the Apollo story:

One quarter every year at the University of Washington, there is a design class that is sponsored by Microsoft. There is always a theme that teams are told to supplement into their designs to help the world become a better place. This quarter we were told to implement Conversation User Interface (CUI) into some aspect of people's lives. My team decided to look into the education space and explore how CUI can change the way education is being taught and delivered. 

Class: Microsoft Expo

Role: User Research, Wireframe, Video Editing, Filming, Presenter.

Team members: Christine You, Paige Kwon, Jordan Kiga, Camila De Vincenzo, Sarah          O'Connor, and Kim Le.



Apollo is a Conversational User Interface (CUI) that provides an individualized learning experience for students by catering to their learning styles, preferences, and life experiences. Being a cross-platform CUI it allows students to utilize it within their existing devices such as computers, tablets, or mobile phones making it convenient to access. The goal with Apollo is not to replace teachers, but bridge the gap between students and teachers and create a more rewarding experience for both.


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Key features: 


Apollo speaking

When the student is using Apollo on their device they have visual and audio feedback when Apollo is responding and speaking to the student. 


Apollo listening

When the student asks Apollo a question or is speaking to Apollo, they have visual feedback that Apollo is listening and processing their request. 


TEacher's feedback

Apollo provides feedback to the teacher about each student, and shows their progress so that way they can see which student may need extra help. 



Students can ask Apollo to search up topics on the web, and when Apollo finds the results it alerts the student with a small notification in the corner of the screen and navigate them to the page. 


why is apollo important:

To gather data in the realm of education we knew it was important to go to high schools and perform user research there. We were able to go to three different size schools and interview about 30 students in total and gather some insight. We found that no matter the size of the school or resources they had available to the students, systemic limitations in the current educational system lead to students not getting an individualized education experience. This is where we found that Apollo would benefit the student the most because Apollo is able to grow and evolve alongside the student and guide them with their educational and personal journey when they need.



To put Apollo to the test in the real setting, we had to create a "wizard of oz" style prototype. This is where we had two team members go to the high school and interview one student at a time, and while doing so had facetime on so the other team member who was on campus would collect data about the student. After a brief interview and getting to know the student we had the student talk into the computer with a looping video and had them think they were talking to Apollo. 

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final thoughts:

Our goal with creating Apollo was not to challenge or change the current school room, but to present a tool that can help students and teachers work together to achieve whatever future endeavor they wish to. However, working on Apollo has definitely showed me what it truly means to be a user researcher as I had to move to many different locations and gather the data. Not only in that aspect but has proved the importance of language design, which I think gets neglected. In this project I think was where I had to pay the most attention to detail in terms on realizing how important smaller data is on affecting the overall design solution outcome.