Huqariq and Qillqaq
Peruvian indigenous language speakers, specially Quechua, who have an Android smartphone.
UX/UI designer mainly to improve the initial prototypes through better user experience and design, adding other language options and illustrations.
Illustrator, Photoshop, Figma, Pen and paper, Notion
User research, Personas, Brand and UI Redesign, Lo-fi and Hi-fi Wireframing
I participated in two app projects created by the Siminchikkunarayku Foundation, a collective which creates digital tools for indigenous languages in Peru. These apps are Huqariq, an app used to collect corpus data from indigenous native speakers, and Qillqaq, an app that indigenous speakers can use to transcribe audios and share them.
At the moment, the prototypes are programmed to only work with Quechua Chanka and Quechua Collao, two Quechua variants from Peru; the former spoken in the Ayacucho region and the latter in the Cusco region. Nevertheless, the team wanted to update the apps so they can be presented to different stakeholders and apply for financing to keep on developing them and expand it to other languages such as Aymara, Awajun, Shipibo Konibo and Ashaninka.
These apps are meant to be free as they contribute to speech recognition research and they are to be used by indigenous speakers in Peru. These users need digital accessibility tools as they are not necessarily fluent in the dominant Peruvian language: Spanish. There are 4 million of Peruvians who speak 48 indigenous languages (44 Amazonic and 4 Andean languages).
There was a need to redesign both the user experience and the aesthetics of the two apps Huqariq and Qillqaq, to make them easier to use, more inclusive and accesible.
The solution process
I firstly designed the app Huqariq through diagnosis, wireframes and prototype and then I designed Qillqaq based on the former app, following the same steps.
I made a diagnosis for the Qillqaq app, screen by screen and presented it to Rodolfo, the team leader. I referred here to what we could do in the short term and also presented ideas for long term improvement and growth.
I worked using user research that had already been recollected for the apps beforehand through surveys and 1-to-1 interviews. The target group was of 1 million Quechua speakers and ideally the group would grow as more native languages were being added to the apps. I created a few personas having in mind the immediate users, which were Quechua speakers.
I also made a moodboard of graphic styles for the UI of the app, including buttons, color palettes and typography, and some illustrations that went with the look and feel of what I felt was appropriate for the app.
I then proceeded to redesign the logos, where I decided to give it a flat design style and using negative space. The old logos were difficult to read in mobile so it was important to redefine them but keep the same symbols they represented.
After a few meetings and feedback I proceeded with designing some wireframes on paper. I did a rough pass first and then a second pass, where I corrected the order and addition/deletion of some panels.
Once the wireframe sketches was approved, I started designing hi-fi wireframes on a Figma file, adding the buttons, text and basic graphics to the digital prototype, as well as creating the links and interactions between screens. Here we noticed that we might add a few new panels, such as Donate panel, at the end of the flow.
Illustrations and demo
Finally, I added illustrations I made myself depicting Andean and Amazonian people, who represent the users of the app, using traditional clothes from their regions and cultures.
After a few iteration, the Figma prototype passed to the development team to be coded into the Android app.
Constraints and limitations of the project
I could only rely on past user research but not on recent studies and interviews and our demographic is not digitally immersed. I mentioned on my diagnosis that it would be important to update our user research as little documented about the users of these apps. This is because these apps are pioneers on their field of speech-recognition on indigenous languages.
To proceed with user research on Quechua-speaking users is an endeavour which requires planning, financing and an appropriate plan, as it would involve the app being used by users who speak different indigenous languages and who have very little experience with digital devices and tools. It requires for the team to go to these regions to help users personally, which is hard at the time being due to lack of funding and the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing made online in Peru is still hard to apply as users on remote areas do not have much access to Internet. Nevertheless, our partner association Llamacha is currently working on a new project related to this one, where exhaustive user research will be conducted and updated.
Profile and phrase transcription
What did I learn
This was my first UX/UI project so I learned a lot by working on it about the process, making wireframes and using Figma. I noticed how important accessibility needs to be thought and planned, even though sometimes you cannot afford to do everything that is required to be done, such as user research.
I think this is a vital part of the user experience design process that I wish I will be able to experiment on other projects regarding accessibility. I also learned a lot about speech-recognition software development as well as language corpus and transcript tools, which are topics I am not familiar with. I want to be able to work on other indigenous language apps to be able to understand better the UX behind them and be able to formulate better solutions to their problems.
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