An extension to Rosetta Stone’s subscription app that provides more value to travellers, by extending their language lessons from software to real world practice. Customized lessons based on voice translations and saved phrases can be accessed as needed before the trip, during, and after. 

Team: Anita Chen, Cindy Chien, Christy Liu, Jessica Lieu, Levona Yim

Roles I Played: UX, UI, Visual Designer, Prototyping, Graphic Designer

Tools Used: Sketch, Principle, Illustrator, Photoshop, Keynote

Type: Academic Project

Business Problem

Rosetta Stone’s overall revenue has been declining over the last few years, particularly in their consumer revenue as people don’t see enough value in subscribing. Revenue in the first quarter 2016 totaled $48.0 million, down 18% from $58.4 million in the year-ago period.

We’ve created this solution for them as their current target market doesn’t see the value in buying into Rosetta Stone’s current subscription model, as many other apps and software such as Duolingo and Buusu, provide a similar learning experience for free. Because of this, their overall revenue has been declining over the last few years, particularly in their consumer revenue.

Current Rosetta Stone Application

In the current application, the main pain point was that it is locked to the horizontal orientation. It is inconvenient to the users when they are on the go to pull their phone out and needing to rotate it every time. 

We decided to design the application so that it can be used both horizontal and/or landscape mode. The experience of the application would not be taken away just because of the orientation. Also, the button size and font size would be the same as well.

Our Intervention

Knowing that for many, the best way to be fully immersed is through travelling to a foreign country, and according to statistics, 53% of those who use a language learning software uses it to communicate better when travelling. Currently, Rosetta Stone has no focus, development, or support on their mobile app around the travel experience, and their competitors, such as Duolingo and TripLingo, have a limited reach. To add more value to current RS subscribers, we want to bring RS experience to include in-field experiences so that subscribers can really learn the language while immersing themselves in the foreign country.  Our solution aims to bring Rosetta Stone closer towards the middle of eLearning and travel where none of their competitors currently exist.

Journey Framework

In order to see how to intervene for our target market, we looked at the journey of our persona who is planning to go on a vacation to foreign country. We considered the touch points and pain points and wanted to intervene between the preparing for the trip, during the trip, and post trip.

We found that there were a lot of pain points surrounding Reinforcement. Rosetta Stone has a lot of lessons that prepare users before their trip. However, it is hard to remember and understand what they have learned unless it is applied in context. Reinforcing the material from the lessons during their trip will help them learn better.

Preparing - When Rosetta Stone subscribers plan on travelling, they can use the Rosetta Stone app for lessons related to travelling that are already offered. The app teaches users languages through lessons of various levels and topics in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. However, some pain points are not knowing how to apply what they’ve learned in context and not knowing enough of the language to prepare them for the trip.

Communicating - While on their trip, some of the pain points are forgetting what they’ve learned and not knowing enough of the language to communicate. It will be important for them to be able to apply what they’ve learned in context but not have to keep bringing out their phone for language help as that will take away from the experience.

Reflecting - The reflecting stage can happen at any time, whether after the trip, or just after a day. Some pain points in the reflecting stage which can include after going out or after the trip is not remembering what they’ve learned, not knowing enough to communicate with friends from the trip, and not knowing which lesson to focus on.

Initial Wireframes

Final Prototype

Core Lessons Page

In the current Rosetta Stone app, within each unit, there are multiple of lessons ( vocubulary, speaking, pronunciation, grammar, etc). The numbers of core lessons within the units vary. The current Rosetta Stone app combines all the lessons together making it into 1 group where it wraps around. 

As the UX designer, I decided it would be the best idea to break the core lessons into different pages. It would be easier for the users to flip back and forth to each lesson instead of scrolling and needing to look at which number they are in. There's also an indicator on the bottom to show the user how many core lessons there are without needing to scroll down just as you would for the current app.


