November, 2017 – now

Speekify – language learning online service

Speekify is an online service for people who want to speak a foreign language with fluency and confidence.

MVP was made by me and two friends of mine – Roman Smirnov and Denis Lukyanov – in three month in evenings and weekends. We had a plan to launch it in such short time and we handled it with a delay of just two weeks. Have every reason to be proud :) So let's talk about the project itself and my part in it.
My part
My part is the web application and iOS app design – everything from UX to visual design and illustrations and customer research as well.
A fragment of the Speekify landing page
Our users are mostly well educated women, who got used to work with online services. They know Facebook and Twitter, used to learn language with Duolingo or something similar.

They don't want to be bored with grammar lessons, have little free time to learn and need a clear solution that will deliver value, feels modern, fun and joyful.

That's why the firm style is coloured, clean and joyful. App interface contains a lot of illustrations, big buttons and short text captions.
Mobile first
This is my first project fully made mobile first and I really love this approach. Thing is when you design mobile first you leave only important stuff on the screen. You don't make sidebars, columns, two-levels menus and so on. You just show the user what he needs right now and nothing else.

Then when you migrate the design to the desktop it looks perfect – nothing extra, a lot of air, one CTA button, clear and simple.
Speekify is designed with the "mobile first" approach
Speekify mechanics
After a user signed up he gets a series of lessons. Each lesson contains an original audio track divided into phrases and a user should repeat it fragments by fragment.

Then he moves to the next step, where he makes a recording and Speekify automatically reviews it and tells whether it is similar to the original audio or not.

I divided user's workflow into 4 steps: listen and repeat; record; send for review; listen side-by-side with the original track. On each step a user has only one CTA button and can do only one action – listen, record or send. I've also made big buttons to make it easy for users to understand what to do right now.
First paper prototype of a learning process
Final version of lesson steps: listen and repeat, record, send for review, listen
A user can return to the previous step to train more or to re-record. But this action is secondary, so the "Back" buttons are less visible than CTA buttons.

A project seems to be tiny but my Sketch file contains 56 screens already. And it's only the MVP so far.
Project "Speekify" in Sketch. 56 screens so far
Recordings review
When a user sends his recording for review, Speekify estimates it in percents – how much the pronunciation is similar to the original audio track. It a percentage is more than 70% Speekify gives the user a reward – medal, cup or diamond. This stuff is very engaging. Users try to make recordings better in order to get a diamond.
Lesson estimation icons: medal, cup and a diamond.
Estimation icons are a starting point for gamification. I'm going to add achievements, labels or other game mechanics to involve users deeply into a learning process.
From the very beginning, I wanted to make Speekify friendly and tell our users, we are close to them and open for communication. So I made informal texts, used emoji and made quite a lot illustrations on the application and landing page: intro screens, congrats pages, "enough for today" screen, error 404 page etc.
Speekify has many illustrations inside
What's next
A lot of work actually :)

Users show a lot of interest, but we have some issues and huge backlog as well. We need to improve users' engagement and retention, set up onboarding process, solve technical issues, figure out how to explain training method features, make an iOS app and so on.

Anyway, I'm extremely happy and excited about the project. It solves real users' problems, helps people to become more confident and fluent. The app is clean and friendly, users understand quite well how to use it. We get a vivid feedback and have a lot of fun in the process.
Olga Shavrina
Product UX designer
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