Internship project: LinGoChat (startup)
Time: Jan 2015-Mar 2015
Outcome: conceptual design
Team: Beatrice (UX), Clark (UX), Lovett (Visual)
My contribution: market research, user research, ideation, wireframe
Bedtime English is an iPad app that encourages Chinese kids (5-8) to practice spoken English in a fairyland setting. Kids can sing songs, tell stories and dub film clips while interacting with bilingual tutors embodied in elf avatars.
Net Marketing has already launched an app Tripper that provides live interpretation and travel assistance for foreigners in China and Japan. The company now wants to move into the EdTech industry and make full use of its highly qualified bilingual tutors. It's planning to develop an English language live tutoring product for children.
We conduct competitive analysis on 30+ online English learning products, including both websites and apps.
We found that though 1-on-1 tutoring is proven an effective way to practice language, and is widely applied for adult learners. Few products target children as their main users.
Possible challenges are:
- Kids are easily distracted in remote learning
- The pedagogical process and learning materials
We talked with children from 5-8 years old in a well-known primary school in Beijing. Students there are mostly from middle class families, whose parents are highly educated. We found that many kids play with iPad in free time. They're interested in learning popular English songs, especially theme music of cartoon films (e.g. Let it Go in Frozen).
We also interviewed their moms because they are the the decision makers for kids' educational products. They care about what their kids are playing with, and tend to assist them in getting familiar with different apps.
Based on the information we gathered previously, we decided to build the app on iPad platform. We brainstormed on a collection of elements including:
Scenarios: when and where children use the app
Learning Materials: what content the children study
Theme: what overall experience the app provides for users (the app's keyword)
We finally decided on the fairyland theme, where children could role play their favorite characters.
The learning materials includes three sections: movie dubbing, song singing and storytelling
Possible use scenarios are:
- Before going to sleep (bedtime)
- When parents don’t want to be interrupted (dinner outside, doing chores)
- Traveling on train/car
Considering that parents won't be happy if the app takes too much of children's time, we set each use duration to be less than 15min.
The project came to a halt for various reasons before being coded. In reflection, the design concept was faulted for failing to take pedagogical process into consideration. Thus for future iteration, a balance of entertainment and education must be achieved for an educational product.
Also, the current operation process (self study--tutoring--record) has many details and is complicated for children. To improve it, we need to reduce more irrelevant elements and give users clearer guidance.