Users can easily find online content that appeals to their reading interest. An embedded dictionary allows them to check out unfamiliar words while reading. They can add these words into the wordbook and learn them later.
After the words being collected from reading materials, they will be stored in the wordbook, where user can check details of the words and see the source.
Accomplish daily tests to gain stars for words, once a word has 3 stars, it will be "learned"
In the very first days after I came to the US, I experienced a lot of cultural and language challenges. I tried to read more news and cultural content, dominantly with my mobile phone, to cope with these 2 challenges at the same time. I couldn't get into a good reading flow because of the unfamiliar words in the text. However, when I focused too much on the unfamiliar words, I would lose the reading flow as well. This observation made me think:
How might language learners learn new words through reading and maintain a good reading flow at the same time?
The visualization below shows how the experience of reading, new words learning and the combination
of the two feel like to language learners.
After reflecting on my own reading behaviors and quick conversations with some English learners, I found that if the reader can get just enough information(the meaning of the word in their native language) about a word immediately, a good reading flow can be maintained.
I identified 2 major types of services that work in a similar field as the one that I was gonna build, they are Language Learning App and Browser with an embedded dictionary. A shared problem of reading comprehension focused language learning apps is that they don't give enough flexibility on content selection -- users can only access curated content. Browsers allow users to read any content but they don't support further vocabulary building.
This product is located in the intersection of browser and language learning app that aims to help language learners split these two modes, "reading" and "vocabulary building", and help them to achieve their respective goals in these two activities.
"I want to easily find
online content that I
want to read."
+ User can add websites
that they like to visits
+ Search bar
+ User can open content from other programs with this browser
"I want to build up vocabulary
in the process of reading
without breaking the flow."
User can add unfamiliar words into the wordbook and review them later
"I want to check out unfamiliar words in the online content without breaking the flow."
Provide only enough info for user when they check
out an unfamiliar word
"Ideally, I want remember the
Daily test and gamification of the experience
1. Using the Browser to find content, check out unfamiliar words and save them into the wordbook.
2. Reviewing collected words and taking daily tests in the Wordbook.
The prototype was developed and iterated according to the feedback from usability tests. Besides the two major changes showing below, other small improvements were made.
Prototype for Usability Testing →
At the very beginning, I positioned this app as a browser with a wordbook function which confused usability testing participants. The positioning of the "browser" gave them wrong expectations towards what to look at in the app. For example, one participant said: "I don't think I can take tests in a browser thus I have no clue where to look for it." After repositioning it as a language learning app, it is way better received.
For the next steps, I will emphasize the action of collection more, both in the design and branding. I found it can be fun if I describe users' behaviors of collecting words from online content as bees collecting pollen from flowers. Even the colors of this app look like the colors of bees... Maybe this analogy can help users better get the idea of this service.