english learning product design

Product design | Interaction design | UX Research

project type

Innovative incubator project

my role

Lead UX designer


project brief

This is a project I worked on at Educational Testing Service. As our company starts to expand its horizon in language learning territory, 10-12 years-old learners in China were set as the initial target user for my team to explore, as well as to understand their needs and the opportunity for our company.

My roles

As the lead UX designer of this project, I worked in a cross-functional agile team. My main contributions include:

  • Defined UX strategy and worked closely with product people to make sure UX strategy aligned with product vision
  • Worked collaboratively with other roles to design and facilitate design sprint to help the whole team ideate and make design decisions to move the project forward
  • Worked with UX researcher to define strategy for international recruiting
  • Worked with UX researcher to conduct UX research study and analyze qualitative data to understand the needs of learners, teachers, and parents

initial challenge

Very little is known about this target user group. As no user recruitment channel has been set up yet, my team had a hard time recruiting users to talk to.

the approach

Worked closely with the lead UX researcher on the team, we tried to recruit users through our friends and family in China. We also connected with a subsidiary company in China and asked them to post recruitment surveys on their social media account.

However, we still cannot get enough users.

To gather enough data to inform design decisions, I proposed a journey mapping co-design method (i) to understand Chinese English teachers' journey and experience and (ii) to help my team identify a specific opportunity within our problem space to design for.

rising challenge

With more information gathered about the users, it was time for the whole team to sit together and design concepts. For a language learning product to succeed, we need to involve language learning experts, instructional designers, natural language processing experts to make sure the concepts not only meet learners' needs from a user experience perspective but also are effective in helping learners improve English skills.

How might we make the group design thinking process efficient and effective?

the approach

We decided to hold a 6-day virtual design sprint to make informed design decisions within a short time frame. The design sprint was designed in a way that:

  • Allow all stakeholders to get familiar with user data
  • Identify the key problem we want to solve
  • Ideate and create storyboards that we can later use to test with users

Through multiple workshops, our team generated an experience map for each persona, and write how this persona would interact and benefit from our solution in a storyboard.

The outcome of the design sprint is an end-to-end concept and three storyboards represent the user flows for the three personas. We then tested storyboards with real users.

my impact

Because our company later shift priorities, this project was discontinued. The following are some of my impacts:

  • Data and information collected in this project helped our company make the decision to shift its business focus.
  • Facilitated a successful design sprint. We were invited to give a presentation to designers in other teams about our process of planning and executing the design sprint.
  • I set up templates on Confluence and played a leading role in documenting UX research and design activities. These documentations helped onboarding new team members and were later used as template in other projects.