• Playful and authentic

In terms of language education, the diversity of Switzerland offers great possibilities that are not fully exploited. I chose to embrace this opportunity and imagined "QUIS", an application that would support what students learn in school and would allow them to practice on their own. It connects people together and offers more authenticity and motivation when learning foreign languages.

Based on the "Who am I?" game. Users can choose from different categories like animals, people or places and the application then matchs two learners together depending on their mothertongue, the language to practice and their level. It also attributes a word to guess to each player, from the category choosen. The two participants have to ask questions, preferably in the foreign language, to guess what they are. It offers a space where they can freely talk with someone of their age and develop strategies to express themselves.

  • The Application

In order to enhance the experience, the application contains different elements of gamification. There is a reward system, with challenges to fulfill and cards to collect. Cards represent words of the different categories, with a decription and information in the foreign language and its traduction. It can be won by playing or in the store with the points gained while achieving some challenges. Users have acess to their weekly performances and can test their language level at any time.

They also have the possibility to create their own community from the random players ditributed by the app. They can chat and build a deeper relationship with those friends, play live again, or play by texting. Actually as Switzerland is a rather small country they could also easily meet and travel together to discover other parts of the territory.

  • Programmation

To test and validate my concept I mostly used skype to connect two people together. However in order to push it further I programmed a webpage with the help of a developper. This webpage represents the basic fonctionnalities of my mobile application concept and allowed me to test my idea further. It connects two people together via a matching system and contains all the game mechanics needed to play: words ditribution, validation of answers, feedback and the possibility to replay.

To develop it we used node.js and the library peer.js for the connection and interaction between the two players as well as php for the data library. The library is used for images and words to guess and for the matching of different users together. The matching is made with a system of queue which depends of the criteria choosen: mother-tongue and language to practice. Once matched each peer gets its own communication channel.

  • Research

I did some field research and interviews in order to situate my project in the Swiss context and to define what actions I could offer as a designer to enhance the language learning experience. Based on the information I gathered about the swiss education system, teaching methodologies and diverse student experiences, I decided to focus on the student's side and how I could make their learning experience more tangible and authentic.

  • Prototype and user tests

With different prototypes and experiments I wanted to test my early findings. I wanted to materialize the gaps and the opportunities I had previously discovered during my desk research in workshops and experiments. These Workshops gave me the possibility to define a final idea and a final form of prototype more clearly. It lead me to know the right experiences people want by learning languages. And it allowed me to do iteration until reaching a final concept.

Those prototypes took the form of videos, online games with different group via skype, co-design sessions and wireframes. It confirmed my feeling that I should bring a fun component to break the actual feeling of duty when practicing a language. It also showed me that it did not need to be something really complexe. Finally, even if I was designing for students my concept was well adapted for the school environment and I could develop a bit more what could be the place of my project in such a context.