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Duolingo

Discovering Concepts
of Gamification

A UI/UX case study determining motivational aspects, and pain points, and an advertising campaign motivating and broadening the user spectrum.

Duolingo wants to encourage Americans to learn a new language in a playful way.

The basic idea of "gamification" is the use of game elements in a non-gaming environment. The designer uses the elementary structure of video games themselves, but out of the context of an actual video game.

The lesson based structure allows students to tackle areas of interest after completing the introductory lessons to gain a solid foundation.

The learner can progress at his/her own pace and set goals by completing one lesson, ranging from 10 experience points (XP) to 50XP per day. Every completed lesson earns XP, which the player redeems for power-up items.

User Painpoints and Problem Solving

Revised and added features based on our UX research to improve the overall learning experience.

#1
“I am afraid to fail the lesson because I make too many mistakes.”

During the lesson, the app provides instant feedback. This is an essential feature to avoid error patterns. However, the app does not permit the learner to self-correct and explore the error. It simply moves on to the next exercise instead. Once the user makes five mistakes he fails the entire lesson.

Improving Duolingo’s grading system by embracing mistakes by allowing instant corrections. The user only looses a life by getting the answer displayed, but not for a wrong answer.

#2
“I just want to learn basic speaking and reading for my next trip, but I dont want a serious commitment to the language at this point.”

Introducing new goal options to better acclimate to users.

#3

“After loosing my 80 day streak, i cannot motivate myself to start over.”

Continuous practice is essential for learning any language. Duolingo will send out daily reminders to catch up on lessons and constantly reminds the user with humorous messages. The goal is to maintain a "streak" by completing lessons every day. However, you have to start over even if you miss just a single day, which can be frustrating and demotivating for users with high streaks.

Improvement the notification system can help to keep users motivated and learning.

#4
“I cannot remember the words from my Chinese lesson, because I never had to write them, but I can recognize them.”

Character tracing & writing for east-asian languages.

#5
“In my Japanese lessions I can match words to sounds, but I dont know what they mean.”

Tripple matching exercises for east-asian languages help learners to match each word three times instead of twice: the characters, the romanization (or Hiragana characters for Japanese), and the translation.

New Users

The United States is known as the melting pot of the world. With those living in her borders coming from all walks of life. Many Americans are proud of there heritage but often only speak one language. Duolingo is here to change that.
“I have considered using a language learning app, but I have never actually installed because it feels like a big commitment.”

The poster campaign features unusual words in other languages in a playful way.
The tagline “We have the words you have been missing” wants waken the curiosity of the viewer about other languages in a fun and engaging way.

Julian Brueggemann
UX / Illustration

Brendan Mansfield
Poster Art Director

Harvey Gillet
Copy Writer

Please note: This is a classroom project purely for educational purposes and I do not claim any textual information or photos.

Last Updated: May 10, 2020