ANGELINE CHEN
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Experience Strategy for a Personalized Reading Tutor

THE PROBLEM

Years of research have shown that early reading proficiency dictates life success – children who cannot read at grade level by 3rd grade are 4x less likely to graduate high school, have a 60% decrease in employment rate, and a 34% decrease in lifetime earnings. The data also shows virtually no gain in reading skills of U.S. children over the past 25 years – by the 4th grade, 66% of U.S. students are unable to read proficiently.

Combining reading science academia and evolved AI technology, Amira is the first intelligent tutoring system built to accelerate mastery for developing readers in a way that is personalized, scalable and adaptive. In addition to focusing on the accuracy of the product, the team also needed to begin considering its user experience across contexts.

INDUSTRY

Education Technology
Artificial Intelligence

PROJECT LENGTH

5 months

THE ASK

How might we make reading with Amira an experience that is engaging for students?

THE REFRAME

How might we build a relationship with our users through an engaging experience strategy that embodies who we are as a brand?

MY ROLE

On this team of 23, I was the UX and Experience Strategy Lead. This was a contractor role, and I was the first and only designer on the team. This meant that I was the voice of design and for the user on a team that had not thought in these ways before. Much of my work required context setting, education and activities to push the team to think differently or to align us all on a design or user-centered approach.

I was the one spearheading the future vision for our product, as well as the one tasked with creating all production and detailed design work (graphics, interaction and UI designs, illustrations, etc.).

APPROACH + DELIVERABLES

My focus was on the product's horizon two experience strategy, and I approached this by first determining who we wanted to be as a brand. I saw a need to identify and align on our brand values and voice so that they could be a compass to steer our ways of engagement and ultimately result in a cohesive brand experience every touchpoint. User voices, research, trends and more would be inputs into our evolving and multifaceted brand.

A co-creation, branding activity I facilitated with the team at our quarterly off-site. This activity involved imagining how Amira would look, act, and speak given select brand archetypes, then discussing and dot-voting to align on brand personalities to pursue.

Over the course of five months, I conducted stakeholder interviews and workshops, designed and ran a co-creation workshop with students, uncovered user insights and themes that translated into design principles, developed the many layers of our brand, educated the team about the design process and methods, facilitated several working sessions with our team and with our expert panel, conducted user testing and synthesized specific and broad areas to change, created overarching experience strategy concepts and visual mood boards, and built the style guide and component library for our product MVP.

The final deliverables were the company brand values, experience approach, four detailed experience strategy concepts with visual mood boards. I also delivered the MVP style guide and component library in Figma, and a backlog of prioritized design and experience user stories.

Amira, the personalized reading tutor, listens to students as they read the displayed text, and visually indicates when words have been correctly or incorrectly read.
Right: Amira software before MVP; Left: MVP Amira software with experience enhancements and styling applied
The interface for the teacher-side of the Amira application – this section allows teachers to quickly see how students are performing relative to standard benchmarks.
Second grade student using Amira in a classroom in San Jose, CA.

If you're interested in seeing more, you can reach out to me for the full case study and other work samples.

EXPERIENCE STRATEGY FOR A PERSONALIZED READING TUTOR
San Francisco