Product Designer at Quora

Dragon Mobile Assistant

Role: Class project; One of five HCI students

Date: 2014

Project: Redesigned Dragon Mobile Assistant, a popular personal assistant for Android. We worked closely with professional virtual assistant designers at Nuance Communications to receive mentorship throughout the process.


Background Research

  • Literature review

  • Expert evaluations and task analysis

  • Analysis of Google Play user reviews

  • Focus group discussions

  • Analysis of survey data

  • Independently-run survey of 200+ mobile assistant users

Feature Development

  • 50+ features

  • Divided into Must Have, Should Have, and Nice-to-Have Features

Concept Development

  • Concepts developed based on background research and features


Background Research

Qualitative Survey Results (example questions)

What do you like about your current mobile assistant?

  • Voice recognition

  • Efficiency/convenience

  • Hands-free capabilities

  • Personality

  • Usability

  • Functionality

  • Driving

What do you dislike about your current mobile assistant?

  • Voice recognition

  • Efficiency

  • Activation

  • Usability

  • Voice

  • Functionality

  • Privacy

Quantitative Survey Results
Research Analysis

Most frequent uses:

  1. Voice calling

  2. Navigation

  3. Text Messaging

Problems with existing assistants:
  1. Feeling of segreation
    • Often forgotten
    • Need to be “open”
    • Poor app integration
  2. Little personality
    • Robotic conversations
    • Microphone icons
  3. Lack of "delight"
    • Famous for being wrong


Sample Features (taken from list of 50+, based on research analysis)

Hands-free operation



In-car operation & safety


Feedback while speaking

  • Text message readback

  • Correct speaking errors

List of available features

Concept Development

Our prototype goes by the codename Tamagotchi- referencing the personality that came with the toy we all played with in the 90's. 


Tamagotchi will be accessible as a chat head on every screen.  

In most mobile assistants, when a user requests to access another app (such as Spotify), the assistant brings them to the new app and then no longer be available.

With this chat head model, Tamagotchi will be with users every step of the way and allows for seamless app transitions. 


Tamagotchi takes into account user patterns.

If the user frequently texts Joe on Facebook Messenger, that will be where Tamagotchi crafts a new text when text platform isn’t specified.

But, if the user decides to stray from the norm, he can easily correct the assistant.


Tamagotchi allows users to customize faces and voices -- making it a truly personal assistant. 


Follow up work

This page only documents half of our design process. We followed up with:

  1. Usability tests

  2. Low - medium fidelity prototypes

  3. Summative testing

  4. High fidelity prototype

  5. Formative testing

  6. High fidelity prototype iterations


internships + college activities