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Thesis Capstone turned app development project 

Beo is an app that aims to preserve the Irish language one word at a time. By sharing one beautiful word daily, we hope to create an appreciation for the dying language.


  • Researched why Irish is in decline.
  • Conducted user interviews to assess how people feel about the language.
  • Created rapid prototypes based on adjacent industry audits.
  • Tested prototypes in low and mid fidelity to work out my idea.
  • Created a functional high-fi prototype in Figma
  • Currently building the app with an engineer and seeking funding.


The user can listen to and attempt to pronounce the daily word. They then earn a card of the word that gets added to their collection. They can save the word to specific playlists. 
The user can see their success visualised on a calendar on the home page. They can click each image to see the card they earned that day.
The user can swipe through the daily content. This includes a word of the day, a historical story of the day and a myth from Irish culture. 

What is Beo?
I wanted to create an app that would spark an appreciation for Irish without making users feel the pressure of undertaking to learn an entire language. I wanted to share one beautiful word daily in the hopes that it would ignite a grá (deep love) for our own language. I took inspiration from features and goals in Duolingo, 23 and Me and Wordle for my app. 
Problem Discovery:
What am I trying to solve?

Key Questions of Inquiry

Why is the Irish
language dying?
Giving Context
Irish as a language was banned in 1541 by the British. It fell almost entirely into disuse until it was revived by scholars in the late 1800s. When Ireland gained independence it became the national language even though the majority of the population could no longer speak it.

It is now mandatory to learn Irish in schools between the ages of 4 and 18. However, the way that Irish is taught focuses on rote learning and memorising essays. As a result most people can’t speak the language.  
Is there any interest
in preserving Irish?

Increasing Interest
Despite most of the country being unable to speak Irish there is an increasing interest. An Irish language film was nominated for an Oscar, musicians are using Irish lyrics and it's blowing up on Tik Tok. 5.6 million Duolingo users are learning Irish. (The population of Ireland is only 4 million.)

Personal Connection
I grew up in Ireland and learned Irish as a student. I have noticed this problem in Irish society and wanted to devise a way to bring back the joy and wonder of the language.

What would be lost
if we let Irish die?

User Interviews
I conducted user interviews to better understand different attitudes people had to the Irish language. This group represented an array of different experiences that I could learn from to understand relationships with Irish.

I conducted these interviews both in person and over zoom. I recorded and transcribed them. I used sticky notes on figma to find key themes and group them together. I then broke my findings down into meta insights. 

Quantitative Findings
Meta Insights and How Might We
From these interviews I found three key meta insights and turned them into How Might We questions. This helped me to clarify the problem I wanted to solve. 

Low-Fi Prototypes
Though I found the HMWs interesting concepts to develop I decided to focus on “How might we encourage Irish adults to re-engage with the Irish language?” I thought this would provide interesting opportunities and explored these in my Low-Fi Testing.

Key Findings:
Mid-Fi Testing 
Moving forward into Mid-Fi I wanted too create an app that focused on a daily word. Based on my lo-fi user tests I needed to simplify my concept and focus on casual learning and appreciation.

Key Findings:
Focusing on the Words
From my research and testing it seemed there was most interest around appreciating the beauty of Irish. I decided this should be the focus of the app. Daily moments of delight that spark a love for the language rather than the pressure and slog of trying to learn the whole thing.  Below are some examples of beautiful Irish words.

Which solution will work?

Based on the user testing from my Mid-Fi prototypes, I broke the app features into must, should, could and would based on what would help me best solve my problem statement:  how might we encourage Irish adults to re-engage with the Irish language?

Site Map
With these “musts” in mind I created a site map that included these features.  

Hi-Fi Testing
I tested my hi-fi prototypes with three key questions in mind:

I tracked the success of my tests using this map. These results informed the final product.

Reflection and Next Steps

Success Metrics:
This app achieved my goal of creating a space where people could appreciate the Irish language and culture. In my High-Fi testing I found my users commenting on the words they hadn’t heard before and how beautiful their origins were.

The initial user research interviews were immensely helpful in understanding different relationships to Irish. I found the low-fi prototyping stage allowed me to work out all my bad ideas.  

Next Steps:
I am currently in the process of developing it with the help of Abhishek Kalia, with input from Eve Benson on language content. We are looking at pitching it to the Department of Culture and the Gaeltacht in Ireland as well as The Irish Times.

The Team



© Dayna Brislane 2023