italki Mobile App – in progress
Improving the mobile experience for language tutors
What is italki?
italki is a web platform for connecting language tutors with language students, so that they can set up private lessons via Skype. Tutors can set their own prices and hours, and create their own lesson plans. Students can browse through tutor profiles to find the right tutor for them.
Many italki tutors teach on italki as their full-time job, but are often away from their desktop computers. On italki's current mobile website, it is difficult for teachers to communicate with their students, accept lesson requests, leave feedback after their lessons, and view their schedule. This can result in missed lessons, requests going unnoticed and unaccepted, and miscommunications between tutors and students.
To find out more how tutors around the world use italki, I created a survey for experienced users who have taught at least 20 lessons (thank you to the team at italki for sending the survey to tutors!). With almost 100 responses, I was able to get more incite on how others use the product. Here are the highlights:
Many respondents wrote in depth about their pain points when using the italki mobile site. All responses were anonymous. Here are a few incites:
"I need to be able to quickly access notifications, view student profiles, accept and reject lessons, and send messages to students. I generally only use these features when I am away from the computer, and the rest I do on the desktop. I haven't used the mobile site in a while because I found it inconvenient. I just force the desktop version on my phone."
"I would like to be able to accept and reject lessons while on the move, but it's really difficult and takes a long time on my mobile. In fact, I have ended up with a strike when I was on holiday and could not respond in time to a request."
"I am constantly checking my schedule, and it's so annoying getting to it every time!"
User Persona: Meet Itamar
Itamar is an English and Hebrew tutor from Israel. A language enthusiast, he also speaks, Yiddish, German, French, Dutch and Japanese. As an experienced italki user, he has taught over 400 lessons (about 20/week) to about 70 students. When he is not giving lessons on Skype, he is often away from his computer, and finds it inconvenient to manage his account via his phone. To view organize his schedule he manually inputs his lessons into a calendar outside of italki, and to communicate with his students he uses italki messaging, or Skype, depending on the student.
The current italki calendar only displays a monthly calendar with a list of lessons within each day, and is not optimized for mobile. The calendar should give the user an overview for the month/week, and display their schedule of lessons for the day.
Currently on italki.com, all messages are grouped together. However most tutors indicated that they're only interested in communicating with their students. The messaging feature should separate or distinguish messages from students from messages from non-students.
When the user receives an urgant notification (a lesson request, for example) while using the italki app, the notification should interrupt them so that they can respond as soon as possible.
italki's current mobile nav is hidden hidden within a hamburger icon, that opens to be an overlay panel. This keeps the most important features hidden at all times. Users don't see message or notification alerts unless they open the panel. The most important features (notifications, messaging, schedule, etc.) should be visible and accessible at all times.