Overview

A cultural learning platform for language learners. 

Duolingo Culture is an e-learning platform to help language learners to discover cultural information and more localized ways of communicating, including body language, etiquette, slang and idioms, so that language learners feel comfortable interacting with local people while traveling.

Overview

A cultural learning platform for language learners. 

Duolingo Culture is an e-learning platform to help language learners to discover cultural information and more localized ways of communicating including hand body languages, etiquette, slangs and idioms, so that language learners feel comfortable interacting with local people while traveling.

My role: User research, synthesis, strategy, wireframing, prototying & project management

Project Type: Passion project, case study

Timeline: 2 weeks

Tools: Sketch &  InVision

My role: User research, synthesis, strategy, wireframing, prototying & project management

Project Type: Passion project, case study

Timeline: 2 weeks

Tools: Sketch &  InVision

Opportunity:  Duolingo offers several products and features that make language learning fun and convenient:

  • Incorporating gaming into the learning process
  • A ‘stories’ product to learn language through narratives
  • Language groups to connect with others in the community
  • Flashcards to memorize subject matters of all kinds

However, they have not yet covered an extremely important aspect of language learning:  CULTURE

Opportunity:  Duolingo offers several products and features that make language learning fun and convenient:

Incorporating gaming into the learning process
A ‘stories’ product to learn language through narratives
Language groups to connect with others in the community
Flashcards to memorize subject matters of all kinds
However, they have not yet covered an extremely important aspect of language learning:  CULTURE

The Process

Start with an assumption

The Process

Start with an assumption

'Language learners need an effective way to learn non-verbal cues and expressions, and a responsive website is the most efficient way to solve their problem.'

We started our process by defining an assumption about the needs of our product. According to the language learners we interviewed, they all have experienced an awkward moment by not understanding hand gestures or table manners while interacting with native speakers. We created our assumption based on our initial research and conducted more detailed research to answer four high-level questions we had. 

'Language learners need an effective way to learn non-verbal cues and expressions and a responsive website is the most efficient way to solve their problem.'

four areas to research 2

The Discovery

Competitive Analysis

We conducted a competitive analysis to see how competitors are approaching the issue. We looked into the language e-learning market and travel guide market but noticed that none of the products were focused on cultural immersion. It was a big opportunity to reach an untapped market of language learners who want to be immersed among local people. 

The Discovery

Competitive Analysis

We conducted a competitive analysis to see how competitiors are approaching the issue. We looked into the language e-learning market and travel guide market but noticed that none of the products were focused on cultural immersion. It was a big opportunity to reach an untapped market of language learners who want to be immersed among local people. 

Competitive Analysis image

Research Survey & User Interviews

Research Survey & User Interviews

We conducted online surveys, collecting 65 responses from language learners who use online or mobile app resources. Also, we interviewed 6 people who have studied a language, then traveled to a place in which that language is locally spoken. 

We conducted online surveys, collecting 65 responses from language learners who use online or mobile app resources. Also, we interviewed 6 people who have studied a language, then traveled to a place in which that language is locally spoken. 

We conducted online surveys, collecting 65 responses from language learners who use online or mobile app resources. Also, we interview with 6 people who have studied a language, then traveled to a place in which that language is locally spoken. 

"Understanding what language is in terms of culture is important and you don’t learn that in school."


 "When you learn in school, your professor may have learned ... where the dialect, slang are different.  
It’s good to have the other resources to help with that."

"Understanding what language is in terms of culture is important and you don’t learn that in school."


 "When you learn in school, your professor may have learned ... where the dialect, slang are different.  
It’s good to have the other resources to help with that."

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

Research Survey graph

According to research surveys, nearly 90% of responders expressed the importance of learning cultural norms and needed to find resources.

According to research surveys, nearly 90% of responders expressed the importance of learning cultural norms and needed to find resources.

User interviews icons

The user research strengthened the notion that language and culture cannot be separated. All of the interviewees were motivated to learn a foreign language after they experienced a culture through people, movies, books, etc.  All of them experienced a lot of surprises and frustrations while interacting with local people, and they agreed that learning culture is important to enhance their communication skills.

The user research strengthened the notion that language and culture cannot be separated. All of the interviewees were motivated to learn a foreign language after they experienced a culture through people, movies, books, etc.  All of them experienced a lot of surprises and frustrations while interacting with local people, and they agreed that learning culture is important to enhance their communication skills.

The Synthesis

Personas

The Synthesis

Personas

Primary Persona

Our persona was created based on our survey research and interview findings. We chose a Japanese learner because Japanese was the most requested language at Duolingo. He is intermediate in Japanese and started learning the language after experiencing the culture. He noticed Japanese friends have specific etiquette and different body language, but he doesn’t fully understand the details. He wants to continue studying Japanese so he decided to visit Japan next year.

Our persona was created based on our survey research and interview findings. We chose a Japanese learner because Japanese was the most requested language at Duolingo. He is intermediate in Japanese, started learning Japanese after experiencing the culture. He noticed Japanese friends have specific etiquette and different body language but he doesn’t fully understand the details. He wants to continue studying Japanese so he decided to visit Japan next year.

The Iterations

We went through three rounds of iteration until we finalized our screens. We constantly tested and gathered feedback from users in order to make sure each element is understandable and interactive. 

