A local-language learning application for India.
The brief was to design a learning system for Indians to learn the local language of the state they live in.
India is a linguistically diverse country with more than 100 different spoken languages across 30 states. In cosmopolitan cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad etc. the language barrier becomes really significant.
Since we live in Bangalore, we took up Kannada as our language of focus. We wanted to design the system in a way that could be extended to other regional languages too.
A lot of good applications exist for learning various foreign languages. But, there is almost nothing for the various Indian languages. However, that is not without a reason. An application like Duolingo will not be useful in a place like Bangalore, where people learn the local language just to manage a few conversations in a day rather than learn the language itself; a hypothesis we later confirmed through user interviews.
We interviewed 15-20 people who have come from various parts of India and have settled in Bangalore. Close to 90% of them did not understand or speak Kannada. Common reasons cited were “I can manage with Hindi”, “No proper tools available”, “No time to attend classes”. But the general consensus was that they wanted to learn the basic language to interact with the locals like Auto drivers, shopkeepers etc.
We interviewed a Kannada tutor who was specifically teaching the language to people coming from other parts of the country. We believed she could give us a better idea of how to go about teaching the language than any books could. She also confirmed that a lot of people didn’t want to learn the language completely; but just enough to manage day-to-day conversations.
The focus became clear:
Creating the content for the conversations and lessons was one of the biggest challenges. Since we ourselves were not proficient in Kannada, we coupled with a few Kannada-speaking classmates to translate lessons, conversations and word-bank content from English/Hindi to Kannada efficiently.
Bravity is a language learning application with the focus on teaching just the essentials required for day-to-day conversations in a city like Bangalore. The user can learn the language using a more traditional approach also. The applications also has an inbuilt word-bank & translator for quick lookups.
To provide a fun approach to learning a mascot was created. The mascot acts as the tutor throughout the app and doubles up as actual people during conversations.
Real-world conversations are simulated with the app mascot. Audio is provided for all the dialogs and the user is taught by making him speak his dialogs. When he gets them right, Mangy responds with his dialogs. English and Hindi (or other native language) translations are also provided for all the dialogs.
A total of 11 conversation scenarios which are most common in Indian cities are bundled with the app: Auto drivers, House maids, RT office, Grocery shop, Doctor's clinic, Traffic policeman, In a bus, Movie theater, Neighbors, Restaurant, College.
The lessons are divided into three levels: Basic, Intermediate and Fluent. Basic level has 4 lessons, Intermediate and Fluent have 8 lessons each. A lesson is like a test in a way, but the user is guided with hints throughout. Once a lesson is done, the user is asked to take a test to proceed further.
Users can save words for quick reference later. Notifications can be setup to use favorites as flash cards so that the user is tested regularly.
This contains different lists of words like: Numbers, Relationships, Fruits, Vegetables, Colors, Seasons, Days of a week, Time and Feelings.
This functional prototype was developed to demonstrate and test various features of the application. Speech recognition is one of the core functionalities of the app; but it has not been implementd for obvious reasons. This is only a proof-of-concept prototype.
Click on the splash screen to start