Christy Liu
UX Design + Strategy

UX ━ Rosetta Stone for Travel


Rosetta Stone for Travellers (Redesign)



Providing more value to travellers with an app that extends their language lessons from software to real world practice.


Project Type: 2-Month Experience Design Course Project (2016), Research to Prototype Mobile App, View Slides

Team Members: Anita Chen, Cindy Chien, Jess Lieu, Levona Yim

My Roles: Content Design (Slides), Project Management, Research, UX Design Overview, Voiceover

Programs: Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator


The conceptual project is from a senior course in the design program. We conducted extensive research on Rosetta Stone, a global language-learning software company that teaches on desktop and mobile devices through CDs or online subscription. Their mission is to empower people to learn new languages and help them connect better with the world around them. Their software teaches languages through repetitive lessons of various levels and topics in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.


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.



Over the last few years, Rosetta Stone's overall revenue has been declining, particularly in their consumer revenue, as people may not see enough value in subscribing. Currently, their subscription prices are between CAD$5.99 to CAD$16.99 per month. Their competitors, such as Duolingo and Buusu, provide a similar learning experience for free. I was particularly analyzing their financial statements, involvements, and competitors.




Creating a new level of digital immersion to provide more value to current subscribers and attract non-subscribers.

Company + Competitor Research

We went deeper into the research to narrow down the business problem and find insights to drive our design solution. 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. We wanted to take it further from e-learning to travel and become more valuable to their subscribers.

As Rosetta Stone is a language learning software company, we tried out the app ourselves to see what could be improved. To add more value to current subscribers, we want Rosetta Stone 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. 

Personas + Journey Frameworks

From our research online, we found that there was a disconnect between learning languages on the app and applying the knowledge while travelling. The app's current user interface is also not very organized and useful for travellers. 

From creating a journey framework for a current user learning a language for travelling, we found pain points in preparing, communicating, and reflecting. I helped in coming up with the different stages and pain points as I considered the journey of a traveller. We kept into consideration that users should be immersed in their travel experience and not have to take out their phone for language help all the time.


Ideation + Initial Wireframes

Trying out the current Rosetta Stone app ourselves, we found what they were doing well and what could be improved. I noticed that the app was locked to landscape mode and that would be inconvenient for travellers as they move around a lot. We experimented with the layout of the app while still ensuring that it represented the brand for consistency. Below are screenshots of their current app.


From the pain points, we came up with solutions such as Saved Phrases, Voice Translator, and Custom Lessons. Each of us explored different interface layouts through sketches and wireframes before selecting the best ones. I put together a wireframes document to present the process. View Wireframes

My rough sketches of home screen, voice translator and saved phrases

My rough sketches of home screen, voice translator and saved phrases

Wireframes by team (Levona and Cindy)

Wireframes by team (Levona and Cindy)


From constant refinements based on feedback and testing, we took out distractions, and ensured that design decisions provided more value to users. In return, the value provided to users would become value provided to Rosetta Stone. Throughout the process, I conducted quality checks on the flow and consistency of the experience and interface. Majority of the UX and UI were designed by my teammates, Levona and Cindy.

Our final design is not only a redesign of the interface but also an extension to the current app with the options to save phrases, do voice translations through a mic, and receive custom lessons. All of these extend the current Rosetta Stone app to help users, particularly travellers, before, during, and after their trip. View Slides

1. Planning for Travel: Prepare

In the Planning for Travel phase, we considered the pain point of the user not knowing how to apply what they have learnt into context as they prepare for their trip.

In the current Rosetta Stone app, the content is not organized clearly, only consisting of lessons. The orientation is also only locked to horizontal landscape and this is particularly tough for travellers that are on the go.

Our proposed design is a new lesson UI that has more hierarchy as well as a Custom Lessons section based on the user's language struggles. A global navigation menu was also added to help users go through our proposed sections conveniently. We also designed a vertical orientation option, considering that most people hold their phones vertically.


In the current app, users cannot save any sections that interest them or that they struggle with. Repetition and practice are key to learning anything, especially a new language. We not only reorganized the lesson layout, but also added in options to save phrases as well as making some of their existing icons more intuitive.


This is the Saved Phrases section that allows users to organize the phrases into folders, search and filter, as well as tapping into their saved section.

2. During Travel: Communicate

In the During Travel phase, we delved into pain points of communication. This includes being not able to remember phrases learned, uncertainty if language is spoken correctly, and having to pull out phone for translation. Our main goal of this project was to allow for one to immerse in the travel experience.

We added a Translator section and incorporated a compatibility with a headset or earpiece. We considered using one that already exists, like Pilot, but we realized that users would have to shell out more for these specialized pieces of hardware that may not be to their liking. The app will recognize 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.

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 has the options of playing it out loud, saving the phrase, and seeing it in both languages. 


3. Post-Travel: Reflect

When returning from a trip, a lot of reflection often occurs. I particularly considered this phase, coming up with pain points such as the inability to recall challenging words and forgetting words that were learned during the trip. I believe that this phase needs to be included in the overall design of the experience.

To review challenging phrases from the trip, the user can go to Saved Phrases and view not only lessons, but also the translations they made.


The most unique would be Custom Lessons - users are recommended lessons based on the translations and phrases saved. This is leveraging the power of AI and data. The in-lesson structure follows the existing regular lessons, and the exercises are pulled from the bank that Rosetta Stone already has. Lessons refresh every 10 phrases saved, however, instead of having the option to be removed, I would also allow for archiving.


After learning a particular language, Rosetta Stone also allows users to switch to other languages on the app. In order to differentiate the account tab from the rest of the app, we made it a pop-up. I wanted to take advantage of this to create a microinteraction. When they switch, they can see an interactive world map that highlights other areas they can travel to that speak the language. This can encourage travelling and further the usage of Rosetta Stone for future trips. 


Values for Business + Customers



With the limited time available to complete the project as best as we can, I believe this turned out great. This was one of the most intensive projects I've been involved with, especially with a team that I only just met in class. My familiarity in a lot of areas was useful as I took on several important roles to ensure the project was done well. Our team went through a lot of iterations and I'm glad that we made a lot of appropriate decisions.

Future Improvements

There were a few parts that could be improved such as the custom lessons which would be very valuable to language learners. Overall, redesigning an existing app was quite a challenge as we had to consider branding and the current users. Despite the challenge, we believe we managed to balance the value for both Rosetta Stone and their customers with our proposed solution.