ABA English

The pains, gains and motivations while learning with apps.

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A research case study

From the get-go, it was clear that our job was to help ABA's team consolidate their own insights and instincts about future endeavours on their own products. They were not looking for us to identify quick fixes or point at the obvious. Instead, Gino Micacchi, COO (active at the time as CTO & CPO) instructed us to embark on a more exploratory research.

Based on the objectives provided, we designed a research framework that was sequential. Each stage had its own timeframe; each stage informing the next with the data points collected previously. By doing so, we were able to collect, identify and corroborate significant data points prior to conducting the Un-focus Group sessions (Liz Sanders, IDEO. 2001). Having the opportunity to share knowledge, to ideate collaboratively, and deepen our insights with real users is an invaluable exploratory experience. Thus, it was imperative for us to be well informed in advance to gain the most out of each session with all the participants.

the framework

The successful execution of this research framework lies in its approach. Each stage and sequence was carefully planned to accommodate ABA’s product needs and our research objectives. To start with, we collected data from stakeholders, learned and recorded what they already knew. Next, we looked at competitors to get a better understanding of the products available to users. And then we placed all our efforts on the real users. By conducting online surveys, we were able to validate basic findings through a large number of responses, which in turn, helped us get into more detail and depth with the users during the Un-focus Group sessions.


As is our practice, to better assure success, each stage was defined so that we could diagnose and collect data points through different dimensions and product’s context of use (behaviour, attitude, qualitative, quantitative).

the results?

It has been a little over a year since we delivered the user research report, and the change and success they are enjoying now is truly remarkable. And let's be clear, we are in no way taking credit, for it has been ABA's team the one doing all the heavy lifting. But we'd like to think that we have helped to bring focus and validated insights that inform their decisions. Through a collaborative partnership, we helped and guided ABA in defining the road and process ahead. By having management commitment, a “get out of the building” philosophy, getting feedback from customer support and executing user research, ABA has acquired a 2x increase in user activation (completion of Unit 1) and achieved a 3x increase in conversion of users from free to premium (increased ARPU).


It’s definitely reassuring to bring a scientific method into our process. We have been able to validate hypothesis and insights before investing resources into them.

— Gino Micacchi, Chief OPERATING OFFICER at ABA English

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