We kept with Rosetta Stone's style of teaching since we did not want to change their business model and style of teaching; However, we made a progress indication on the bottom to let the user know how far into the lessons they are in. Also, at any point in the lesson when the user is having trouble or they want to save the lesson for the future, they tap on the star icon on the top right corner, which will be saved into the Saved Phrases section. Lastly, we noticed that in the original application, there were 2 icons on the side that we confusing in what they meant. The eye icon on the left meant revealing the answers, while the pause button on the right meant the user can pause and exit the program or skip to another lesson. The change that I suggested was to change the icons into words instead to be clearer. The language of the words would change depending on which language the user has chosen for their default known language.

Custom Lessons

Based on a pattern of the troubled phrases from Saved Phrases and Translator that the user had, custom lessons will appear on the main lessons page. We've put it to the left of the regular lessons because we want the users to know they have the options to do custom lessons so they don’t miss it. By tapping on it it expands and shows the same lesson structure that exists for the other lessons. Custom lessons are curated through 10 phrases from the saved phrases lists, targeting what users are having trouble with. Instead of having separate lessons such as vocabulary, pronunciation, and speaking, custom lessons focus more on mixed review.

The in-lesson structure follows the regular lessons that RS has, and the exercises are pulled from the bank that Rosetta Stone already has. Once completed, users can remove it.


Microphone Headset: During the trip, users will have different issues in comparison to the pre-trip. They can still use the same functions, such as the saved phrases list, that will help them in a pinch.  However, travelling means immersion, which means fully being in the space. So the first thing we've incorporated is compatibility with a headset or earpiece.  We considered using one that already exists, like Pilot, but we realised that users would have to shell out more for these specialised pieces of hardware that may not be to their liking.  The app will recognised a paired Bluetooth headset or a wired one when plugged into the device while using the translator. The user simply taps a physical trigger on the earpiece and start talking.  Once the audio stream from the user stops, the app stops recording and translates the user’s input, relaying it back to them, just a second later. It allows the user to fully be immersed in the space that they are in without any distractions, and at the same time, provides the reinforcement and support that the user may need.

Translator: If users aren't out and about, or don’t have a paired headset, they can use the translator in app as well. They simply tap and hold the record button, speak the phrase or word that they're having difficulty with, let go, and the app will translate it, save it, and speak it back to them. The user had the options of playing it out loud, saving the phrase, and seeing it in both languages.  The screen is divided into two halves: the translator and the past phrases.  Past phrases can be shrunk down to the bottom of the screen, so it’s out of the way.

Saved Phrases - Going back to review lessons

Some pain points in the reflecting stage which can include after going out or after the trip is not remembering what they’ve learned and not knowing which lesson to focus on. This list is comprised of lessons, phrases, words, and custom translations that the user has bookmarked/saved from their lessons and translations. From the list of saved phrases that can be easily accessed, users are able to review them instead of going through all the lessons again which is time consuming. Each of the units will have the foreign language, native translation, playback, and related lessons next to it. This was done in an effort to target a convenient, personalised lesson experience that would really reinforce what the user was having difficulty with.

Saved Phrases - Organizing into Folders

All phrases and word translated for the user will be automatically saved into the Saved Phrases section as well as any starred lessons. The entire list can be edited, filtered, searched, and sorted for minimum effort in finding particular units.

These can all be organized by having the users create folders and copying the lessons to one or more folders. The saved phrases will also be ordered by frequency of use and then chronologically.

Accounts Page

In order to differentiate the account tab from the rest of the app, we made it a pop-up. As users may want to practice another language on RS, they can switch languages easily in the account pop-up card. When they switch, they can see a world map that highlights other areas they can travel to that speak the language. This can encourage travelling and further the usage of RS for future trips.

How We're Adding Value

My Final Thoughts

This project has taught me to be a better designer by thinking of low-on-the-tree ideas that can enhance a user's experience by adding value to a product. I have also learned to work with new tools on the spot by being the only person on the team to have Sketch and Principle. I was also able to play multiple hats and working within a tight schedule by being the UX/UI and Visual Designer. I made sure the UI was designed within brand and being inline with Rosetta Stone's current application. I was also the Interaction Designer by adding the interactions of the app through Principle, making sure each key interaction and element within the application has purpose and was a conscious decision.

Overall, every week we presented, I was the quality checker to make sure that "OK" was not enough. It needed to be the best in order to present to our class and any guests we had.