Mobile language-learning app

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Create an app that uses  location (restaurant, work, etc.)  to help people learn Mandarin. We used a Foursquare API to prompt people for their location and then showed them relevant  flashcards to reinforce learning and encourage them to use the vocabulary when out and about.


  • Based on in situ interviews in Beijing and Seattle, decided native English speakers in China would benefit the most from an in-context language learning app.
  • In 8 weeks, our team wireframed and coded the app, and then kicked off month-long field research phase.
  • Based on data from app use, we determined that the design prompting users to learn and use words in context helped them learn more words than learning without context.

Ran the field studies, analyzed the results, wireframed the entire app (Balsamiq), contributing author on CHI paper (2011)

app demo

Axure prototype available by request