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the Universe Language Gap

Olivia App Splash Screen on iPhone




Vocabulary app for Olivia sci-fi series


Voice-command app


Dive into a realm where learning meets imagination with App of the Anointed (AOTA), the innovative vocabulary app that transforms the way readers of the Olivia Book Series experience this science fiction world. Crafted as part of CareerFoundry’s Intro to UX project, AOTA aims to enhance the reader's understanding of world-specific complex concepts and characters, making their reading journey more immersive and engaging.



My Role

UX Researcher and Designer.



The Challenge

Science fiction enthralls us with its intricate realms, futuristic marvels, and otherworldly ideas. Yet, embarking on these journeys can prove daunting, particularly in the face of unfamiliar terminology. The Olivia Sci-Fi Book Series presents a similar conundrum, unfolding on a fictional planet with its distinct culture and rules, demanding a lexicon of its own. Whether you’re a devoted parent, a soul crunched for time, or an impassioned reader, the intricacies can disrupt the harmony of your odyssey.

The Mission

AOTA’s mission is threefold—

Enhanced Comprehension

Empower readers to grasp vocabulary effortlessly, so they can focus on the thrill of the story.

Seamless Immersion 

Immerse readers in the sci-fi universe, staying absorbed without interruption.

Personalized Assistance

Minimize reliance on context and memory, allowing the reader to fully enjoy the narrative.


The Desired Impact

By bridging the gap between series enthusiasts and intricate terminology, AOTA promises to elevate the reading experience and deepen one's connection to the series.


Meet the Readers

Through in-depth user interviews, I’ve identified three reader personas—

Happy Mother's Day

The Busy Parent

Juggling numerous responsibilities, they yearn to maximize their limited reading time.


“As a busy parent I want to be able to access world-specific vocabulary definitions, no matter what format I’m reading in, so that I don’t lose too much of my valuable and limited reading time.”

Businesswoman in Office

The Busy Beaver

With a bustling work and social life, they seek a seamless way to stay engaged in their favorite novel.


As someone with limited time to dedicate to my hobbies I want an easy-to-use resource for accessing vocabulary definitions, character profiles, and world mapping so that I can remain engaged in reading with the smallest possible interruption.”

Reading Outdoors

The Serial Reader

Consuming multiple books at a time, they require a tool to navigate the intricate web of vocabulary that is part of the Olivia series.


“As an avid sci-fi/fantasy reader—and huge Olivia fan—I want to be better able to understand the vocabulary, characters, and other world-specific content relevant to the book I am reading so that I can better follow along with the storyline.”

My Approach

To develop AOTA, I followed a comprehensive process:


Competitive Analysis

Studied popular vocabulary apps Memrise, Vocabulary, and WordPal to distill best practices. 


User Interviews

Engaged with avid sci-fi and fantasy readers to uncover pain points and needs. During this process I learned that users get frustrated when reading a book that has too many details and/or characters to keep track of, that it takes seeing the vocabulary words a couple times before they recall it, and they find that it can be difficult to reference back to challenging vocabulary.

Woman in red and arm brace
People Wearing Glasses
Studio Portrait

Persona Creation

Metamorphosed the insights from those virtual interviews into a relatable persona, Samantha “Sammie” Brown. As a busy mom of 2, she leads a very full life with limited downtime. She loves reading whenever she can and can benefit from having limited distractions while reading the latest novel from her favorite Olivia series

Sammi Brown User Persona

Problem Statements

Defined Sammie’s challenges and formulated a hypothesis:

Sammi needs a way to be able to fully enjoy, follow along with, and stay engaged in her sci-fi novel during the limited time she has available to read.

We will know that this is true when she believes herself to have a better understanding of her novel, thus an elevated reading experience, while lessening the need to rely solely on context and/or her memory.

We believe that by developing a mobile application that integrates seamlessly with the voice command functionality of mobile devices, thereby creating the ability to be able to ask the device for the definition of a story-specific word or concept for Sammi, we will achieve maximizing her coveted story-reading time by enabling her to better connect to the story.

User Flows

Mapped out intuitive user journeys for seamless interaction. This included the main tasks: account sign up, manually request information or definition, and using the phone's voice command feature.

Account Set up Task Flow
Manual Requests Task Flow
Voice Request Task Flow


Translated user flows into tangible app screens for clarity. I first quickly iterated some lo fi sketches to flesh out my idea of what I thought the screens should look like.

Lo fidelity sketches


Crafted mid-fidelity wireframes to visualize the app’s core features. I took my sketches and recreated them in Adobe Photoshop, iterating as I did so. 

Onboarding screens—I created 3 screens to introduce users to the most important features of this app.

Ask Siri or Alexa
Better understand
Ready to enhance your reading experience?

Account Set-up screens—To personalize the user's experience, it was important to input which books the reader has read, allow readers to set up reminders, and inform the app if hearing impaired so it can return results on screen when asked a question.

Select series books read
Set up reading reminders
Hearing impaired?

Home screen—I created a simple to use Home Screen that utilizes a dynamic search field and displays the results in a pop-up overlay. 

Mid fidelity mockup of Home Screen
Mid fidelity mockup of overlay

Usability Testing

Involved real readers to refine the app’s usability. I created a usability test plan that involved five 10-minute sessions with potential users and observed their words and actions as they attempted to complete specific tasks.

Usability Test Plan

Feedback Integration

Organized observations into a test report with scoring based on 'Jakob Nielsen’s Error Severity Rating Scale' in order to know what user feedback to incorporate to enhance the final design

Usability test report
AOTA onboarding screen on iPhone

The Solution

AOTA’s design is elegant and user-centric. Seamlessly access word definitions by typing them in the dynamic search field or effortlessly integrate the app with voice command features like Siri or Alexa. For visually impaired users, the voice command feature displays answers on-screen for easy comprehension.


Unveil the Secrets of the Anointed

With AOTA (App of the Anointed), you’ll explore this science fiction world with newfound confidence. Say goodbye to interruptions, lost context, and confusion over terminology. Immerse yourself in the intricate details of your favorite series, as AOTA transforms your reading experience into a captivating adventure.

AOTA: Bridging the Universe Language Gap.


My Learnings

There were a couple key findings that came out of my Intro to UX project experience:

Recognizing the Value of User Research

Although interacting with potential users has always been a part of my design approach, I hadn't traditionally integrated it into my initial process. The eye-opening experience of conversing with users prior to embarking on the design journey profoundly altered my preconceived solution. What I first thought was the answer shifted dramatically upon hearing user perspectives. These revelations prompted me to recognize that integrating voice commands could be a pivotal app feature, not only for this series but could be beneficial for other extended sci-fi and fantasy stories. 

Beyond the Glossary

Numerous science fiction and fantasy novels incorporate glossaries to introduce readers to crucial terms and ideas, yet these references are seldom revisited. Readers often perceive glossaries as diverting them from the narrative, leading them to decipher nuances through contextual cues. This presents a great opportunity to improve the experience for readers of this series and other series

What's Next?

The scope of this project extended solely to the creation and testing of an initial prototype. Subsequently, my next steps involve expanding the concept further, infusing it with style, and establishing a more refined layout for subsequent testing phases. This entails crafting a distinct visual identity and developing the user interface. However, the crux of the matter lies in concentrating extensively on the information architecture of this application. A well-defined and meticulously structured database forms the backbone of the application, and its success hinges upon this critical foundation.

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