AllSpeak App Design
UX/UI design project undertaken in my first year of undergrad to solve the issue of language barriers for those working abroad.
Research, visuals, prototyping, usability testing
Sept 2017 - Dec 2017
Adobe XD, Photoshop
Language barriers are arguably one of the biggest struggles people face when visiting foreign countries. As the world becomes more globalized, understanding various cultures and languages is becoming more of a necessity than an option, especially for those who work abroad. In the first year of my undergrad, my team and I designed and prototyped a concept for a mobile app that could tackle this issue.
the big question
How might we create a platform that simplifies and improves the experience of communicating in a foreign workplace?
To solve the issue of language barriers, we conceptualized AllSpeak, a real-time translation app that can be used on the job to translate conversations, signs, and text all with a tap of a button. We focused on crafting a simple, yet effective experience through minimal interfaces and colour schemes.
We conducted research by sending out a survey to contacts who have worked abroad in at least one country. We discovered that most people had issues with asking for directions, ordering food, and communicating complex ideas to people who did not speak the same language.
From our data, we constructed a user persona which helped us better understand our target audience. We discovered that our average user may be impatient when it comes to communication. Additionally, we were able to determine that our user group is looking for a simpler way to connect to others and work more efficiently with them.
Sketches and lo-fi prototypes helped us experiment with different ideas and test out our designs quickly. I sketched some wireframes in my notebook, asked for feedback, and made some changes for our digital wireframes.
My team and I conducted user testing using our digital wireframes on Adobe XD. Here were some of the observations we recorded:
It took more than a few taps for our testers to figure out how to get to the audio translation page. The buttons on the homepage are hidden behind the plus symbol, and so users found it redundant to repeatedly tap two or three times before being able to start translating
Testers could not go back because there were no back/cancel symbols
They were frustrated that they could not re-record a conversation without having to go all the way back to the homescreen again
Some were confused on how to switch translation methods since some buttons "look like the retweet symbol"
In this stage, we refined our designs and improved on the feedback that we received from testing:
We displayed the three translation methods directly on the home page so that users don't have to waste any time with excessive tapping
Back/cancel buttons were added
After completing an audio recording, we added a confirmation pop-up. This will allow users to re-record without having to go all the way back to the homepage
All three translation methods have been locked to the bottom of the screen so that users can switch to any method with more ease
We chose blue as one of the main colours in our palette because it is associated with positivity, trust, and loyalty. These are the values we want to convey to our users since we want to portray AllSpeak as a platform that anyone can use with confidence. Dark Gray was favoured over pure black for text as it is easier on the eyes. We used light gray for accent text since it is neutral and does not overpower the other elements of the app. Lastly, we used lots of white space to give our design a cleaner, simpler look.
This project introduced me to many concepts that I had not considered before, namely on the user-research end. Before beginning this project, I specifically remember feeling stumped as to how we were supposed to design an application for a user group we knew nothing about. However, the process of conducting user interviews taught me just how much of a difference it makes when you take the time to truly understand your users’ feedback. From creating a controlled testing environment, recording video and audio for every tester, taking notes, and then implementing the feedback into our final prototype, every aspect helped tremendously in creating a final prototype that our target users could enjoy.
Another important lesson I’ve learned is that often times, the first idea you come up with is almost never the idea you will stick with to the end. At the beginning, we had many ideas on the functionality of the app, the layout, what colours and fonts we wanted to use etc. However, after conducting user interviews, we discovered that there were some aspects that made no sense and served no purpose to our target audience. In the end, this realization helped us focus more on what our target audience wanted, what they were expecting, and helped us craft an experience better suited to their needs.