Coach Ana Voice App

Improving communication efficiency through real-time voice coaching experience

UI/UX Design Lead Wei Yan | Lead Technical Architect Kyle Coburn | Timeline 3 Weeks

My role

I led the project as the only designer in house. The whole project took us 3 weeks from conception to launch.

The background

A voice app addressing HOW we communicate

Every year, billions are spent in manual interventions related to "how we communicate" with 0-5 years old and in K-12 education, Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Crisis Line Operators and others. The truth is that, regardless of someone's accent, level of mastery of a language, or intentions, HOW we say things matter. I was part of an ambitious project to design the interface for a new pending voice technology: Suvotek.

the challenge

New interface in one month with ongoing research

I was tasked to deliver the final prototype within one month. During that period, our data science team is still working on the voice technology. ( The technology is part of a research paper put together by our data scientist Dr.Ying Li: “Acoustic Measures for Real-Time Voice Coaching” selected for publication by KDD. If you'd like to check here). The combination of a fixed deadline and uncertainties of the technology meant I needed to get the experience right within the first two week with expected iterations after that.

the challenge

Get aligned with everyone

To discover the best way to meet user needs with the new pending technology, I initiated a couple of meetings with our major stakeholders to learn about Suvoteck and the research we had done. I soon realized that our high level goals were to coach users to communicate effectively by offering real-time feedback. We conducted interviews with participants in fields of law, tutors, lecturers and meeting hosts. Our goals were to understand the challenges users faced in a variety of contexts.

1. salesman would like to know how much they are talking and listening
2. lawyers would like to train their clients to talk in a more calm way
3. parents would like to talk with children in a more respectable way

After that, I partnered with the data team to explore what acoustic metrics for MVP to indicate HOW a person is communicating thier ideas. (paper source here) My goal is trying to transfer a high-tech language to a intuitive visual design that our users can easily understand.

The approach

Narrow the scope, then iteration

Our goal was to get the MVP version to the wild as soon as possible. This will help us validate or disprove it accurately by quantitative data instead of internal opinions. This will help us optimize appropriately to the real needs and wants of the users.

I partnered with potential users to find a balance in the information and work we would be asking them to put in. This ultimately drove how I think about and create the visual language for speakers to monitor and adjust their communication style. I went from bare-bone blueprints in the form of wireframes to pixel perfect designs for the IOS App. All covered in the recognizable bold and friendly Coach Ana look and feel.


Bold but friendly

"Everything has a personality: everything sends an emotional signal. Even where this was not the intention of the designer, the people who view the website infer personalities and experience emotions."— Don Norman

I created a form that would require as little input as possible for the user to ensure we give the most precise live feedback.


You can't improve what you can't measure

I encountered a typical case of building a product with the potential with a new technological capacity. For MVP version 1.0, I didn't think of a way to define success and set tangible goals.

Get the first draft out quickly. Building quick prototypes allowed us to get a better feeling of what could be the experience for someone consuming one of these stories on their phone. While some interactions felt very compelling, we knew we needed to create a form that would require as little input as possible for the user to ensure we give the most precise live feedback. We also worked on stripping away the distractions and focus on what really mattered.

Next Project