01 — Overview
aur- , auro- [L. auris, ear] Prefix meaning ear, hearing.
Auro is a podcast and video app for language learners, offering a wide range of curated audiovisual content in their target language. By combining podcasts and videos, Auro provides a fun and casual platform for users to enhance their listening and comprehension skills. 
During the project's inception, I formulated its purpose by exploring key questions: 
How can I create an app that seamlessly integrates podcasts and videos in multiple languages? How can I enhance accessibility by incorporating transcripts and subtitles? Additionally, how can this app motivate language learners to break free from traditional textbooks and immerse themselves in their target language, regardless of their physical location?
02 — Process
The initial competitive analysis provided significant insights: 
• Apple Podcasts and Spotify emerged as the top podcast platforms, but language learners face difficulties in discovering content in languages other than their native language. Additionally, the lack of useful categorization hinders their learning experience. 
• Video streaming services like YouTube and Twitch offer a vast array of content in different languages, but the absence of subtitles or inaccurate automatic closed captioning poses challenges to accessibility. 
• Despite Audible's extensive collection of audiobooks in various languages, its subscription requirement and limited focus on language learners present drawbacks. To gain further understanding, I conducted surveys targeting users in the language learning communities of Reddit and Duolingo, specifically those already incorporating podcasts and videos into their learning routine. 
These surveys proved invaluable in uncovering user frustrations and providing insights into the pedagogical aspects of podcasts and videos in language learning. With the users' feedback, I placed greater emphasis on auditory accessibility to address the challenges faced by both deaf or hard of hearing users and the general user. Understanding that listening to a foreign language demands more effort, I aimed to mitigate discouragement among learners.
The user who benefits purely from auditory input (podcasts)

The user who benefits from visual cues (videos)

The findings from my research, along with the user personas and user flow studies, greatly influenced the app's structure. Existing podcast and video streaming apps like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube complicate the process of finding relevant content in foreign languages. Consequently, users who exclusively consume content in a non-English language may receive recommendations that do not align with their preferences. 
My objective was to create a seamless and satisfying experience for users to access content in their target language(s) while enhancing the language acquisition process. Moreover, I took it a step further by enabling users to easily search for any word within the transcript or closed captioning file while listening to their chosen content. They could then save those words to a flashcard deck and memorize them using a spaced repetition system (SRS).
Visual design
Given the abundance of podcast and video apps already available in the market, it was crucial for Auro to establish itself as a visually distinctive app, setting it apart from the competition. The design of the app's logo and icon harmonizes with the overall interface aesthetic, reinforcing the seamless integration of the interface and brand identity. This strategic approach strengthens Auro's position within the market. 
Maintaining a clean and minimal visual style posed a challenge, particularly when incorporating a significant amount of external content, such as podcast covers and video thumbnails. To address this, the solution was to ensure ample spacing throughout the app, striking a balance between the substantial presence of images and the use of white space to create a light and airy feel for the text.

High-fidelity wireframes

When they first open the app, the user selects the language/s they're studying, the topics they're interested in, an optional daily goal and concludes by picking out content suggested by Auro according to their level and preferences.
The homepage gives the user access to all their saved content, previously listened/watched content, as well as letting them pick up where they left off. The user can switch between languages and/or types of content with the tap of a button. 
Auro's algorithm would favor podcasts with a transcript or videos that subtitles written by a human on YouTube when generating recommendations so that accessibility remains a top priority.
When listening or watching, the user always has access to the transcript or captions, and can tap on any word to access a quick definition, or to add to a flashcard deck.
Auro's flashcard feature, 'Words' has a double function. Firstly, it encourages daily practice through spaced repetition system, which is scientifically proven to engrain content in the brain. Secondly, it encourages the user to pay attention and actively engage with the content by adding new words to their flashcard decks.
Conclusion and
next steps
This app was initially developed as part of a class assignment and did not undergo any user testing. However, in a real-world project scenario, the next crucial step would involve testing an initial version of the app through a series of carefully designed scenarios. Gathering feedback from users during this testing phase would help evaluate the effectiveness of the current app flow and identify any necessary improvements to ensure a seamless language learning experience. It is also important to consider the diverse needs of users that may have been overlooked in the initial design. 
To conduct user testing, I would utilize a combination of tools such as Maze, Google Forms, and Excel. These tools would enable me to collect valuable user insights and efficiently analyze the feedback received, allowing for iterative refinements to the app design.
Explore the prototype by clicking on the app icon below.


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