Duolingo / Work Experience
Duolingo is a language learning app. Below are samples of my work during my 3 years at the company. Most of what’s shown is my latest work from when I was on the monetization team, however I’ve included designs from Stories and Clubs as well.
Duolingo monetizes in three ways; ads, in-app purchases (IAPs), and our paid subscription. Of the three, we focused primarily on our subscription feature called Plus. We iterated on the suite of premium features and created compelling hooks so our free users might start a free trial.
The examples above show screens I designed for the features Progress Quiz and Learning Stats. Progress Quiz allows Plus members to take specialized quizzes that measure ones learning. Learning Stats are user statistics about their behavior on Duolingo. Both of these are included with Plus.
A very important part of the funnel for converting users to subscribers is on the purchase page. Small changes can lead to huge impact. The purchase flow and page itself has gone through a plethora of designs and experiments, from a variety of designers. Here are a few changes I made during my time on the team.
Promoting Plus Trial to Free Users
Another part of monetization was to figure out compelling ways to get our free users to try our premium subscription. We leveraged existing game mechanics on Duolingo to do so.
For those of you unfamiliar with Duolingo, the game mechanics currently in the core learning experience are gems (an in app currency to cash in for boosters) and health (a meter you need to have filled in order to do a new lesson).
Testing out of levels
The examples above shows mechanics I designed that surfaces the Plus Free Trial to free users. Since Plus offers unlimited health and testing out of levels, I integrated the trial as an additional option alongside spending gems. In instances where users don’t have gems, the Plus options becomes more highlighted.
Not enough gems
This proved to be incredibly successful in getting more users to start a Plus free trial. It also did well in converting trial users into subscribers because we were able to get the attention of a cohort of users that commonly cash in gems to use these features.
New Years Promotion
Every year, Duolingo offers a special promotional discount for the Plus Subscription. New Years is a very important time of year for Duolingo as the company sees a huge resurgence of old users and an influx of new users. Because of its importance, we often test various design and run several experiments ahead of time, to ensure that we run the most successful campaign.
This year, we tested two themes along with various sub experiments about questions we had on some details:
- how long the promotion period should be (24 hours vs. 48 hours)
- what percent the discount should be (50% or something else?)
- how many packages to present to the user (2 vs. 3 package offers)
- animated vs. not animated
The winning combination was launched on all 3 platforms iOS, Android and Web, and a promotional email was sent to all our users. I worked on delivering all the designs and screens for this campaign.
Animation credit: Kurt Hartfelder
During my time at Duolingo, I also worked as the founding designer on a beta featured called Stories. Stories is an intermediate / advanced tool that offers Duolingo style exercises while reading and listening to a narrative or dialogue. All the content and images are created by Duolingo. Try it out here!
Stories lesson experience
I also worked as the founding designer for a feature called Clubs. Clubs was a groups feature on Duolingo. Within a group, users had a shared feed that would fill with language games and exercises that could be completed collaboratively. Unfortunately, this feature was killed. There were many hurdles and challenges with this feature, but I’d be happy to talk about all the lessons I learned from this time! Duolingo is currently working on a new social feature that I am really excited about. Stay tuned.
While not all my work is listed here, I’d be happy to talk about my experiences on each of the teams that I was able to be a part of during my time at Duolingo.