Speakwell

Leveraging AI technology to revolutionize
the language learning experience.

I am working on making this site sparkle on mobile too! For now, enjoy the full experience on desktop.

I am working on making this site sparkle on mobile too! For now, enjoy the full experience on desktop.

Interested in learning a new language? Research suggests that immersing yourself in the language's environment accelerates learning. Speakwell bridges this gap by bringing the language environment to you.

My Role

UX/UI

Tools

Figma

Photoshop

After Effects

Premiere Pro

Mentor

Fred McHale

The Problem

Learning a language, I expected to speak like a local, only to realize I sounded nothing like one. Traditional teaching methods didn't prepare me for real-life conversations. Despite 7 years of Spanish classes, all I could say was, "No hablo español."


Transitioning to life in Brazil, France, and Spain, I had to learn the local languages. I discovered that genuine fluency came through immersion with native speakers. Interacting daily with locals not only honed my language skills but also deepened my understanding of their cultures, providing a richer learning experience. I embarked on a mission to address this challenge by creating ways to replicate the cultural immersion experience.

Lost in translation?

Ideation and Concept

To truly learn a language, immerse yourself in the culture, engaging with locals. Unlike apps that mimic social media's quick-fix dopamine hits, genuine learning occurs through real-life interactions. Speaking to the AI generated local allows you to observe their reactions, speech patterns, and pronunciation, aiding in deeper understanding and retention of language.

The Research Process and Findings

I began by distributing a questionnaire to individuals interested in learning languages, including both beginners and those proficient in multiple languages, where I gained valuable insights into the challenges learners face. Conducting in-person interviews further deepened my understanding of the language learning experience, providing valuable insights into the needs and preferences of users.

Research indicates that learners who engage in regular conversations
with native speakers retain vocabulary 62% better than those who rely
solely on traditional methods.

Studies suggest that language learners who practice speaking with
native speakers experience a 47% increase in confidence compared
to those who do not.

Immersion

It's a highly effective language learning method, involving full engagement in the target language environment through interactions with native speakers, exposure to language-rich content, or living abroad for a period.

— Yale University

Association

Associating new words to what you already know helps in language learning by improving recall and understanding. This creates connections between old and new knowledge, making learning more efficient.

— Yale University

Let's look at what exists.

How are people learning languages?

Competitors in the language learning industry span various platforms, apps, software, and traditional institutions. Notable among them are Anki App, which aids in vocabulary retention through spaced repetition, HelloTalk, facilitating language exchange with native speakers, and language learning centers, offering structured courses with expert guidance. Each competitor offers distinct approaches tailored to different learning styles and preferences.

Duolingo

Duolingo encourages completing daily 5-10 minute lessons to maintain a streak. However, speaking to a bird lacks naturalness, while its speech recognition feature often fails to accurately interpret pronunciation, both critical in language learning.

Anki

Anki's intuitive flashcard system permits easy customization of study materials, fostering efficient vocabulary retention through spaced repetition. Yet, the repetitive nature of flashcards may induce "TDS" (tiredness due to similarity) over time for some users.

HelloTalk

HelloTalk boasts a vast user base and interactive community, facilitating language exchange with native speakers globally. Its user-friendly interface enables easy conversation initiation and skill practice. Yet, the free version's requirement for language teaching in exchange and the paid version's cost for professional tutors are potential drawbacks.

language Learning Centers

Language learning centers offer structured curricula led by experienced instructors, fostering interactive learning environments. However, they can be costly and inflexible, with fixed schedules and potential limitations in accessibility and group dynamics.

Persona

“I want to be able to sound less robotic when I speak
to locals, it would boost my confidence”

My Story

Since relocating to Amsterdam, I've been delving into learning Dutch. Understanding others and engaging in conversations? That's proven to be trickier than I expected. Despite experimenting with various methods—apps, classes, you name it—I still feel like I haven't quite cracked the code. But I'm not about to give up. I'm determined to keep at it until I'm speaking fluently with confidence.

Needs

  • Encouraging Environment.

  • Immediate Feedback.

  • Cultural Awareness.

Frustrations

  • Struggling to hold conversations.

  • Challenges in comprehending fast speakers.

  • Intimidation from public failure.

Paper

Lo Fidelity

High Fidelity

Final

Testing Iterations

I conducted multiple rounds of testing, starting with a low-fidelity prototype and progressing through several high-fidelity versions. Feedback and critique were crucial, guiding minor adjustments after each round. Further testing confirmed the effectiveness of these changes, resulting in a well-optimized final product.

Let's Dive Into the Testing Process

Language Setup

Initially, the setup included a lengthy summary of user profile, making changes cumbersome. Following testing, input fields were consolidated into grouped questions, streamlining setup and highlighting essential information.

Before, the interest section provided recommendations that might not align perfectly with users since the AI lacked information about them. Now, a plus button allows users to add interests that truly reflect their preferences.

