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Project Brief

For our project, our team of UCD Designers had to come to the table with new things to consider. For our project we wanted to serve the greater community of people with a wide range of disabilities. Our goal in mind was to create a universal language translator that also promotes a positive human interaction and experience for our users. We Translate provides that tool that helps; the problem is that many machine translators are unable to process the context in which a language is being used; which is necessary in order to correctly produce a translation. We Translate can help solve this problem by empowering users to help promote transnational equivalence by entering and communally editing translations. We Translate provides
users with instant translation that is both dialect and culturally sensitive for Spanish, English, ASL, and SSL.

What guarantees us we are speaking in ways that are reliable and correct? How do we become more like a native speaker? We Translate provides a range of inclusive opportunities for many users with disabilities to learn and access translations immediately. You can also contribute to the community of words or phrases. This app allows people to fully immerse into different cultures and feel confident doing so.

Timeline & Delivery

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  1. 04/09: Project kickoff: Design research

  2. 04/15: Persona spectrum

  3. 04/19: Press release 

  4. 05/06: Demo Video of human problem & digital solution

  5. 05/07: Presentation

  6. 05/14: Case study

"How might we build trust with our users by insuring our data is accurate and reliable?"

Inclusive Design

Our team worked remotely throughout much of the process which required strong communication. Our product became inclusive right from the start. By designing an interface that gives multiple users with disabilities, access to the app, without creating additional steps to gain reliable information, this app becomes universal. Some of the ways we designed this product inclusively were by including content that worked for the hearing impaired as well as the visually impaired. We designed our app with both audio and video component for learning translations. The app uses voice recording and playback as well. The app is accessible worldwide, available to download to your mobile device online! We Translate also includes a common phrasebook which gives each user a way to interact personally. 

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We had to consider ways we were building trust with our users. By adding a phrasebook we had to insure any data added by users was properly validated by our moderators to insure safety, and reliable information before publishing new translations. We build trust by offering many options for accessing and understanding translations. These added components are just as easy to use as any of them which empowers the user and does not single out any specific disability. By adding a "slang" section for translation we create inclusion which contributes to cultural diversity and personalizes sub cultural context. All these options for learning and communicating also empowers the user to engage into conversations with confidence. By having access to a multitude of words, phrases, and sign, the user can really immerse into a different culture, feeling more like a native speaker. With this app we are breaking barriers and having conversations.

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We Translate Press Release

All of us need help communicating sometimes, and We Translate provides that tool that helps; the problem is that many machine translators are unable to process the context in which a language is being used; which is necessary in order to correctly produce a translation. We Translate can help solve this problem by empowering users to help promote translational equivalence by entering and communally editing translations. We Translate provides users with instant translation that is both dialect and culturally sensitive for Spanish, English, ASL, SSL languages.

User Persona

We Translate was designed for the hearing impaired, visually impaired, and people with temporary and situational disabilities. This app was designed for anyone who would like to learn or translate Spanish, English, ASL, and SSL. This app would be the perfect tool for a student or person who travels and wishes to immerse into a culture and break through language barriers by having conversations.

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Design Feedback

We all need good insight from testers to really improve our designs. From our brief interviews we were able to identify common issues people kept mentioning. We watched our users walk through the app and provide individual reactions and feedback throughout the test. Through observation we found each user was able to easily complete the task of searching for a specific translation, as well as contribute to the community phrasebook. Most of the feedback that came through was related to ways of improving the features and aesthetic for the application. A bullet list summary from our users goes as follows:

  1. Multiple users stated the font sizes were a bit small and some of the fonts on the home screen were too transparent making them get lost in the background. 

  2. Each tester described the benefits of a user instructional or "Get Started" tutorial would be helpful in understanding the icons and text fields, as well as the basic process for executing a successful translation. It was also stated it would be helpful to have the process for adding and accepting a new word or phrase into the community book.

  3. One user mentioned adding the option to record video for adding sign language translations to the book.

  4. An interesting suggestion came up—what would a slang icon look like? This sparked discussions.

  5. It was noticed by multiple users, the back button should be moved to the left side of the screen.

  6. Many users mentioned we should have both options to select a language or a region, for a translation.

  7. Last but not least, multiple users requested an exit button from the videos.

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Inclusive Design Video

Design Retrospective

  1. What was most challenging about creating an inclusive product concept?

The most challenging part about creating an inclusive product concept was not having any real or viable experience to base our understanding of our user's needs. We had to work through multiple empathy exercises to identify things we needed to consider, but even still we don't have all the problems identified immediately so this becomes a considerable amount of time and revisions to create a cohesive experience for all users no matter their disability. Consistency requires simplicity and I think our team worked through this problem to create the easiest and most comfortable experience for each user.

