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Role: Product Designer
Time: 2 Weeks - Ongoing
Skills: Visual Design, Interaction Design, Design Thinking, UX Research, Prototyping
Tools: Figma, Google Forms
Language learners who look to improve their reading comprehension outside of the classroom have
a difficult time reading passages uninterrupted, and have to access third parties to follow
best learning practises.
My solution seamlessly and conveniently integrates proven learning techniques to improve reading comprehension for several types of learners. I have designed a robust Chrome Extension which supplements reading, accompanied with a web application to reinforce learning.
Language learners had no way of conveniently improving their reading comprehension
All of the users I interviewed and surveyed looked towards media without in-built language learning support, like books and news outlets, to improve their comprehension. I knew I had to design a tool that integrated into Language Learners' existing reading routines. From the media identified, I knew a Chrome extension with an accompanying app would be the best way to integrate my solution.
What kinds of Language Learners am I designing for?
Who and Why?
Using my background knowledge from different language learning communities, my experience as a French Tutor, as well as my User Interviews, I was able to define two archetypes I had to design for. The tool had to be simple enough for those who read passages simply to understand, but powerful enough for those who are more rigorous in their approach.
I consulted educational institutions and educator material to identify the different kinds of learners, where readers get their material, and the most effective way of learning reading comprehension. Preview, review, pattern recognition, and background knowledge are fundamental concepts in reading comprehension and learning, and I knew I had to include these learning strategies in my tool.
Integrating pattern recognition before, during, and after reading
Using my existing knowledge, I knew I had to include a preview of the reading prior to the reader beginning, pattern recognition cues when readers come across unknown text, as well as repetition and replication of these patterns during and after reading.
Using my research, my user flows, as well as keeping the problem and the goal in mind, I sketched out what the rough interactions and information hierarchy would look like when reading, as well as interacting with the dashboard.
Using effective, convenient, and intuitive learning techniques to supplement reading
Readers have the option to preview a reading before starting, giving them an idea of what they know already, and what they might learn while reading. This allows for readers to prime their focus. Once selecting words or phrases Language Learners are not sure about, they can listen to the word, and read where they have read and understood the word before before seeing a translation, reinforcing essential pattern making strategies.
Reinforcing learning by revision and progress tracking
The web application, dashboard, and progress tracker, allows Language Learners to define and meet goals, while getting concrete evidence that their learning strategies are working with notifications of improvements in readers' learning using historical data.
Revision using pattern matching techniques to enhance readers knowledge
Repetition and revision, as well as using various pattern matching techniques allow for Language Learners to learn vocabulary and phrases using intuition and context rather than rote memorisation. Listening, paraphrasing, and "throwbacks" to previous readings are all effective means of improving reading comprehension for many kinds of learners.
What I've learned
As a lover of languages, a longtime French tutor, and a polyglot, this was an amazing project to work on. I was able to effictively and intuitively integrate methods of improving reading comprehension and learning without using rote memorisation, creating a tool that was effective for dedicated and casual learners. I was also able to learn a lot about designing for education, furthering my passion for accessible education.
Moving forward, I would like to improve the way that Language Learners can track their progress in a way that motivates them to keep reading as well as improve the functionality and visual design of the product.