Speech Easy: Mobile Practice App

Speech Easy App

Practicing for a speech or that all important presentation, but don’t have a partner to help? Want some help during your speech to keep your timing on track?

This app has everything you need for practice on the go:

  • Smart Timer
  • Voice recognition to keep track of verbal mistakes or filler words
  • Words per minute tracker to prevent talking too fast or too slow
  • Playback and review functionality
  • Multiple customizable “warnings” for the timer.
    ex. If you have a speech that requires 5 minutes to wrap up, the timer’s background will change to subtly let you know to begin your conclusion during your presentation. If you are practicing alone, you can enable a beep to let you know too.

The Journey: Vision to Product

 

Defining the Product

After finding an idea, the next step is to sort what the app will do, who will use the app and what the app won’t be able to do. Weeding out what an app shouldn’t do to avoid becoming too complex is one of the hardest parts for me, so I started very simple. However, many users asked why some features weren’t included and I then had to figure out how to add these features. I learned that it is better in the long run to plan big.

Context is everything

The device an app or program is aimed to be produced on affects much more than just aesthetic choices, it affects what is expected from that program in interactions, the amount of page loading, and the number of functions expected from the program.

Mobile

Important to consider when developing: most phones are personal devices belonging to an individual, and as such are expected to be tailored. The screen is small, the amount of time spent consecutively on any single app is short and simple interactions are prized over complex ones. Touch screen and voice/camera interactions are primary, actions such as tapping and swiping are more commonly used/expected than other gestures. Most phone app use consists of social media and gaming.

 

Target Audience

After deciding what the app would and wouldn’t do, I focused on defining a demographic. Drawing from life experience, I determined that the app would most likely be used by high school and college students for assignments or competitions.

Wireframes

Organizing information and how screens will interact with each other. Most of this process, for me, is written more than visual. I establish a pattern for how the screens will interact and group app abilities which naturally go together before launching into paper prototypes. Below are some interaction wireframes from  later app visuals:

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 6.41.32 PM

Paper Tests

Tests need to take place as quickly and as often as possible. Thus, the first prototypes were written on index cards in my backpack, while subsequent tests were on templates created to scale.

wireframe1 (1)

First Digital Mockups

Taking the results from paper testing to create a more “natural” prototype that was on a real phone. This stage caught some problems before coming to the final leg of the app’s development.

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 6.52.50 PM

Feedback & Changes

For each round of testing, an individual was asked to complete three tasks. If an individual couldn’t complete the task or understand how to interact with the “app” during a round, notes were taken for changes to take place. After a few user tests, changes would be made. After the changes became less drastic, tests became digital instead of paper prototypes. Below are five examples of how screens changed for this app over time. Some features left, only to return in later versions.

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 6.31.29 PM

Scenario

Pretend that you need to practice a speech for an important presentation coming up. Unfortunately, you don’t have a partner to help you out. Luckily, you downloaded this app that can be your timer, keep track of how fast you are talking, warn you if you sound too monotonous and keep track of how many filler words (um, er, uh, etc.) you resorted to during practice. (What an app!)

Task 1

You are a highschool student that needs to practice for a speech competition. The competition penalizes you for being over the 5 minute time limit and for every filler word after 4. To better practice for your speech, adjust the timer to stop at 5 minutes and adjust the tolerance to 4 filler words.

Task 2

Now that you have finished your first practice, and you know it didn’t go very well. However, you would like to listen over your speech. How would you do this?

Task 3

You practiced again, and did really well this time! You’d like to show your friends. Find a way to keep your recorded session and re-name it.

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 6.40.39 PM

Discoveries

  • Long settings pages are discouraging to view.
  • When I worked on creating a better system to access different settings, consistent symbolism helped users comprehend the new system, but the time it took to understand the new system was still longer than preferred.
  • Swiping timers have visual conventions I need to follow more closely in future alterations
  • Having three icons instead of only two will better help establish a pattern of interaction

Results

Try the prototype out for yourself: https://marvelapp.com/4j8b5ce/screen/24392601

See a brief video: https://www.screencast.com/t/4TQtpSXF

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