dict.cc –
Redesigning a dictionary

dict.cc is one of the most popular online dictionaries. Since it went online in 2002 it has not much evolved, which is not only visible, but can be easily identified through the opinions of its users. Our mission was to fix these issues.


dict.cc is one of the most popular online dictionaries. Since it went online in 2002 it has not much evolved in terms of the user interface and the experience.


Lead Designer


3 weeks


Adobe XD, Skype, Whiteboard


Due to the amount of options that are offered to the user in a cluttered-looking user interface, there is a very high chance of a strong cognitive overload which could lead to an unsatisfying experience. The lack of responsiveness of the user interface on mobile devices could also contribute to this experience. Furthermore it is also possible that many users simply don't know about the useful tools that are offered by dict.cc , such as the app or desktop app, which - contrary to the currently offered experience - could save them time and effort.

Design Problem

How might we decrease the cognitive load for the user and shine more light on aspects such as the dict.cc mobile app, the desktop app and the option to support dict.cc as an independent online dictionary platform.

User Interviews



18 - 23


20 min

each user per session

Questions & Tasks

1. Understand how and why people are currently using dict.cc as their dictionary of choice.
2. Discover how aware users are regarding all the offered services (browser extension, smartphone applications…).
3. Learn about how people perceive the overall experience and what currently troubles their minds.
4. Find out if people would potentially be interested in services, that are currently offered, but they do not know of yet.
5. See if certain assumptions of unsatisfying experiences coincide with the opinions of the users.
6. Evaluate people's willingness to pay for extra services (single-purchase or yearly/monthly subscription).

Post-its showing tasks and questions of User Interviews

Key Insights

Cognitive Overload

Almost every of the interviewees reported that they felt overwhelmed by the overall presentation of dict.cc.
Even when users were tasked with something as simple as changing the general language of the webpage, they found themselves struggling to find the right element to interact with.

Lack of feature knowledge/service knowledge

Not a single interviewee knew about the applications for smartphone and desktop. Although the ones that have been using dict.cc already, deem the smartphone application worth a try and are considering to download it.

Poor aesthetics and grouping of elements

The users described the website as “seemingly laborious to interact with” due to the current appearance, style and positioning of elements and the hierarchy within objects. One element that got criticised very harshly was the forum area of dict.cc.


The same users were again asked to complete tasks. Some focused on common issues or on issues that were archived as results of the first session. After completing each task, users were asked how they felt, when exactly they encountered issues, and what they liked about the new experience so far:

Post-its showing the results of the validation phase


This case study only shows the process of redesigning dict.cc. dict.cc is no client  and asked for this redesign. The website was redesigned purely out of curiosity of what could be achieved and to find out what the users of dict.cc think about it.