COLAB12 - CHROME EXTENSION

Gaja

A new way to learn Korean. - A chrome extension to help you learn Korean while watching shows and movies.

Background

Currently 1.2 billion people are learning a new language, and we as we know, learning a new language is really tough - especially with a busy schedule. After interviewing language learners, we found that many don’t have the time it takes with the current options to become more fluent. They want to improve their listening and pronunciation skills, but the current options (books, apps, etc) out there do not always provide the immersive environment to facilitate learning.

Additionally, the online language learning market is growing and isn’t stopping any time soon. “According to the latest research study, the demand of global Online Language Learning Market size & share was valued at 14.2 (USD billion) in 2021 and is predicted to grow to around 28.5 (USD billion) by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 18.8% during the forecast period 2022 to 2028.”

User pain points

Through user interviews and research we found that the major pain points were:

  1. It takes a lot of time and commitment, and it’s difficult to fit learning into busy schedules.
  2. Other solutions weren’t providing vocabulary and language development that supports their goals.
  3. Need a more immersive and motivating environment - especially for learning listening and pronunciation skills.

Hypothesis: If we can find a solution that pairs with an activity that our users are already prioritizing, we can better support their language learning journey.

Landing on the solution

We decided the solution should allow users to learn language through entertaining mediums that they already fit into their busy schedules. Users should be able to practice listening and reading skills while also hearing the language used in context by native speakers. After user interviews and team discussions, we discovered we could use on-demand video platforms like YouTube and Netflix (platforms our users already use daily) to help meet these requirements.

We also decided that we should try to limit our scope and focus on one language to start. Multiple members of our team had experience with Korean. Korean was also the second fastest-growing language in the world in 2020 and Netflix invested $500 million in Korean content in 2021. Therefore we believed this language gave us the best opportunity to support a large number of users wanting to learn the language with engaging content.  

In our interviews with Yvonne’s lo-fi and hi-fi designs, the feedback was encouraging. Many believed this would be a great solution to learn a language, and they would use it! They also helped us prioritize the features we have started to design and develop like flash cards and the learning journal.

The solution

Gaja! is a Chrome extension that helps you learn the Korean language while watching Korean dramas, movies, and videos. The learning experience is immersive, motivating, and saves time because you’re learning through the videos you already want to watch.

Features include / will include: Dual Korean-English Subtitles (slide 2) , individual word translation/definitions (click last Korean word on slide 2), a learning journal to review vocabulary and pronunciation (slides 3 and 4), and more in the future.

Final Hi-Fi Design by Yvonne
Thumbnail by Yvonne

Technical implementation

Where is it hosted? Eventually in the Google chrome store

What is your tech stack? HTML, CSS, and Vanilla JavaScript

What was the hardest part of development?  We had difficulty understanding how a chrome extension works and getting out elements to show up on the DOM.

What are some key takeaways? We learned from each other and open source code - be comfortable exploring the unknown and breaking things.

Future Steps

At this stage, and with some hopefully new jobs in the near future, we do not have any plans to continue with the project. We really enjoyed building this product though and learned a lot in the process.

Learnings

Product Manager Learnings:

Taylor Joyce

As a PM in this cohort I learned...

1. The user knows best - you may think you have the perfect feature in mind, but the user may have a different idea.

2. The power of a 1:1 and listening to the team you work with.

3. There are a lot of great software/platforms to use - it’s important to be intentional when adding a new tool for your team.

Designer Learnings:

Yvonne Chen

As a Designer in this cohort I learned...

1. Think not only like a designer but also engineer.

I have usually just worked solo or with other designers. It was a valuable learning experience working with a great PM and Developer.

2. Two-ways communication

Since we had limited time to achieve our goals, it would be time saving to understand if I got the meaning of the conversation correctly.

3. Iteration do helps

Going through a full iteration process with my team was awesome. Especially in my freelancing experience it's almost never the case. I can see where it really makes the difference.

Developer Learnings:

Sophie Lai

As a Developer in this cohort I learned...

1. Pair-programming is fun!(re-confirmed)

It’s nice to get a second pair of eyes on the code, especially when we’re both learning something new!

2. Know your audience and how to communicate

While use specific vocabulary when doing pair-programming is helpful and great, it doesn’t always translate well to those with less developer experience.  So know your audience and meet them where they are.  This will help everyone, especially your team, understand where the development progress is and what issues to anticipate.

3. Don't be afraid to break things when learning

Developer's Learnings:

Jose Mendez

As a Developer in this cohort I learned…

1. Ask for help

New things can be hard to do alone, having two brains work together is better than one!

2. Research is important

Learning to research and take time to understand the product that you are making helps you prioritize the most important things and can save you a lot of time trying to find new solutions and debugging

3. Follow steps, stay organized

Skipping ahead to save time might end up being costly if you don’t understand what is going on. Always commit code regularly as well.

Full Team Learning

Overall, we learned the importance of clear communication especially when working with a fully remote team.