The Iterations
We went through three rounds of iteration until we finalized our screens. We constantly tested and gathered feedback from users in order to make sure each element is understandable and interactive. 
Iteration

The Design

Finding content

These four screens display the process by which a user learns cultural information. The country screen has five categories; History, Food, Etiquette, Body Language and Idioms & Slang. We created these categories based on what interviewees thought useful or necessary. We also incorporated aspects of micro-learning, gamification and the caricature style of Duolingo's existing language learning platform.

The Design

Finding a content

These four screens display the process by which a user learns cultural information. The country screen has five categories; History, Food, Etiquette, Body Language and Idioms & Slang. We created these categories based on what interviewees thought useful or necessary. We also incorporated aspects of micro-learning, gamification and the caricature style of Duolingo's existing language learning platform.

Key screens image

Writing a question

On the content screen, a user can leave a question for further information. Once a user wants to write a question, the modal screen leads to a sign up process where they create an account and complete a profile. 

Writing a question

On the content screen, a user can leave a question for further information. Once a user wants to write a question, the modal screen leads to a sign up process where they create an account and complete a profile. 

Key screens image 2

The details

Country Screen

We designed a card-based interface to make the contents digestable for users. Also, we added gamification to encourage users' engagement. Users can browse easily by swiping through cards and achieve gems whenever completing each lecture. Users also can find more curated content, such as the most popular and featured content, located under the cards. 

The details

Country Screen

We implemented card-based design for easy browsing and gamifications to encourage users' engagement. Users can browse easily by swiping through cards and achieve gems whenever completing each lecture. Users also can find more curated contents, such as the most popular contents and the contents recommended by moderators, located under the cards. 

Japan page mobile color 1x
Country-screen

Content Screen 

Users can learn cultural information while learning expressions related to each situation. We decided to create gif image to help users to understand the context better, and users can repeat the conversation by tapping the speaker icons. Also, users can slow down the conversation by clicking the turtle icon. 

Content Screen 

Users can learn cultural information while learning expressions related to each situation. We decided to create gif image to help users to understand the context better, and users can repeat the conversation by tapping the speaker icons. Also, users can slow down the conversation by clicking the turtle icon. 

Content page mobile cropped
Content-screens

The Vision

Why crowdsourcing?

The Vision

Why crowdsoursing?

The Vision

Why crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing

Currently, Duolingo's language contents are created by incubators (volunteers), similar to crowdsourcing. We found resources for cultural learning such as blogs and travel guides and asked Japanese speakers to evaluate the quality of content. We found that a lot of content was out-dated and lacked context. In order to update constantly-changing and subjective contents, we decided crowdsourcing was the most effective way. Therefore, we designed a platform where content is created by incubators and moderators, but users can collaboratively correct and update it by reporting and sharing comments.

Currently, Duolingo's language contents are created by incubators (volunteers), similar to crowdsourcing. We found resources for cultural learning such as blogs and travel guides and asked Japanese speakers to evaluate the quality of content. We found that a lot of content was out-dated and lacked context. In order to update constantly-changing and subjective contents, we decided crowdsourcing was the most effective way. Therefore, we designed a platform where content is created by incubators and moderators, but users can collaboratively correct and update it by reporting and sharing comments.

We decided that 'Crowd-sourcing' is the best way to created contents, which is how Duolingo currently creates their language contents. We designed this product based on our assumption that once the contents are created by incubators and moderators, people would collaboratively update the contents by reporting and sharing comments.

We asked a Japanese speaker living in Japan to evaluate information about cultural norm we found from travel guides and blogs. We found that a lot of information is out-dated. Cultural information keep changing and could be subjective, so the crowd sourcing was considered the most effective way to improve contents. 

What's Next? 

Usability testing:
We would like to perform usability tests to test additional tasks such as accessing and reviewing bookmarked lesson content, contributing to the forum, completing a lesson from start to finish, etc.  

Design Iterations:
We would like to create wireframes for other lesson types (e.g. history, food) following associated content development.

Feature Integration:
We would like to integrate animated, interactive maps including dialects or regional customs within a particular country.  Also, it is necessary to design features for incubators to easily create content, track progress and collaborate between incubators.

What's Next? 

Usability testing:
We would like to perform usability tests to test additional tasks such as accessing and reviewing bookmarked lesson content, contributing to the forum, completing a lesson from start to finish, etc.  

Design Iterations:
We would like to create wireframes for other lesson types (e.g. history, food) following associated content development.

Feature Integration:
We would like to integrate animated, interactive maps including dialects or regional customs within a particular country.  Also, it is necessary to design features for incubators to easily create content, track progress and collaborate between incubators.

What's Next? 


Usability testing:
Perform usability tests of most updated iteration
Test additional tasks such as accessing and reviewing bookmarked lesson content, contributing to the forum, completing a lesson from start to finish etc.  

Design Iterations:
Create wireframes for other lesson types (e.g. history, food) following associated content development

Feature Integration:
Integrate animated, interactive maps including dialects or regional customs within a particular country.
Design features for incubators to easily create content, track progress and collaborate between incubators.

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I’m a lifelong learner who always tries to be a better designer than yesterday. If you need a collaborator on your project or just want to discuss UX/UI with me, feel free to contact me. 

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