Posted in Design.

What is out there?

This will be a look at some apps that are on the market that consist of elements of design that we can draw inspiration from to use for our own app production. Here are a few examples, I will be looking at what “practices” they allow you to do, but also how these portray practice and how we can adapt what we are looking for in these existing forms.


Duolingo is an on the go approach to learning languages. This has some great design inspiration for progressing the player during the use of the app. This app was something that we looked into for inspiration on it intrinsic and extrinsic reward for players. I, however, was able to take away more from it in the aspect of how it works Instructional Design and Progression Design.

Duolingo breaks its questions up into short tasks under different categories that are your lessons, and these increase in difficulty as you progress through the language. It starts you with a simple question that relates to an image, “Which of these is the Dog?” so, with no knowledge of the language, you are looking a the dog image and seeing what the word for dog in that language. This is giving you infomation and is not expecting anything from you, this is the pattern for the first few lessons. It does this in different forms;

  • show you a sentence that you can touch and see what each individual word mean in English, then gets you to write the English sentence.
  • show images and pick the correct one.
  • or make a sentence out of words from the language you have already been shown and know.

The app, once you have done a few questions will flip what is expected of you. Instead of pick the image based on a word that is known, It gives you the image but now asks you writes the word. The app takes all the previous task and information and now expects you to give the info you have learnt.  This is a great introduction to not only how the app works but how people work. By giving you the information in ways that are easily answered to then relying on the answers coming from retention of what has come before.  But this app doesn’t do this the whole way through, the call and response style of the app is there, but is added to. After the first few lessons, they will start to give you new words and phrases but mix this up with what you have already learnt.

Let’s say you’re learning Irish and you know the word for boy and man (buachaill & fear) and the app are now teaching you apple and eat (úll and ltheann ). The app takes what you know and adds it to what you’re learning, this is expanding your knowledge and straightening what you know.


There are elements of progressional design and motivational design. I cover this in a blog on some other projects I’m working on here. This is something we are going to incorporate in our training app, to allow player feedback and drive to want to complete sections and replay to improve their skills.

Now I will look at an app that has a specific use instead of an app that fits into everyday life.


This is an app I looking into about decision making. This app helps you break down the decision-making process. This was something that we wanted to do with our project, breaking down what the player are practising and the info that the players are receiving at each stage of the app. To alleviate people being confused and overwhelmed with too many things at once. This was an app that we looked at and that helped us shape our design process.

screen696x696This image above shows questions with text boxes. We considered having text input as an element to our app but when we consider this in relation to what analytics we would be recording or be getting back from our app we removed it. The text box element was something that we shelved, this then drove us to look at the design of questions and fixed information that we would display to the player. This helped us shape different areas of our app for the better and will allow for a cleaner look to the app and uniform input and feedback that was easy to understand for users and less work for tracking analytics.

Looking at what other products that are on the market in areas similar to your target are a great way to both see what is expected and also what you can do better or in different ways to make your app stand out in a unique way. Research is a great way to help improve and build your skill set of design methods.

Thanks for reading.


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