2. What part of this project did you enjoy most? What part of this project did you enjoy least?

This project presented good and bad that all ended up working out in the end. As individuals we each had to gain a better understanding of what inclusive design was all about. In a short amount of time we had to not only come up with a practical project concept, but we had to take the steps to learn more about our users than before. We were expected to execute a working prototype that was both considered in depth to be an inclusive product, as well as implementing function and aesthetic considerations and improvements along the way, all this just scratching the surface of a condensed timeline for turnaround. Most of the tasks were handled remotely with a few meetings here or there. That allowed for each member of our team to gain independence on the project by learning to work together from a distance. These designs not only had to be thought of, but the screens were created in a short amount of time. The entire process immediately went to testing, presenting and demonstrating the human interaction as well, this was a major turnaround. The benefit to this was, by now our team had worked through other projects and had a decent amount of collaboration under our belts. We had a greater understanding of how each of us worked and we already had a system in place for communicating and creating remotely. We thrived in managing individual tasks as well as maintained strong lines of communication throughout the entire process. The time constraints did not allow for each designer to step outside their responsibilities to jump in with another teammate, although in many cases we were still intermingling between one another throughout the entire process. The biggest takeaway was co-creation and collaboration. Understanding the product concept as an inclusive design was tricky until we went through the empathy exercises and gained some insight about our users.

3. How was your creative process challenged by this project? What were the similarities in how you approached this project and other digital design projects? What were the differences?

This was only the second project I've worked on with accessibility in mind. By understanding the limitations some disabilities create, we were able to identify the obvious. The problem with only really researching and studying to learn the needs in a short amount of time, this lack of time does not make us experts immediately. This lack of understanding doesn't give us accurate insight in order to design a product that meets user diversity. In comparison to other design projects, I like to think of the movie "Robots". In this movie the big boss always said, "see a need, fill a need". With this mindset, yes you can become the greatest or busiest designer ever, but will you be making products that are useful, or products that are successful? What about making products that are inclusive? Just because someone has a great idea doesn't mean they can share it with the world without regard to how people receive it. So often we jump straight to solving the problem before we really know what it is. In this case, we spent more time in the beginning to learn about our target market, and creating an inclusive product. These details had to be implemented with consideration first. 

4. What new challenges did you face when communicating and prototyping your connected inclusive design product? How did you overcome them?

For the most part our project concept and design was simplified to give the user a product that is straight forward and easy to use. When we started we wanted to create a universal book of many languages, with many regions participating. We decided to structure the prototype in a way that kept our design in the early and more realistic stages of design by including ASL and SSL languages first. In our prototype we show the way our product will move and expand across many regions down the road but we wanted to overcome the project getting too big too fast. We wanted to insure we were really focused on producing a positive user workflow and overall experience. We wanted to simply to gain the trust of our user, and we wanted them to enjoy the simple and fun interactions our app provided. We had to refine our original concepts to bring things back down ta a more manageable workload in order to really focus on the inclusive design. As a team we each contributed to generating ideas, discussing problems and considering solutions that would meet the needs of our user and create a thoughtful product.

5. For this project, you had to simultaneously focus on original concept, physical/digital interaction, and movie magic. How did you juggle those responsibilities? Which were your strengths? Which can you improve on, and how will you work on those areas of improvement in future projects?

The biggest struggle was thinking so damn creatively on demand all the time! The entire design process, where you sit down and identify a problem, research, see a need, identify a user, and so on... without this process we would just throw ideas out to the wind and hope something works out. Co-creation and collaboration. Our team worked hard to delegate responsibility and to tackle our own portions that needed to be tackled. Although we worked independently and not everyone got to be a part of everything, we made sure to include moments for teammates to review and provide feedback. We had to work across platforms and projects, using the same content, with the same ideas and mission in mind. This allowed for the creation of a cohesive brand for our product and our presented materials. I found one of my projects went through the hands of each other member to contribute to final touches before it was submit for approval. By allowing each member real opportunity to be a part of the design process, and to be a part of the final decisions, each member walks away taking ownership of the team's creation. In this final project, there were many instances where this was not the case. Personally, with time constraints and learning concepts and design standards on the fly, I feel like there were limitations on the things some of us wanted to participate in, but the greater takeaway was that our team worked together smoothly, efficiently, and we came through in the end with an innovative and inclusive design project. It's important to switch roles. Even though we all want to be leaders in industry, we learn a lot of valuable lessons playing other roles as well. Each member carries a certain weight, and each member's work is considerably valuable.