UX Design | User Research and Persona – Zane Fadul (Qian)

Oftentimes, we find the process of learning a language to be a long and grueling one; no matter how much you practice, the mastery of a language ultimately comes from your mastery of that so Candy and I wanted to alleviate that problem by creating an app that would aid language learners in better improving their word choice and thus their vocabulary. When I write essays in Chinese, I’m often corrected for my word choice, but because dictionaries cannot exactly tell me which word is the best choice for what I want to talk about, I need to consult a native Chinese speaker to help me out. However, not everyone has this luxury. So our project plan is “Melt,” a dictionary app that utilizes user verification to dynamically list words that closely match the definition of the word inputted by the user. We call it Melt as we equated it to a melting pot of culture, and turned the meaning into one that focuses on the melting together of languages.

For example, if I were a native Chinese speaker and I wanted to find a good English word that meant “牛仔裤”,  rather than the top result being “Cowboy Pants,” the first word would be “Jeans.” The user interface would then convey that the word was voted as the most-used words by English speakers. This would typically be shown using some type of small bar underneath the word.



As we began the design for this process, we used a story arc to dictate what a user could see themselves using Melt for. We start our scene with an interracial couple: Nick—a native English speaker—and Lily—a native Mandarin speaker. Despite not being able to completely understand each other at times, they are in love. Nick decides that he wants to propose to Lily on Valentine’s Day, but he just cannot find the words he wants to say to her to express his love in Mandarin. Using Melt, he is able to effectively melt her heart as well, as his proposal leaves her teary eyed, ending the scene in her saying “yes.” Another way we can show that it is the app that helps him to communicate better with her could be to include some smaller tidbits of them having some communication barriers earlier in the scene.


User Research:

To begin thinking about our persona for our project, we began drafting out some questions. These things included questions that you would see on the persona, such as age, location, etc. We also focused on asking questions regarding the persons cell phone usage habits. Since we know for a fact that almost every user is on their phone for a majority of the day, we wanted to ask what type of apps that users used most rather than how much they used them.

Here are some of our results:

In terms of qualitative data, we asked users what they thought our app’s main functions would extend to given just a simple description of the app’s functionalities.

Here are some of our results:

Surveys were done using Google Forms and WenJuanXing to accommodate those with and without a VPN.



We based personality traits and characteristics based on our qualitative data.


When creating a persona, it’s important to ask a variety of questions that may not necessarily fit the mold of what your project is. This will ensure that we get more information about the user in terms of general interests instead of kind of “gearing” them towards a conclusion that we want.

Danger of a Single Story Response – Zane Fadul (Chen)

When I watched this same video my freshman year, I thought a lot about the implications that this woman’s story has on many other conflicts in our lives. Misunderstanding has resulted in many social issues, and determining how you feel about another based on a single story, or based on stereotype is how we move farther from progress.

I feel that communication is important, and being able to effectively convey your ideas through different mediums can better help you be understood no matter where you are or who you’re talking to. I’m glad that throughout this class we learned not only how to put our ideas on a webpage, but we also learned many mediums to do it. Having projects regarding only audio, or video can help me better understand the importance of each aspect, and to not take each part for granted.

On the Right of Molotov Man Reading Response – Zane Fadul (Chen)

In On the Right of Molotov Man, the issue of recreation of a piece comes into play as we have to understand an artist’s interpretations of Copyright laws and the perspective of another artist’s take on the other’s interpretations. Ultimately, a piece of art with an obvious message behind it will keep that message, unless a shift in the message were perceived by a large amount of people. Just because this artist denied her initial understanding of the image does not mean that others will, and if she is trying to test the waters of Copyright Law and express a message other than the one initially accepted by the masses, it will not be as well received, especially if the message is very controversial.

Ecstasy of Influence Reading Response – Zane Fadul (Chen)

During this reading, it was a bit interesting trying to discern what is pure plagiarism and what is derived from influence. It is definitely hard to create an original idea when so many symbols and photos that we see nowadays have connections that are constantly reinforced as we live our lives. For example, a picture of the sun can be depicted in many different ways, but we will always associate a circle with short lines coming out of it as the sun, and we will always have our preconceived notion of what the sun means to us. (i.e. warmth, happiness, etc.)
On the whole, this reading provides a great insight as to the direction of art we are taking. I feel as though it’s safe to say that nowadays, art focuses more on the form rather than the content, which I feel is a dynamic change to the original goal of art. Art to me is something that conveys meaning in any way it can, and while my drawing of a snowman might not be received with as much enthusiasm as an interactive snowman making machine, we now focus more on how we convey our art rather than the message itself.

Week 12: Reading Response – Zane Fadul (Chen)

After reading this passage about net.art, I found it really interesting how much the internet has evolved. Nowadays, we almost always expect that a web page will either provide a service, or some expression of art. In this case, it’s actually quite surprising that there was initially such a disdain for those who were considered net artists. That being said, it’s also quite interesting to see how creative people had to be on the web in order to produce their art. For example, jodi.org is crazy. I mean this in every possible sense of the word, but I emphasize the good in the word crazy. It takes someone extremely eccentric to produce something as interesting and interactive as that website. The arrival of other sites I think has populated the world wide web enough that content has far exceeded the intent to simply spread information.

Week 11: Readings Reflection – Zane Fadul (Chen)

After reading Rand and Graham’s articles, I think that they speak to each other very well. While Rand discusses the way computer tools work, he approaches it from a designer’s mindset. I say I personally would agree with his claim that having a better traditional knowledge of a subject (like art) is very conducive to having an overall general understanding, including fundamentals.

Speaking from Graham’s article, there is a lot I disagree with. As a Computer Science major, I think that there is a lot more than just mathematics and programming to solve problems. While that is definitely a large chunk, there is more creativity that can come from this practice. The same can be said about the term “hacker.” This term has a lot of different meanings, and the way that Graham compares hackers to painters is not necessarily accurate. Although giving hackers the credibility of the creative backbone of computer science, hackers can span into any one capable of making changes to things that are not always necessarily online.