Design a demo lesson for an online language-learning portal in 14 days.

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My Role

User Research, Sketching, Wireframes, Persona Creation, Usability Testing, Client Presentation

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Whiteboard, Survey, Sketch App, Axure, Axure Share, Keynote

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14 days

My client is a renowned French Instructor in North America, working with diplomats and foreign service officers. She created a special teaching/learning method that focuses on students who need to learn French professionally. She’s an entrepreneur at heart and wants to launch a French language-learning platform so her students can continue their studies worldwide.


The website demo lesson needed to focus on pronunciation, French vocabulary, and various customized content, incorporating a variety of learning methods for the virtual student based on Moodle’s learning platform limitations.

Discovery + Research

Competitive Analysis

My team and I dove into competitive analysis and researched DuoLingo, Rosetta Stone, Babbel, and Pimsleur. We wanted to understand the differentiating features and more specifically, the voice recognition capabilities, from these top name brands. Overall, these companies are branching into the voice recognition arena, but it is not a heavy focus. The software typically just repeats the word in French and there is no realistic feedback for the student, letting them know one way or another if their pronunciation was correct.

In conjunction, I reached out to 15 language bloggers and created a user survey. I wanted to learn if people had used other language learning platforms before and understand what they found useful or frustrating. 

Survey Results

Persona Creation

It would be better if there was more emphasis on learning correct pronunciations and syntax. Otherwise, what’s the point?
— George
DuoLingo was fun, but ultimately, I don’t think I really learned.
— Madeline
Primary persona

Primary persona

Secondary persona

Secondary persona

With 10 days until our deadline, my team and client agreed on using George as the primary persona, focusing on his needs for our demo of a beginner’s language learning journey showcasing a pronunciation lesson and the ability to show course feedback.

Design Process

Designing a beginner-level user flow for George using the Moodle education platform started off rough. My initial impression of Moodle was that it was supremely slow to load and the site was clunky. After researching the platform's constraints, I found that there are Moodle developers who built plug-ins for the platform, giving my team more freedom to design.

With the Moodle constraint resolved, I sketched various iterations of a dashboard with features such as a Community Forum, Schedule a Live Tutor Session, and “gamified” course snapshots, which is essentially a progress tracking mechanism. Initially, I sketched a typical Moodle design on the left, which is cluttered and distracting. To satisfy our client and keep the student’s attention focused, I went on to mock-up the right-hand version.

Initial design sketches

Initial design sketches

Usability Testing

After working on our initial sketches I created a usability test script and performed an initial round of testing. Per user feedback, there were 3 primary components to address:

Version 1 with annotations

Version 1 with annotations

After iterations, I performed a second round of usability testing, seen below: 

Version 2 with annotations

Version 2 with annotations

Team Fail — I performed a second round of usability testing and found that the navigation bar on the Dashboard and the other lesson pages that my teammate designed were not identical!

I also learned that users still wanted a “Continue Lesson” button to jump right to where they left off. For example, if George didn’t have time this morning to finish his lesson, when he logs in in the afternoon, he’s ready to start right where he left off and clicks on “Continue Lesson.”

Visual Design

Our client initially wanted a black and white color palette, but we understood that students would need “call to action” buttons so we added 2 shades of yellow. It was a huge hit with our client and this clarified the actions necessary for our users — and of course George.

Final Mockup

Final Mockup


This learning platform has been a dream of my client's and my team helped her vision come to life. The resulting "beginner" demo and design are now used in her development roadmap and funding requests.


Team snapshot during our client presentation.

Team snapshot during our client presentation.

Praise from my client