UX/UI Designer


helping you become a confident speaker



A web app that helps you learn and practice public speaking by addressing three key aspects: developing structure, practicing, and getting feedback.

02/2017 - 08/2017

24 Weeks

Wei-Hung Hsieh,
Marina Lazarevic,
Shelley Xia

Olen Ronning @10,000ft

My Responsibilities
Primary: Visual Design, UX/UI Design, Video Editing
Secondary: Prototyping, User Research

Sketch, Photoshop, InVision, Final Cut Pro, Keynote



How might we enhance the efficacy of speech preparation through an interactive and personalized approach? 

Oratorical proficiency is considered to be an extremely valuable skill, but only 28% of employers thought that graduates were well-prepared in oral communication upon entering the workforce[1]. Even in a university setting, public speaking can be challenging to teach and learn due to time and space constraints.

In our research, we learned one of the key links to learning speech skills is effective preparation.


About speaking

Unlike writing, speaking is a much more social form of communication.

It has a unique and sequential workflow. No step is skippable.

There are no shortcuts. Learning public speaking requires sustained practice.


Competitive Analysis

Most tools fall into one of these categories.

1. Inaccessible (high entry barrier) due to extra expense, or time and space constraints.

2. Too general. Most tools ignore users' unique strengths and weaknesses, as well as their topic and context.

3. Too narrow in focus. Many of them only address certain aspects of the speech prep process, such as timing.

Therefore, our goal is to create a tool that is:

more approachable with lower entry barrier,
personalized to fit each user's unique skill level and context,
and comprehensive so key aspects in speech prep are all covered.

And we're calling it podium. (All lowercase. It's official.)


Key Insights


Structure and organization can be hard.

Our participants struggle with structuring their content in an engaging way. Some of them would love to incorporate storytelling skills but it requires creativity and can be time consuming. Also, most people disproportionately assign value to either content or style, ignoring structure altogether.


Good practice is more than memorizing a script. 

Self-assessment aids improvement but students lack the knowledge or motivation to do this properly. For example, watching video recordings of speeches is a powerful method for helping students assess their skills but they are either unaware of the option or they choose not to do it.


Those close to us don’t give us the best feedback.

Clear and objective feedback is highly valued. However, access to it is often scarce and expensive. Family and friends, a more common source of feedback, tend to make shallow or overly-positive comments because they lack a framework to provide meaningful and actionable feedback.

Figuring out what story you’re gonna tell with the slides is most difficult. That affects everything up and down stream. It’s a chicken and egg thing.
— Participant 2
Practice makes perfect is good, but along with the practice you need to be reflective about the practice.
— Wei Zuo, Subject Matter Expert
Class is a really good way to have feedback because I haven’t really found another setting where I can have good feedback from people who are skilled at public speaking.
— Participant 8

Developing structure, practice, and getting feedback are the major challenges that people have with speech preparation, and are the key aspects in the speech prep framework, so we'd like to address all three of them with podium.


How it works


Build an Outline

Follow auto-generated structure with expert prompts and best practices, or choose to customize it however you like.

Drag and drop section cards to organize your outline with ease.


Record Your Practice

Analyze voice quality data to make precise refinements to your speaking style, and avoid red flags that you didn't notice.

Record practice with outline at hand. Scrub through video with data visualization.


Ask for Feedback

Create feedback form with system suggested or customized questions. Share the video and form with your friends.

Drag and drop questions to create feedback form. Share by sending link via mail or text.


Send Feedback

Leave inline reactions and qualitative feedback on friends' video recordings within your web browser on any device.

Tap emoji to leave inline reactions to the video. Fill in the feedback form by typing.


Promotional Video

2-minute video that showcases the problem space, challenges, and how podium works.

Written by Marina Lazarevic and Shelley Xia
Directed and edited by Wei-Hung Hsieh
Narrated by Marina Lazarevic

Starring Shravya Neeruganti, Brian Orlando, Siyi Kou, Wan-Hsien Hsieh, Wade Yamazaki, Michael Frampton, Margaret Tung, Emily Dobbins, Erica Queen, Shelley Xia, and Marina Lazarevic