;
  • Receive tutoring at a time that works best for you, and focus on the areas of your study that need the most attention.

TESTING. PRIORITIZING. IMPROVING

3 key design improvements

After completing the initial design approach, I tested it with 5 users, some familiar with the project and others not. I then organized and analyzed their feedback and discussed the results with my mentor. Based on this process, I identified three main UX issues that required further iteration.

Accessibility

  • The prototype tested on colorblind people had issues with logo colors in the footer background.
  • Changing the background color didn't work well with other page colors.
  • After discussing this with my mentor, I followed his advice using a dark background, which solved accessibility issues and looked good.

Adding Skip button

  • My primary goal was to create tests for new users and integrate them into the onboarding process.
  • However, some users preferred to study the service before taking the tests, while others disliked being forced to participate.
  • To address this, I added a Skip button to all test pages and an email reminder for users who hadn't finished the onboarding process.

Enhancing User Experience Through Tooltip Redesign

  • To improve user retention during onboarding, I decided to display users' test results at the end.
  • However, during user interviews, I discovered the results page was overwhelming, and many users preferred to skip it.
  • To address this, I redesigned the results page to provide primarily visual information and added an option for users to read more about their results on a separate page.

STYLE GUIDE

THE FINAL PRODUCT

REFLECTION

What I’d do differently next time.

That was my first-ever UX project that showed me my strengths, such as UX research, testing, and idea-generating, the amount of work I need to do to become a professional, and the people around me who were ready to guide me in the right direction and share their expertise. I’m deeply grateful for that, and here are some lessons I’ve learned so far:

1. Use more components. As people say, work smarter, not harder. Since it was my first design project, I focused on trying different tools and learning different main design concepts. However, I understand that good work must be fast, flexible, and universally applicable. So, my goal for the future is to utilize the usage of design systems and components for better performance.

2. Time management and prioritization. My next goal is to learn how to allocate time for different design tasks appropriately. Sometimes on this project, I spent too much time on things that turned out to be of less priority, and then I didn’t have enough time for more important tasks. By diving deeper into UX design, I also want to learn how different tools affect the result and how much time they take to better manage my time and workflow.

3. Focus on user objectives. I noticed I was clinging to my ideas and design decisions despite not serving users properly. For example, I was reluctant to add a Skip button, thinking that users follow the onboarding to the end in this case. I assume this is a result of a lack of experience. As an educator, I often see how young teachers might be strict and unbendable to their students, which indicates insufficient teaching methods to serve more students needs. I can use my experience from other areas to understand how I can help myself to see these blind spots and work more efficiently.

4. Professional community.
I wouldn’t have gone so far without the support of my mentor, the Designlab professional community, and the entire UX community that consists of people constantly contributing their content on YouTube, Medium, Reddit, and other media. The main thing I learned from this project is that people learn from people. Sometimes it took courage or effort to participate in group crits or receive feedback on my work. Still, I always got a lot from live professional interaction that I couldn’t get individually. So, the lesson here is always to use an opportunity to learn from people.

Thank you for reading!

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