Flewnt

Transforming the language learning experience, making it more immersive and realistic.

The problem

Travellers have difficulty assimilating when visiting foreign countries, often experiencing culture shock and a disconnect between their research and learnings, compared to their experiences upon arrival.

The solution

Provide users with an opportunity to practice their foreign language skills through real, authentic conversation.

Establishing user needs

To determine the validity of the problem statement and better understand the problem space, I kicked off the double diamond design process' discovery phase with three initial research methods, as detailed below.

Competitor analysis

I conducted a competitor analysis on social and travel applications as a starting point, looking at their design, features, functionality, and usability. I also browsed hundreds of App Store reviews to understand what users felt about these applications 鈥 what they did well, what they didn鈥檛, and what would improve their experiences.

Conducting the analysis provided me with some great insights. It allowed me to understand gaps in the market, where competitors fell short, and what users' ideal applications might look like.

Surveys

To gather more information and better understand who potential users might be, I sent out two mixed-method surveys targeting travellers and people familiar with speaking multiple languages. The goal of these surveys was to gain insights into:

  • The motivations behind learning a second language
  • The methods people use when learning a second language
  • The pain points experienced when learning a language
  • The pain points experienced when travelling to a foreign country

User interviews

After reviewing some of the survey responses, I conducted several interviews with potential users to better understand their experiences, behaviours, and motivations. The primary goals were to:

  • Understand how participants prepared for their trip and what drew them to travel
  • 聽Learn what methods, if any, participants took to learn the language
  • Understand what participants felt the most significant pain points or disconnects were when adjusting to the local culture or language

Making sense of the possibilities

Armed with a tonne of valuable insights, I began synthesising my research, where I was able to identify patterns and substantiate some of my initial assumptions.

鈥淵our affinity map is one of the biggest and neatest ones I鈥檝e seen. You鈥檝e put together great patterns. amazing work including insights for the overarching group鈥

With these patterns identified, I created a series of artefacts to help better understand my user, including:

Ideating potential solutions

When thinking about how I might solve the problem users experienced when learning a new language, I thought back to my initial problem statement:聽

Travellers have difficulty assimilating when visiting foreign countries, often experiencing culture shock and a disconnect between their research and learnings, compared to their experiences upon arrival.

After synthesising the research, I determined that travellers need a way to ease themselves into the environment, allowing them to focus less on the stresses of travel and spend more time immersing themselves in local culture. I reframed the problem statement, asking:

How might we transform the language-learning experience, making it more immersive and realistic?

Sketches

With a few initial ideas immediately coming to mind, I rapidly brainstormed a series of screens and features that might assist me in solving the problem, leaning on some of the insights found through user interviews, negative App Store reviews, and survey responses.

User flows

As the ideas and potential features started coming together, I created a series of user flows, mapping out the steps users would take to perform some of the major tasks within the application.

Because these user flows touched on some of the key screens, I began developing the information architecture together concurrently, ensuring a clear distinction between each arm of the application.

Wireframing and user testing

With the user flows defined and the IA mapped out, I created some low-fidelity wireframes to assist in visualising key content and features within some of the application鈥檚 primary screens.聽

I then mapped out some loose content and conducted a couple of flexible user testing sessions to understand:

  • Their feelings about the information appearing on a users profile
  • Their initial thoughts around the iconography in the navigation
  • Their feelings around the 鈥榯ry an icebreaker鈥 functionality
  • Their thoughts around the experience of navigating through the application

I received some helpful feedback from participants, which I implemented into the final design.

Introducing Flewnt

Flewnt is a mobile application that aims to connect users who share a language cross-over, encouraging them to enhance their language skills by fostering authentic, real-world connections.

To do this, Flewnt takes the user鈥檚 native language, learned language, location, interests and upcoming trips into account, matching users who share commonalities.聽For example:

Alex lives in Melbourne, Australia and has planned a trip to Tokyo, Japan. He鈥檒l be travelling alone throughout November and is excited to learn more about Japanese culture.聽

Alex is passionate about photography, reading and video games and has recently learned some beginner Japanese through YouTube videos. Currently, he only speaks English fluently.

In contrast, Mayuko lives in Tokyo and is trying to learn English. She currently only speaks fluent Japanese and also loves photography and reading. With no upcoming trips planned, Mayko will remain at home throughout November.

With Alex and Mayuko sharing a language cross-over, interests, and (an upcoming) common location, they would be matched and encouraged to learn their respective languages through conversation.聽

What comes next?

Moving forward, I鈥檇 love to look at a way to connect people within the community, particularly older generations who have immigrated to a foreign country and cannot speak a second language.

During the initial research sessions, one of the surveys examined the importance of keeping native languages practised in immigrant families. With 54% of respondents saying their parents felt it was very important and 46% saying it was somewhat important, there is a clear desire to keep generations connected with their heritage.

Of those surveyed, roughly 40% didn鈥檛 speak the language native to the country they immigrated to, and of that 40%, less than 4% knew people who spoke their native language within the community.