Small Talks

ROLE | UX/UI design, brand strategy

TIMELINE | 6 weeks

TEAM | Kim Van

Overview

SmallTalks is an Interactive role-playing game which breaks the barriers of speaking in another language one talk at a time. This is a result of an intense 6 week user experience project that started from a concept to developing possible prototypes and fully launching a new start-up business.

Process

Research

For the first two weeks of this project, our main focus was to narrow down and specify our potential users. To better understand our target users, we created surveys that included questions about the ways and methods people prefer when it comes to language learning.

Here are our main findings from our surveys:

1. The main reason behind learning a language was to travel

2. Many of our participants felt a barrier when it came to having a conversation in that language

3. Being able to create an handle a conversation was the main goal of our participants

These finding helped us to narrow down our target users. We wanted to mainly focus on language learners who want to travel and want to become fluent in their listening and conversational skills. We also figured out we wanted to create a self-paced experience for our users to be immersed in an environment and have a chance to practice their desired language by speaking out loud.

Design

After solidifying our target users, it was time to do some research on the existing products. As I did this research, I seemed that there were both language learning and roleplay game apps. However, it seemed that there isn’t an app that combines these together. I still researched about these types of apps such as Duolingo and Chapters in order to understand the common patterns that they create for their users.

We decided to focus on Japanese language for our prototype since my group mate wanted to go to Japan for exchange. Since she was already familiar with the Japanese language, she was in charge of writing the story for our app.

I was responsible for developing the branding of our organization product (SmallTalks) as well as designing the user interface of our interactive roleplay game.

To design the logo, it started by some sketching on the paper, discussing them with my teammate, and transferring the chosen sketches into Adobe Illustrator. The reason why we chose the name “SmallTalks” is that our app focuses on small conversations between the user and the AI. With having these small talks, the user would then be able to break the barrier of having real time conversations with native speakers of that language.

The next step was to start sketching some potential wireframes for our app. I sketched some based on my research and the list of features that were necessary for our beta prototype. After discussing sketches with my team mate, I started the process of creating a mock-up of our app in Figma.

Features

Repeat Buttons: Our main focus of our app was to create an environment where language learners could focus on their listening and conversational skills. By providing the Repeat/Voice buttons the users are able to listen to what the AI is telling them as well as what they are supposed to say to proceed in the story.

Choose an Option: In order to give more authority to our users, we decided to include options at some points in the story. This would make our map more realistic and provides more flexibility for the users to proceed in the story based on their decision making.

Saved Stories: We decided to created a “Saved Stories” tab so that once we had more stories, the user could simply go to this section and have access to all of the phrases that they learned in each story.

Branding Materials

After designing the UI of SmallTalks, my teammate had to use Adobe XD in order to add the voice command feature in our app. The reason behind this was that Figma did not offer this action.

I was also involved in creating branding materials such as posters and the Japanese Phrase book that we gave out during our launch event. I designed both of these in Adobe Illustrator using the same branding that I created for the SmallTalks app.

The purpose of creating posters was to spread them throughout SFU campuses to create awareness about our launch event.

Event Poster

Product Poster

The Japanese Phrase book included 5 most commonly used phrases in Japanese. We decided to create theĀ  Japanese Phrase book and give them to people who tried SmallTalks during our event to extend the experience that we wanted to created for our users.

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Using Webflow, we created a one page website that included all the information needed to know about our product. After our launch event, people could go on our website and sign up for our future updates. Here is the link.

Walkthrough

Here is a walkthrough of SmallTalks.

Results & Takeaways

In this project, I learned a lot about the process of iterative design, launching a start-up business, and how to come up with a scalable business model. On a personal level, now I understand what my values and interests are and what I am passionate about. Last but not least, I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge about the business side of things and how to bring out your design out in the real world.

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