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Voice Assistant for Practicing New Languages
Voice UX
Conversational Design
Speed Dating
Ruchi Ookalkar
Pallavi Benawri
Sonali Tandon
1st in Student Design Competition
UXPA 2018
Chattie is a voice-based companion for practicing conversations in new languages. Having real-world conversation is commonly recognized as very helpful and useful way in language learning. We designed voice interface on a smart speaker to be used in practicing conversation in a new language. It is like an always-available person to talk to, and it allows users to utilize small pieces of time to learn.


Design Process

User Research

In the initial user research phrase, we explored possibilities of using smart speaker to help language learning.
We created affinity wall out of interview notes.
Click to see the document
Key findings:
Recollection is a common pain in language learning.
Learners imply an ideal tool should be up for convenience
Correction features are valued in language learning tools
Voice interface did well in routine tasks
Based on the analysis, we decided to target:

Competitive Analysis

Aiming to address the pains in persona, we did competitive analysis on:
Language learning tools, combined with comments we gathered from survey data
Learning strategies that our target user created themselves when they learn or practice speaking.
Two major decisions we made after analyzing the existing solutions:
Design practical scenarios for users to practice conversation. High chance of being used in real life would encourage users to learn, and it helps them memorizing through practices.
Example answers can be a good starting point to inspire users, provide a vocabulary base, as most users mentioned their successful experience in learning from other’s talking or movie/tv scenes.

Design Chattie

Instead of teaching that are common in most traditional language learning tools, we want to take advantage of VUI in helping learners practicing speaking, focus our design on eliciting conversations
When we designed the conversation flow, we had many rounds of speed dating tests with users, to come up with a set of questions that encourage users to speak more, and continue with the conversation.
Several language learners mentioned that asking friends about the meaning of a word/phrase, and how it is often used, is very helpful, as they think such answers are more contextual and less robotic than searching results. Accordingly, we design Chattie to be like a companion who answer language-related questions promptly, meanwhile help noting the questions for revision.
With the collected user data over time, conversing with a smart speaker can go beyond practicing with a language buddy. Smart machine can detect how much the speaking is deviating from a predicted sentence. Individual user’s pronouncing pattern can be learned and compared to correct accent.