Applying Design to Learning Arabic

Learning Arabic is already difficult — there's a different alphabet, confusing dialects, and negativity about the Middle East. But what makes it harder is that most resources are boring. This project aims to change that!

This is a passion project of resources make from scratch that aim to be fun and challenge negative stereotypes of the Middle East.

Arabic Alphabet App [in progress]

All the students in my Arabic class relied on books or non-Arabic specific apps (like spaced-repetition software). Most online resources for Arabic were simplistic or uninspiring. Even the good ones had no way to record progress, requiring the student to keep all notes on paper.

I wanted to start at the beginning and design an app for learning the alphabet. Although there are already alphabet apps, this will have three distinguishing components:

• The ability to keep track of the user’s progress and provide feedback

• A logical system for learning (integrating grammar and vocabulary)

• To be aesthetic — to have joyful interactions and beautiful photography that would reflect a positive side of the Arab world.

Design System

To counteract negative stereotypes of the Middle East, the design of the app aims to be bold but playful, simple but beautiful.

The final design system will also include modals and photography of the region, which hopefully will be from local photographers.

The System in Action

One of the advantages that adult language learners have is our analytical skills, so it was important that grammar (the analytical framework of a language) was fully integrated into the app, and not just an add on.

People learn in different ways so it was also important to include a variety of inputs, both audio and visual.

This project is still in progress and the next stage is designing the tracking of a user's progress. Something I will definitely be working on are easter eggs to help maintain a user's motivation, because language learning is a loooong journey!

I Heart Arabic: the website [on hold]

Among other things, I made videos for vocabulary, PDFs for grammar, and kept a post-it note blog about my progress in a crazy difficult Arabic class. There are tentative plans to take advantage of my Webflow skills and build a new site in 2020...