I think modern user experience design can improve enormously the effectiveness of WORD TRANSLATORS so users who are looking for a specific meaning, can reach the precision they need faster and in a more engineered way.
Expat students. Having their courses in another country, students use foreign languages to listen, read and write. So they spend quite some time using translating tools for their studies.
In addition, this kind of students are usually more comfortable with technological tools so they may have an interesting point of view on them
I did some interviews with end users to understand their typical behavior. The users were almost all professional users of translation tools. Some of them use CAT tools that divide a document into paragraphs and provide similar human translations of each block, but word translation tools are also used to give specific terms an accurate translation in a specific context.
Word translators respond to a single research with a huge amount of information that the user must digest and synthesize to extract the necessary meaning.
All of the people who agreed to be interviewed have their own style and approach to -meaning extraction-, but they all believe that the amount of information provided by online tools needs to be better organized.
from all the questions asked to the interviewees, I managed to extract relevant insights that will be useful to have a clear idea at the beginning of the design phase
On average, users are not fully satisfied with the accuracy they achieve in their translations. They rarely exceed 70% satisfaction
The main reason why many users rely on online translation tools is the speed of finding information compared to the classic traditional dictionaries.
The second reason is the amount of information they are able to find.
The biggest problem that emerged from the interviews is that in order to find the meaning they want, they have to navigate back and forth through multiple tools on multiple platforms
Online translation tools respond with a huge amount of information that is usually displayed in a confusing way. This results from outdated, or no use, of user experience design.
All questions for interviews and online survey were carefully prepared to avoid any kind of bias in the interviewees, but sometimes bias can hide within us. During the interviews, I realized that I had a bias.
I caught myself believing that people would answer a question about synonyms in a certain way, but they did not. Fortunately, I was able to identify this False-Consensus Bias in my mindset before it affected my conclusions.
There are many products on the market that do automatic translations, but I selected only Multilingual Dictionaries
Other companies in the -word translation- field have different flexibility and different accuracy in the information they provide to the user for the translation of a word.
Wordreference is the tool that responds with the highest amount of linguistic information to a word search, but such a load of notions needs to be organized both visually and logically to provide a valuable service to the user.
Since Wordreference is the most comprehensive tool for word translation and, in my opinion, would benefit from a modern approach to its User Experience, I decided to redesign this app
So far I acquired that all users rely on multiple online resources to get the accuracy they want for their translation.
Depending on the complexity of the translation and the expertise of the user, this process of browsing multiple sources seems to be confusing, time-consuming, and quite random.
The user flow of most of the users I interviewed can be summarized as a series of random iterations over multiple online tools in order to be able to make sense of the cloud of information they found.
In this research, User Flow is the tool that more than any other can synthesize and visualize effectively the final goal of this project.
Shorten the User Flow and simplify it is the ultimate goal of this redesign
There is no standard process to go through all the notions you get from translation tools
All the information for a single word can be accessed through blocks of linguistic types on the vertical dimension (scrolling) and groups of meanings on the horizontal dimension (tapping).
In this way the cloud of information for the translation of a single word is not anymore a unorganized cloud of which the user must make sense, but in a 2 dimensional organized plane on which the user can move rationally to find the precise meaning s/he’s looking for.
One of the interviewees was an expert linguist that suggested to place the blocks of information that Wordreference return on each search, in specific order because it improve the effectiveness of the comprehension of the meaning for that word
After a round of A/B Testing on a small online community, the version with the horizontally placed orange bar seemed to be more intuitive, so I decided to move forward with it, on my design
the design result more polished and more contrasted for accessibility.
Colors and negative space play an important role in providing a better experience for users.
Every word have a different amount of information to be displayed and the vertical dimension can potentially scale to infinity to accommodate how much content is needed
when you find the context you’re looking for, you can move horizzontally to go deeper on that road and find more information relevant to the precise meaning you’re seeking
Working on this project I’ve learned how important is the process of selection of people to interview and how crucial is to thoroughly craft the questions to extract the most out of users experience.
Besides I’ve learned that among all the tools and techniques a UX designer have at his/her disposal, it’s important to understand which ones are more effective for every project.
Thanks to all the participants, in presence and online, thanks to all the users from the Wordreference forum and to you for reading also the credits like I do at the end of a movie at the theater