For Māori Language Week, we launched Kupu; an app that translates the world around you into Te Reo Māori. The app combines Google’s Cloud Vision and Translate API’s, along with Te Aka Māori dictionary data, to give the Māori translation for photos you take on your phone. It serves up the most likely translations and provides audio examples for pronunciation.

After taking a photo in the App, the user can swipe left to right through the detected results and instantly see the translation change. Other features include save/share, provide feedback, setting reminders, and Stories. Tapping the word or sound icon plays a human recording of the Māori pronunciation.

We explored multiple ways in UX to show the translation results. User testing also proved that keeping the app simple and single-focused, provided the best experience.

Working with Art Director Mike Davison and our cultural partners Te Ipukarea, the visual design language not only has relevance to Māori but enhances the overall experience. The weaving theme was developed and embedded into the logo and other UI elements.

To date we have had 380,523 people using the app, 4 million photos taken, 4,687,500 audio translations played, and reached #1 Trending App on Google Play and The App Store.

The app is an ongoing and constantly evolving entity.  It has received regular design and functionality enhancements including the latest ‘Kupu Stories’ feature.