ILISTEN

PROJECT OVERVIEW

IListen is a text-to-speech converting app. What makes this app different from competitive apps is that IListen includes a camera/scan feature which allows users to take photos of texts directly from any books and convert them to audible format.   

TOOLS USED

Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, Marvel

MY ROLES
  • Concept development
  • User Research
  • User Testing
  • UX, UI

TARGET USERS
  • Students
  • Professionals

*Project time frame: 3 weeks

THE PROBLEM 

Many people struggle to finish their reading assignments on time. 

  •        Hard to find time
  •        Heavy to carry books

Existing apps do not offer flexible file types, which make them difficult to use, resulting in dissatisfaction.

HOW THESE CHALLENGES WERE APPROACHED

In this project, my main focus was the user research and testings. It is not only to validate the functions but also to check if users’ behaviour improved. The diagram below shows is the key features based on the findings from the user research. 

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS 

The main goal of this process was to conduct user tests of the competing apps and identify the frustrating points. A total of five apps were downloaded but only two apps are shown below because they were quite similar in functions and design. These two apps represent the other three apps. 

APP1: Natural Read

APP2: Voice Reader 

This app was quite interesting to use as it provides a various options in preference setting such as speed control, voice setting, text size, and background color. And while listening, the location of reading can easily be changed by tapping any section. It is also easy to follow as it highlights the current location in the page. The user interface is simple and easy to use. However, there are a few things that could be improved after enough exploring. There are two ways to use this app: loading contents from the web or importing documents. Loading content from a web page was easy to use, however, it was difficult to follow because it could not recognize when there was more than two columns. For importing documents, users have to login to OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive to import documents. This means users are required to have an account in any of these sources. Also, this app can open files only from the following formats: .pdf, .epub, .txt, .doc and .docx, .rtf, and .ppt. 

 

This app converts PDF files into audio. It is very simple and easy to use, and there are three ways to upload pdf files (Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud). A few things could be improved after some testing. Unlike the other apps, this app does not provide any preference settings other than speed control and language. Voice is set to one person which sounds like a robot. After listening a few times, I gave up. Also, the main screen instruction are unclear. It says “Long press to call the action menu." However, nothing happened when I followed that instruction

INTERVIEWS 

Not many apps were available for thorough research, so user interviews were necessary to gain a better understanding of the user challenges. A total of four people were interviewed, two students and two professionals. After some key questions asked, I provided a blank timeline sheet, asked them to pick their typical busiest day of the week, and write down their activities and their pain points. We spent much time discussing their pain points and some possible solutions to their challenges. 

KEY INSIGHTS 

  • Their common struggles are as follow:
    • Find time to read during the day.
    • Come home after 7-8pm, weekdays
    • Carrying books is difficult
    • Behind reading schedule
    • Anxious to complete reading tasks

  • Three out of four of them said that they have tried similar apps in the past, however, deleted shortly after because:
    • Too much storage space used
    • Not accurate
    • Have to convert files into specific file formats for uploading
    • Take too long to upload
    • Could not take notes while listening

*The chart below is the timeline sheet provided by the interviewees.

CARD SORTING

I began the process of flushing out ideas utilizing a card sorting method to summarize the findings from the user research. 

Then another card sorting followed by ideating possible features. The blue lines on the left show how user pain points could be solved through using the app and the red lines on the right show how our positive concepts of using the actual book could be replaced by some key features of the app. 

TESTING

After the card sorting process, they were translated into low fidelity composition. Then user testing was conducted with the user research group. 

From user testing, I realized that their concern is that it’s hard to take notes while using the app. Three out of four people commented that the main reason why they would still consider carrying their book is because they can highlight and take notes. Also, the sign up process was too long which was not necessary. Based on the feedback received, different iterations of sitemaps, user flow, wireframes, and prototypes were constructed and continuously tested.

As a result, the sign up process was cut down from two steps to one simple step with minimum information required. Also, note taking and highlighting features are implemented. Their notes can be shared or downloaded.

In order to avoid copyright infringement, files will be automatically deleted after three days. Users can set reminder frequency so that they can be reminded and feel pressure to complete the reading assignments on time.

SOME OF THE KEY FEATURES INCLUDED 

LOGIN | SIGNUP 

PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS

  • Complicated login process -> Reduced from two steps to one step

CONVERT TEXT TO AUDIO | NOTETAKING 

PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS

  • How to upload?  ->  Accepts various file types, including uploading photos
  • Highlights and note taking  ->  Users can highlight and take notes while listening. These notes can be saved or shared
  • Preference setting  ->  Gender, voice types, and playback speed can be adjusted