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Case Study: GOALingo, the App for Casual Travelers

An iteration of my paper prototype.


The objective: Work with a partner to identify an everyday problem they have, then design a rough interactive paper prototype for an app that will help address their problem.

Methods and skills: User interviews, affinity mapping, sketching, user flow, storyboarding, wire framing, paper prototyping, usability testing.

Deliverables: An interactive paper prototype, with iterations; user flows; storyboard.

Role: Sole researcher and designer

Timeframe: One-week design sprint.

The Process

The first step was meeting with my partner to find out what kind of an app would be helpful to her in her everyday life. We quickly began to discuss her passion for and experiences with international travel, and a few pain points that she has experienced as a traveler. As a frequent traveler myself, I could really relate to her problems, and we began to hone in on one of the most vexing obstacles to pleasant travel: language barriers….

…specifically, the lack of good resources for people who want to learn some of the most basic words and phrases in another language, without starting from the ground up and learning a lot of vocabulary that is unlikely to be useful to tourists or casual travelers during a short stay.

With the concept for the app in hand, I set about interviewing frequent foreign travelers and learning about the pain points of learning the right vocabulary and phrases to make a visit more comfortable. I discovered that for many people, not being able to communicate easily or effectively is a cause for deep anxiety and stress, so my primary objective was to focus on how to alleviate this source of discomfort.

The app went through several iterations, each one tested anew to gain deeper insights and improvements. 

The end result was a simple but focused prototype that offered users a way to learn essential foreign language vocabulary and phrases specific to vacationers or casual travelers. The key takeaways from this process, for me, were:

  • Try to find the emotional epicenter of the problem you are trying to solve

  • Don't be afraid to stay at a low-fidelity level as you are developing your ideas

  • You can never have too much documentation of your thought process!

* No dogs were harmed in the making of this prototype.

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