Mana Habibian
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Client Project


Improving literacy through social impact

“Literacy has never been more necessary for development, it is key to communication and learning of all kinds and a fundamental condition of access to today’s knowledge societies. With socio-economic disparities increasing and global crises over food, water and energy, literacy is a survival tool in a fiercely competitive world.” - UNESCO



Simbi is a peer-to-peer reading app that aims to improve student literacy.  It allows students to read out loud and record books (which creates an audio-visual book) that another student across the world can listen to and follow along at their own pace. Simbi gives students in higher income countries incentive to read out loud, as they can directly help improve the literacy rates overseas, while at the same time giving teachers time-saving insights.


Project Deliverables

User Research & CC Analysis

User Persona & Storyboarding

Feature prioritization

Site map & User flow


Usability testing


The Challenge

After our client meeting with Founder, Aaron Friedland, we decided to focus on the teacher perspective rather than the students as Simbi as a business is targeting teachers and educational institutions to expand their customer base. To give some context, SiMBi has a target to be implemented in 1,000 classrooms in North America by 2019, with the majority of their revenue base coming from either school districts or individual teachers.

Keeping that in mind, and after conducting research we wanted to answer the following questions : 

  • How do we create a future-proof product in line with normative trends and preferences in education ?

  • How can we create an all-inclusive experience, allowing teachers to fairly divide attention between top performing students and those requiring more help ? 

  • How can SIMBI serve to provide a more holistic, and enjoyable experience for both teachers and students ?


The Solution

Focusing on the teacher perspective, we designed a platform that has the following :

  • Dashboard → as the main workspace, where a teacher will be able to have all the things they need, such as student progress, the assigned books etc in one place  -  customizable so that it is catered to each teacher’s needs.

  • Nested User Groups → so that the teacher is able to create different student groups within classrooms and assign different books based on reading levels.

  • Library → Showcasing all books, where the teacher can assign books, or the user can record or read while listening. 

  • Reading while Listening (RWL) and Recording  options for books in the library.

  • Gamification → To increase engagement, a badge / reward system was introduced to make reading more fun.

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