Activity redesign

Embark's "Type or Say" feature underwent a redesign after usability testing revealed significant inefficiencies, leading to a streamlined interface that improved user experience.

Activity redesign

Embark's "Type or Say" feature underwent a redesign after usability testing revealed significant inefficiencies, leading to a streamlined interface that improved user experience.

Activity redesign

Embark's "Type or Say" feature underwent a redesign after usability testing revealed significant inefficiencies, leading to a streamlined interface that improved user experience.

TL;DR

Embark's "Type or Say" feature underwent a redesign following user testing that highlighted significant usability issues. By observing missionaries perform specific tasks, inefficiencies were identified and the interface was simplified. Testing the new design with 8 missionaries demonstrated a 50% reduction in task completion time, markedly enhancing user efficiency and overall experience.

Impact

50% Reduction in Task Completion Time

Demonstrates the substantial efficiency gains achieved through the redesign.

Background

Embark is a language-learning app used by LDS Missionaries. In Embark, the "Type or Say'' activity lets users practice typing or speaking words they are learning. This project came to be when there were some user complaints about this feature. After looking into these complaints I found other issues that led to a full redesign.

Goal

The goal was to find and fix the usability issues in this feature. This would improve the missionary learning experience.

Research

We conducted testing to identify existing design problems in Type or Say. Testing involved common tasks like typing or speaking answers. Observations revealed a cluttered interface and awkward interactions. Specific issues were identified in both typing and speaking modes:

Issues identified

Typing Issue

Users had difficulty closing the letter bank due to the lack of visual cues, hindering the transition back to the keyboard.

Typing Issue

Users had difficulty closing the letter bank due to the lack of visual cues, hindering the transition back to the keyboard.

Speaking Issue #1

Tapping the microphone button showed another microphone button for recording. This was confusing and added unnecessary steps.

Speaking Issue #1

Tapping the microphone button showed another microphone button for recording. This was confusing and added unnecessary steps.

Speaking Issue #2

It was difficult to compare your answer with the correct answer because of the unclear layout.

Speaking Issue #2

It was difficult to compare your answer with the correct answer because of the unclear layout.

Usage survey

As part of my research, I also wanted to investigate missionaries' answering habits. I sent a survey to 50 missionaries. I wanted to find which answering methods they used most and how often they would switch between them.

Usage

there was roughly a 60/40 split, with typing being the most common answering method.

Usage

there was roughly a 60/40 split, with typing being the most common answering method.

Answer methods

users did not frequently change their answering methods. They would typically select one method and use it for the majority of the questions.

Answer methods

users did not frequently change their answering methods. They would typically select one method and use it for the majority of the questions.

Design

Brainstorming

The process began with sketching and wire framing initial ideas. Currently all the controls for typing and speaking are shown on the same page. One idea we kept coming back to was splitting typing or saying into 2 modes you could switch between. This was based on user behavior from our research and allowed for a  simpler interface.

Rough initial sketch of the new concept.

Testing

The design was tested with 8 missionaries at the MTC using the same testing method as before. This direct comparison revealed significant usability improvements. Based on the second test, there was a 50% reduction in the time it took users to complete key feature tasks

But, it also brought to light one point that was still confusing.

Name confusion

The name of the letter bank. In response, we renamed the "Show Letters" button to "Show Letter Bank". Upon retesting this cleared up the confusion.

Name confusion

The name of the letter bank. In response, we renamed the "Show Letters" button to "Show Letter Bank". Upon retesting this cleared up the confusion.

Solution

Splitting answer method

Separated Typing vs Saying to better align with user's usage and allow a more focused interface for each.

Current design with both answer methods on same page (Left). Updated design with split modes (Right).

Typing improvments

Letterbank improvements

Improved the transition between the letter bank and keyboard for a smoother experience.

The updated design (right) added a clearer way to switch between the keyboard and letter bank.

Speaking improvments

Microphone

Removed the redundant microphone for recording and streamlined the interface.

Before (Left), After (Right)

Compare improvement

Made it easier to compare answers.

Streamlined the comparing answer process into one card (Right)

Conclusion

This redesign successfully addressed usability issues, simplifying the "Type or Say" activity and improving the overall user experience. Through detailed research, thoughtful design adjustments, and thorough user testing, we were able to streamline the interface, resulting in a more intuitive and efficient experience for users.