Preply Improve messenger for the language learning marketplace






Product Designer


Preply is a global marketplace for online language learning. The company's mission is to build an innovative learning space that connects students and tutors.

Our task was to rethink and improve messenger to help tutors search and reply to students easier and faster. As a result it will increase retention of students and tutors earnings. This task was done during Product Interface Design course by Projector.

Platform audit

As a first step, we analysed the platform — we were tutors, we were students, we went through every flow and use case described by business. Preply platform has thousands active users, so it was important not to break interface they got accustomed to. We created a business process diagram that helped us understand where and how exactly our decisions could affect the product.

International research

To understand how tutors currently communicate with their students and validate hypotheses from business we conducted a set of interviews with tutors from around the world (Germany, Spain, Israel, Australia and South Africa). Key insights include:

  • Tutors send the same messages for common questions over and over again, but don't like copy-paste and consider that students deserve personalised reply;
  • Often tutors look for students through the calendar, and then write them through the messenger;
  • Some tutors have database in Excel/Google Sheets with all info about students such as level, schedule, materials etc.

Problem framing

After analysis and research we understood the context of communication better. When does a tutor need to find a specific student or use templates? How does a student feel when he receive messages from a tutor? What kind of messages does a student expect to get from a tutor?

And finally we identified the main problem to solve — how might we make communication between tutors and students fast, timely and effective? So that every tutor's request ends with student's action.

Search and labels

A lot of tutors have dozens of active students they work with. Often they need to quickly find a specific student and do one of the following actions:

  • Remind to confirm a lesson;
  • Remind to book a next lesson;
  • Send learning materials;
  • Give feedback;
  • Nudge to buy packages.

To save tutors time and increase their efficiency we added a system of tags that shows students current status. The most important tag is "not confirmed", since the tutor's earnings depend on it. Now she doesn't need to switch to other tabs to look for students who haven't yet confirmed the lessons. Other tags include "not booked", "package ends" and "trial passed". As well, we added a search to the Preply messenger where one can find a specific students or filter them by status.

Quick actions

Messenger is the main place of communication between a student and a tutor. And right now the problem is that for the most actions one should leave it and go to other sections of the platform. We decided to add key actions directly to the messenger so the users could have access to them in the right place at the right time.

For example, if the student didn't confirm the last lesson, the system offers to do so. The tutor can attach a button to the message and the student can confirm the lesson by clicking on it right here in the messenger.

If the student didn't book the next lesson, we as well suggest doing it. The tutor could select the date and send it, and the student can confirm or change the date. And if the student runs out of a package, the tutor could offer to buy it directly in the chat.

Smart responses

During interviews the respondents said they didn't keep prepared templates for quick responses. And they always emphasized on the "personalization" of messages. However, it turned out that the tutors replied to the students with typical messages that they keep in their mind. They just didn't call it "a template" because they could change it (for example, substitute students' name). In their understanding, a template is something static and immutable.

Our solution is to show the tutor her typical answer at the right moment (without any new buttons, pages or windows in the interface). For example, if the tutor responded to the third student with the same status with similar message, then when she opens a chat with the fourth student the system would automatically put this message (with correct student name) right in the input field. The tutor should only check it and send.

All in one place

We expanded the possibilities of the right panel of the messenger, and brought to the fore what is really important — the calendar, learning materials and student details. Many use cases of using the messenger are associated with booking and confirming the lesson. Therefore, the teacher sees an open calendar by default.

All the materials that the student and the teacher have ever exchanged could be found at the library tab. Here the tutor could see the topic and understand which scope has already been discussed. Judging by the interviews, this was important for the tutors.

How to measure results

To measure effectiveness of proposed solution we defined following metrics:

  • GMV per tutor;
  • LTV of student;
  • Hours purchased per tutor;
  • Hours completed per tutor;
  • Conversion to paid.


Co-designed with Liza Hryshenchuk, Olesia Kaita, Igor Dudnyk, Oleksandr Hlushchenko, Oleksandr Kansky, Dmitriy Muzychka

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