Duolingo interface study & improvement design

Personal Project as part of my Octalysis level 1 certificate application.

Duolingo’s mission is to giving everyone access to a private tutor experience through technology.  I have improved the design with a system for providing personal interests such as hobbies. This enables a personalized path of learning language, such as themed exercises. This helps the user see the usability of their new skills, and to start practicing their new knowledge in real life faster. Knowing they will learn about something they care about further increases the motivational drives of curiosity and relatedness

Hobby-select-lvl1sculpture-hallAbove: Hobby selection feature and example of dialogue impact.

Today, any user can view other people’s profile and see their streak, level & XP, but only if they are added to that user’s personal leaderboard. The user’s motivation to interact with new people could be increased if profiles were visible to everyone sharing a group. Especially if the users were encouraged to share a brief introduction, and display their hobbies on the profile page as well. This design would give other members of the group ice breakers to initiate conversation. Increased social interaction leads to a more engaging experience.

Currently, any language the user has completed a basic course in is listed on their profile page as a medal, displaying the level and XP.  If the medals instead were to be earned and improved through leveling up, the user would feel more proud over the display and be motivated to make it look more impressive to others.

Hobby-selection-medalAbove: More extensive profile with an improved medal system.

About half of duolingos revenue depend on people supporting their mission through making in-app purchases such as premium membership or “streak repairs” (Restores the number of unbroken days of meeting your study goal). To increase people’s sense of higher meaning they can include short stories from people who have benefitted from duolingo and made great progress in their life. These should be placed in relation to the purchase option

CD1addstreakAbove: Personal story connected to purchase option.

To help users who won’t make that purchase continue using the app without going through burnout or procrastination to start a new streak, a version utilizing the user’s effort and consumable points could be designed. “Reviving Spell” could be purchased for x coins the day after losing a streak. After the purchase, the user starts a “spell streak”, ranging from 3-5 days. If the user successfully completes the spell streak, the old streak is revived (spell streak days are not added to the total. This is to hold up motivation to not skip days and to keep the streak restore purchase option tempting).

RevivingspellAbove: illustration of streak repair option and its placement in the experience.

Duolingo is trying to create more ways for the user to spend “gems”, an in-app currency earned for meeting set goals. There are currently, apart from boosters, some novelty items that can be bought for gems, such as two outfits for the mascot to wear. This could be made into a more motivating feature if reaching set levels in a specific language unlocked outfits for duo, which then could be purchased in the shop for gems.

duooutfitAbove: Example of an unlocked outfit.

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