I helped create a reading app that teaches English to children from non-English speaking homes to make up for the nationwide shortage of qualified English Language Learning educators in the United States. The team and I did this by identifying holes in the education system, defining business impact and user needs, and creating a fun, interactive, uncomplicated user interface that both children and parents could enjoy outside of the classroom.
Under-Resourced Students in the United States
Our solution: giving English Language Learners equitable tools to succeed
Our app, Little U, is an equitable solution to ensure children from non-English speaking homes have equal access to both tools and opportunities in the United States.
Intelligent, Creative, Overwhelmed
The children are highly intelligent, technologically savvy, and motivated yet they have difficulty staying engaged in class due to the lack of resources and thoughtful, robust programs needed for English Language Learners. Smartphones and tablets set in their native language with parent supervision are prominent at home and are used mainly as entertainment for the children.
The parents are also learning English and have a busy work schedule supporting the family so time and confidence in their own English skills prevent additional language practice at home.
The Goal — A two-week sprint to build a clickable prototype and additional coding portion
- Visual Design
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Navigational Design
- SwiftUI Coding Portion
Constraints & Roadblocks
- Class project with artificial scenarios
- Food poisoning
- Short timeline
Week One —
User Research: Interviews, surveys, affinity mapping
We discovered some common themes amongst the interviewees:
- The importance of a routine
- Concerns about too much screen time
- More cultural representation
- Bonding with children
- Constructive time spent versus entertainment with no value
Assessing the current market
Analyzing direct and indirect competitors helped us begin to shape how we wanted our app to be structured, what interactive elements did or did not work, what feature set we needed to prioritize, and the visual design.
We agreed that our app needed youthful visuals and colors, intuitive onboarding and navigation, and interactive elements to keep the user engaged and motivated throughout the journey.
User flow and critical path
Week Two —
I began low-fidelity prototypes entirely in landscape orientation but we ultimately decided against it after user testing. We did, however, choose to keep the reading portion in landscape.
Lo-fi prototyping in landscape
Mid-fi prototype with user feedback
Navbar iterations throughout the project
Round two of user testing
We conducted more user tests with the hi-fidelity prototype and made more iterations to improve the initial walkthrough, user flow, and reorganizing some navigational elements.
Hi-fidelity prototypes were simplified with:
- Fewer colors
- More whitespace
- Uniformed iconography
- More obvious interactive signifiers
Home screen iterations - Lo-fi, Mid-fi, Hi-fi
Parent account screen iterations - Lo-fi, Mid-fi, Hi-fi
Coding with SwiftUI
I spent the last day learning SwiftUI and completing the coding portion of the project by creating fully-functional onboarding screens.