Redesigning Duolingo for Intermediate Language Learners
Timeline: 1 week
My Roles: UX Designer, UI Designer
Skills: Wireframing, Prototyping
Tools: Duolingo’s Design System, Adobe XD
Disclaimer: This project was completed as a component of a design challenge for an application; Duolingo is not a client or employer in any way.
How might I introduce a more inclusive entry point to Duolingo for intermediate language learners?
problem statement: placement tests miss the mark for a niche of language learners
Duolingo is a resource for users looking to learn a new language, but those who already have intermediate skills may find it limiting. To explore this further, I signed up for Duolingo as if I was a first-time user.
These screenshots highlight Duolingo’s current onboarding process for users who already speak some Japanese.
The placement test and test-out options help beginners bypass simple skills like learning the alphabet, but already-intermediate language learners who are looking to continue practicing may desire more personalized placement tests. For example, some language learners have better listening skills than speaking skills, or better reading skills than writing skills. How might I introduce a more inclusive entry point to Duolingo for intermediate language learners?
proposed solution: additional points of entry for intermediate speakers
If Duolingo offers additional points of entry for intermediate speakers, then they will cater to a niche of users who typically have to wade through repetitive skill levels. I envisioned a more detailed placement process that is tailored toward these intermediate learners. This would widen Duolingo’s user base by incentivizing users beyond the beginner level to turn to Duolingo as a language learning platform.
process: sketches, wireframes, prototypes
My processes begins in my sketchbook, which is mainly filled with writing and some simple sketches of user flows.
My next step was to create low-fidelity wireframes to get an idea of the flow of the interface.
Using the Duolingo design system, I created high-fidelity mockups and linked them together. This clickable prototype has several different paths in the user flow, demonstrating use cases for intermediate learners with or without previous coursework in the language.
The final step of the interaction incorporates gamification to gauge the user’s skill level on different components of fluency. Users self-report their skill level in a handful of categories to inform what kind of questions the user receives in the placement test. The categories are based on existing Duolingo skills and a few of my own ideas for essential fluency like “giving directions” and “telling time.”
The final prototype walks through two example user flows.
With this new on-boarding process concept, users are presented with a more accurate placement test so they can fast-forward through too-easy skills and get straight to lessons at a more appropriate level. While Duolingo’s target audience are those hoping to learn languages, a lot of people get their start elsewhere, and are looking for tools to help them maintain and grow their fluency. Adding more personalized entry-points for advanced learners makes Duolingo a prime platform to continue language education.