© 2018 Dennis Crothers

Jiveworld

mobile app design, prototypes, interaction design, visual design

Jiveworld is the debut product from ThumbJive. Jiveworld is a mobile app (iOS and Android) for language learners wanting to achieve native level listening fluency in a foreign language. ThumbJive's first content partner for the app is Radio Ambulante, an NPR (National Public Radio) affiliate, who produces a podcast of Latin American stories from anywhere Spanish is spoken.

Mobile Design
 

Listening comprehension presents a challenge to the language learner. They have no control over the time, choice of words, or manner of speaking of the other person. This makes listening a fundamentally harder skill to acquire than reading, writing or speaking.
 

Jiveworld puts native fluency in the reach of anyone with a smartphone or computer and motivation to succeed. It works because it starts with native spoken audio — not manufactured, idealized language — and sets it inside an assisted listening experience that helps the learner understand it in real time, while still relying primarily on their ears.

The home screen (left) is the dashboard, where users are encouraged to finish episodes that they've started, study vocabulary they've recently listened to, and view basic stats to track their achievement. Each episode has a summary screen (center). Episodes are broken into chapters (right), with brief notes on the vocabulary and colloquialisms that will be introduced.

The main menu allows easy access to episodes in four different states: unplayed, in progress, vocabulary review, and completed. Because each state has different requirements around information architecture, we can provide a better user experience by organizing by episode state.

The listening experience helps the learner by slowing the audio down and by adding in extra information (speaker name and origin, vocabulary, or notes). However, adding this extra content risks distracting the learner from listening. The core principle of the player is the learner is at all times completely focused on only one thing — another way to think of this is serializing attention. We use pauses and visual cues to direct the user's attention.

Enhancing a Premium Brand
 

This product is a partnership with Radio Ambulante, a media organization distributed by NPR, who produces human interest stories from around Latin America and Spanish speaking communities worldwide. Radio Ambulante stories are told by the protagonists themselves in their natural tongue, interspersed with narrative from a journalist.

Radio Ambulante produces high quality audio content, so the app needed to match the partner's brand — with great visual appeal, readability, and format.

Designing for Various UI States
 

Over 100 screens were designed for engineering specs and to create working prototypes, many to cover the various states or conditions of episodes.