Voco is a mobile app that helps users develop learning routines through a playful approach by competing in a vocabulary contest against other app users.

The Challenge.
To design a mobile app that empowers people to learn new vocabulary on the go. 
The Process.
By means of a competitive analysis, positive and negative approaches were examined by comparing three vocabulary apps. The resulting questions were used to survey potential users. A user persona was developed from their answers. An information architecture was created taking into account the wishes and needs of the user persona. On this basis, the first wireframes and prototypes were created, which in turn were iterated after a usability test.
The Goal.
A vocabulary app that is so much fun that even busy people are using it regularly during waiting times or breaks.
UX/UI Designer
Primary Stakeholder
CareerFoundry Intro to UX Design Course
Project Scale
3 weeks
Tools Used
Pen & Paper / Photoshop / Marvel / Zoom / Figma
Competitive Analysis
Three existing apps were scrutinized: Vocab, Word of the Day and Words Booster. All three were very intuitive in structure, but had a different degree of playfulness, which affects the entertainment value. These different approaches are of course also due to the target group. I realized I would choose a middle ground to achieve broad consensus — an easy to play competitive game that focuses on the word and its meaning, and ensures repetition.
User Interviews
The user research phase was about finding out what motivates people to learn a new language and what turns the initial motivation into an effective routine. When selecting the interviewees, people were chosen who were no longer involved in regular school learning processes, but wanted to continue their education alongside their work. In order to be able to interpret the answers well, they were then divided into "doing", "thinking" and "feeling". In this way, conclusions can also be drawn about unconscious behavior. It became clear that overcoming language barriers can be a great incentive because fluency in the language increases self-confidence and competitive play helps to establish a new learning routine. Key findings of this step were:

Interview questions
• Describe a situation in which you had to use a foreign language and how you felt about it?
• What keeps you motivated in challenging situations?
• What drives you while learning a new language?
• Why is it so hard to establish a new routine?
• What do you think is the most effective way to train your memory?
• What would be a useful tool when dealing with flashcards?
• Which digital products do you usually use for translation?
• What are you willing to pay for a service app that meets all your needs?
Three participants were interviewed.

Key findings of this step:
• Implementing a new routine is easier with a daily reminder.
• Some sort of reward system or milestones would increase motivation.
• Repetition is essential for successful learning.

User Persona
The results of the user survey helped to identify needs and goals. On this basis, the development of a user persona was fun and easy to manage. I have come up with a business woman whose main goal is to increase her vocabulary to be able to communicate more precisely with her international colleagues.
Information Architecture
Based on Linda's user stories, two tasks were developed to define structure and content of the app: 
the registration process and participation in a vocabulary contest. 
An additional digital card sorting survey helped to find the correct main and subcategories.
Wireframing & Prototyping 
From the first scribbled lo-fi wireframes, a clickable prototype was built by using the Marvel app.
Usability Testing
In order to guarantee comparability, the framework conditions were defined with the help of a test script. So all four participants got the same tasks. The observations and statements made during the test were then listed in a test report, sorted according to Jakob Nielsen's error severity rating scale and provided with possible solutions. This lead to the first iteration of the prototype.​​​​​​​

Scenario tasks
Task 01
A colleague told you about an app where you compete against each other in vocabulary contests.
He convinced you to register there as well. 
Direct task: Sign up in order to get to the main menue.
Task 02
You overheard the word „conservatory“ in a conversation and you are not quite sure what it means.
A good opportunity to look it up and add it to your repeat list. 
Direct task: Look up a word and add it to your repeat list.
Task 03
You want to learn a new word. The word the app suggests sounds so unfamiliar to you that you‘d like
to add it to your opponent‘s competition words for a real challenge. 
Direct task: Learn a new word an add it to your opponents list.
Task 04
You have added words to your opponent‘s list and now you want to start a game.
After winning several competitions in a row you want to get an overview of your previous successes.
Direct task: Play a game and find out about your achievements.
Key finding of this step:
A large part of the observations is related to the lo-fi implementation - i.e. points that will be corrected in a higher development stage anyway. Next time I would test the prototype at a higher stage of development.
The Conclusion.
This was my first UX project. It was great to experience how the exchange with potential users revealed new perspectives that made the project more relevant.
After many years of working on computers, it felt odd at first to pull out pen and paper and sketch out simple wireframes, but it helped get into the iterative process. However, next time I would build the prototype for user testing on the computer to minimize comments on the development status. I also look forward to learning new skills in programs like Figma.
My biggest personal challenge at the moment is getting an overview of established solutions for digital products in general - such as suitable layouts, useful assets, intelligent navigation and extensive accessibility. Only when I master these standards and know how to use them can I really develop new approaches.

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