Initially, the setup page featured a cross button, suggesting task cancellation and screen closure. Now, a Continue button indicates task completion and user satisfaction with the conversation setup process.

Home


Initially, the home page featured separate sections for different aspects of language learning, following outdated methods that were proven ineffective. However, after the redesign, a card-based layout was introduced, effectively organizing main language learning areas, enhancing the learning experience.

The removal of the Speech bubble eliminated unnecessary distractions, allowing for more focus on relevant learning areas.

Users previously encountered confusion when attempting to add or switch between languages. To address this a card in the top left corner displays the current language and its purpose. Tapping this card opens a menu, granting users access to language settings or the option to add new languages.

Previously, the Explore button was located at the bottom of the screen, often going unnoticed by users despite its importance to the learning experience. Additionally, all crucial learning methods initially found on the Explorer page were moved to the home page to ensure easy access for users.

Virtual Friend

Previously, the interface lacked clarity, implying conversations ended permanently with a cross button; now, a dropdown button fosters ongoing interaction with the Virtual friend. Uncertainty about saved conversations was addressed with a "save to Audio Vault" notification, ensuring users know where to access past chats. Emphasizing the Virtual friends importance, its size was increased, with larger mouth movements helping with pronunciation, while the text box now displays only displays current dialogue.

Audio Vault

Initially tucked away inside an explore page despite being a core function, the Audio Vault is where conversations are saved for later listening, but its initial design lacked detailed information, only displaying the conversation length and a play button. After testing, the play button was removed and each card is now clickable and displays only relevant information such as name, date, and the length of conversation. A "New" label indicates recordings that have not been opened yet.


On the play page, the transcript is now the main focus, with play controls repositioned and unnecessary distractions removed. The transcript highlights the current sentence for improved comprehension, streamlining the user experience.

Let's explore how SpeakWell assists you
throughout your language learning journey.

This is where it begins

Setup Language Preferences

The app opens to a setup assistant asking about your desired languages and usage intentions. After answering additional personal questions, you're presented with a categorized summary for review and editing. Pressing "Continue" generates personalized content based on your preferences.

Welcome to SpeakWell

The home screen is your gateway to an exciting world of language learning adventures! Dive into daily conversations, unlock audio lessons, immerse yourself in rich cultural insights, and discover popular content. With your virtual friend by your side and the freedom to switch between language profiles, the possibilities are endless!

Who better to teach you than a native?

Virtual friend

A virtual friend enables real-time conversational practice, fostering speaking and listening skills conveniently. It offers instant feedback on pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, aiding improvement. Adapted to user proficiency and preferences, it provides personalized challenges and content. Additionally, it can simulate a range of accents and dialects, exposing learners to diverse linguistic variations.

Live transcript

This is crucial as it provides immediate visual reinforcement of what is being said, aiding in comprehension, especially for visual learners. It also allows learners to see the correct spelling and structure of words and sentences, helping with vocabulary and grammar.

Phrases for daily usage

Everyday Conversations

This section offers practical application by simulating real-life scenarios. The conversation topics are generated based on learning goals and interests of the user. This helps with comprehension and retention, while also honing listening skills by exposing users to native speakers' pronunciations.

Listen and Learn

Audio Vault

The Audio Vault is an accumulation of all the conversations had with the virtual friend, but it's not merely a repository of dialogues. Instead, the AI converts these interactions into personalized lessons, storing them for future reference. This feature allows users to listen to lessons on the go or while engaging in other activities. Moreover, users can read the transcripts alongside the audio, enhancing comprehension and retention.

Embrace the Local Culture

Culture zone

The Culture Zone section enhances learning by deepening understanding of humor, idioms, and slangs, fostering authentic communication. Exploring do's and don'ts reduces unintentional offenses, while delving into customs and facts sparks curiosity and empathy. This integration cultivates both language proficiency and cultural competence for confident cross-cultural interactions. Who better than a native from the area to teach you about their culture?

Discover Local Gems

Discovery den

This provides engaging language learning with popular content like music, podcasts, TV shows, movies, and books. The "For You" section delves deeper into specific interests, providing recommendations based on users' hobbies and passions. It equips them with conversational topics and icebreakers, enabling meaningful interactions with others.

Key Takeaways

Interviews with both past and current language learners provided critical

insights into their needs and preferences. Learning from their experiences,

I shaped the app's features to ensure a tailored and engaging user experience.

User testing was crucial in refining the app. It revealed usability issues and

validated feature utility. Iterative testing allowed continuous improvement,

leading to a polished, user-centered product.

Future Prospects

With increased resources, prioritizing the integration of interactive language challenges into the app could foster a global community of learners, offering enjoyable practice and healthy competition while tracking progress.


The app could offer immersive VR and AR experiences for users to explore iconic locations and cultural activities, deepening their understanding and appreciation of the culture, alongside exclusive content collaborations with local artists.

Get in touch

Get in touch

Get in touch