For many second-generation Cantonese speakers, conversing in the native language is a challenge. Due to living in an area where Cantonese is not the primary language, second-generation children often do not learn as much of the language in the first
place or gradually lose their language fluency as they grow up. This often results in being teased or looked down upon by older native Cantonese speakers, whether it be from family, relatives, or existing fluent speakers within their society.
Product Design — Research, Ideation, Visuals, Prototyping
Nov 2018 (1 month)
How might we encourage second-generation Cantonese speakers to build language fluency and empower them to converse with confidence?
CantoBuild is a Cantonese language improvement app specifically targeted at second-generation individuals who already have basic to moderate proficiency in speaking Cantonese. Users can increase their range of vocabulary through various language-learning activities, filling in language gaps and building the confidence they need to converse fluently. This solution is effective because it gamifies the process of learning language, using a method that is both time efficient and focused on producing a positive user experience.
Engage in daily activities that teach and test your Cantonese vocabulary. Start by choosing a topic of interest from the many different categories available. Then listen to the pronunciation of words from a native speaker, and complete the following exercises.
Stay motivated and complete at least 1 activity session each day to maintain your weekly streak.
PROGRESS TRACKING PROFILE
Track your language-learning progress by earning experience points after every activity session. There are 4 levels that can be attained, from junior to expert.
Every word you have learned is archived into your vocabulary collection for easy access. This is handy
for reviewing common vocabulary, finding your favourites, or even preparing for an upcoming social.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
I started by trying to find out more about the language issues second-generation Cantonese children face and what apps are currently available in the market. Through my findings, I was able to decide on how I would move forward.
For second-generation individuals of Chinese descent, there are many with varying levels of fluency in their native language, and very few that have attained equal fluency to their parents or fluency at the native level. For this reason, it is common for these individuals to be teased or looked down upon by native Chinese people for making grammatical mistakes or lacking the right vocabulary whilst conversing.
MARKET / TECHNOLOGY
Most mobile applications for learning Chinese target the more popular Mandarin dialect, rather than Cantonese dialect. Additionally, majority of the applications target non-native individuals trying to learn the language for the first time, rather than individuals who want to improve their native language.
Based on my research, I created a user persona to better understand the pain points/needs of the user.
Joyce Li was born a second-generation Canadian with Cantonese as her native language. She grew up learning and speaking English, and as a result, lacks confidence in speaking her native language. This is frustrating because she cannot fully articulate her thoughts with family, relatives, and other Cantonese speakers. While she can carry conversations, there is always some English word or idea in which she does not know the Cantonese translation. Additionally, as a busy student, she unfortunately does not have time to take additional Cantonese language classes.
User Persona Sketch
To figure out potential paths the user could take, I began mapping out the user flow. From the entry point to the exit, I wanted to know how the user might behave and how to best design the screens accordingly.
LOW, MID & HIGH FIDELITY MOCKUPS
Staring with low-fidelity wireframes, I did some rapid experimentation to test out the functionality of different screen layouts. I then moved onto mid-fidelity wireframes, working to solidify the structure and information architecture. Finally, I created high-fidelity mockups, focusing at the visual design, user interface and final content.
CHALLENGES & KEY TAKEAWAYS
The biggest challenge I had was mapping out and condensing content. I had one month to research, ideate and prototype the app, so I thought about how I could create a seamless experience despite not being able to design as many screens. I learned that creating a user-flow and working from low-fidelity to high-fidelity mockups was extremely useful. This allowed me to look closely at the screen flow and keep revising the structure until it produced a smooth transition between all screens.
If I were to revisit this project, I would conduct user testing sessions or user interviews to get live feedback of the experience of various users. I would also strengthen the final prototype by creating more visual indicators for active states and adding an alphabetical search bar under vocabulary collections to make it easier for users to find specific words they have learned once their collection has expanded.