During our semester abroad, Alex and I became aware of the problem that we often looked up the same unknown word several times. Words from our very personal environment that we encounter because they are in a context that is interesting to us.
As we found out during later research and a collaboration with the Language Institute of the University of Darmstadt, it is precisely these words that provide a good basis for learning them in the long term.
The central hypotheses of the project are:
Through a user-centered process, we get to know other people with these kinds of problems and initiate a co-designing process with them. Stickly is a system that combines translation tools with an educational game. The tools are integrated into the user's digital environment and help them overcome language barriers. The translated language barriers serve as the basis for the playful vocabulary building.
In the browser extension, the focus is on helping the user read and understand texts and expand vocabulary along the way. The browser extension lets the user mark unknown words and translate them directly. The previously translated words are color-coded on the pages visited to encourage noticing and reflecting on them. By noticing the words in different contexts, the user develops his concept of that word and learns in which environment the word is used.
Images of an interaction design workshop
One of the most important aspects for Stickly, which became clear throughout the focus group discussion and surveys, is suitability for everyday use. Stickly primarily uses the principle of micro-interaction in all products, which is limited in scope and complexity and allows simple tasks to be performed quickly and without much cognitive effort.
Translating a word through a simple interaction is quite easy, playfully practicing a word is a different story.
We test interaction principles with interactive prototypes build on different technical platforms (Unity, Angular).
Our current conclusion is, that depending on how familiar someone is with a certain word, different interaction principles suite better or worse. F.e. to introduce a word, flashcards appear to be very handy. But along the way it could turn into some kind of puzzle that enables users to explore the word on a deeper level. Audiovisuell context could also benefit the learning journey.
The effectiveness of those approaches still needs to be validated.