TIMEFRAME: MAY - AUG 2020

MOBILE APP

ROAM

CLIENT

The project is a collaboration with Yalty Software, a startup company that aims to solve problems within the eRetail ecosystem using mobile games and eCouponing. My team (formed by graduate students at The Centre for Digital Media and UBC) were tasked to develop an innovative mobile game for children that is engaging, educational, and most importantly fun.

MY TASKS

Market/User Research • Interviews • Usability Testing • Prototyping • Video Editing • UI and UX Design.

MY ROLE

UX/UI Designer

PROBLEM STATEMENT​

I aim to create a game that will help kids reach their learning objectives and achieve success in school and at home. In addition, I was challenged to develop a game that distinguishes itself from educational games that are currently available, many of which focus on old-fashioned and obsolete approaches to learning, such as rote memorization.

WORKING REMOTELY

 Due to COVID-19, we shifted to working remotely. Our main collaboration tools are Zoom, Trello, Google Drive and Miro. 

RESEARCH

I conducted an in-depth research on 4-6 years old children cognitive functions through primary (interviewing, surveys to parents and teachers) and secondary research (competitive analysis and scholarly research).

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Direct Competitors

I analyzed and evaluated popular educational games among children to gain an understanding of the common elements within these games.

Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids offers visual clues and uses colors for different types of content. The screens are cut-off to suggest that children can explore more.

The sesame street

The sesame street game is played by exploring the website and clicking on elements that draw their attention.

ABC Mouse

ABC mouse has easy navigation with easy-to-locate tabs, which enables children to play through without instruction.

Toca Boca

Toca Boca creates digital toys for children that focus on exploratory gameplay in which children can play freely. The brand also promotes gender neutrality in all of its apps.

PRIMARY RESEARCH​

To understand what kind of games appeal to children and their parents, I surveyed parents of preschoolers and kindergarteners.

  • How old is your child?
  • What are some of your child’s interests/hobbies?
  • How long does your child maintain interest in a play activity or game at a given time?
  • What kinds of games/apps does your child play?
  • Based on your observations, what kinds of games does your child respond well to? What kinds of games does your child not respond well to?
  • Do you prefer to let your child play on your phone or a tablet? Why?
  • Did you notice any touch gestures that your child finds easy to use?
  • How do you determine if a game is appropriate or not?
  • What concerns or apprehensions do you have about games?
  • How do you determine if a game is useful or not for your child?
  • What would prevent you from allowing your child to play a gaming app?
  • If you could design a gaming app, what would you focus on?
  • Does your child have any preference for 2D or 3D games?

Survey Summary

  • Children’s interests include building, drawing, coloring, writing, reading, dancing, riding bikes, playing board games, and space dinosaurs.
  • If children are forced to play a game, they will quickly lose interest and play for only a short period of time. 
  • On average, children play games for up to 30 minutes per session.

Children respond positively to:

  • Receiving rewards.
  • Collaboration and teamwork.
  • Games that do not involve reading.
  • Opportunities to create.
  • Exploring open worlds freely.

Children respond negatively to:

  • Games that are too simple or too easy. 
  • Too long, too complicated, or confusing.
  • Based on gender-specific roles.

SECONDARY RESEARCH

I referred to child usability studies conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group and UXKids to separate design myths from usability facts. These are the top takeaways for designing interactions for children:

  • Repetition: Children enjoy repetitive tasks.
  • Visuals: Games should include bold user interfaces with large icons and cheerful colors. Buttons should be large and easy to see.
  • Interactive : Loading screens should include fun, interactive animations to distract children while they wait.
  • Constant Feedback: Offer children visual or audio feedback when they are stuck.
  • Easy: Tasks should be short and easy to complete. If tasks are too long, 4-6-year-old children will quickly lose interest and close the application.
  • Memory: Divide large chunks of information into smaller groups, as children have very limited memory.
  • Usability: Tapping and short, simple swipes is recommended when designing for touch screens, because these are natural interactions for children.
  • Consistency: Patterns should be used consistently within the app. Recognizing interactions helps kids to trust the game, which enables them to explore with confidence.

PERSONA

USER STORIES

SOLUTION SKETCH

WIREFRAMES

I created the UX and UI design by collaborating with the design team on Figma. I used Balsamiq and Illustrator to create low fidelity wireframes, the intention is to establish the basic structure of the game before visual design and content is added.

Below is the updated prototype based on the valuable user-test feedback.

Medium Fidelity 

USER TESTING

METHOD

I conducted the User Test remotely, which has the advantages of being quicker and being able to reach more people. The user test was done using two different methods:

1) Facilitated and Moderated: I sent users emails asking them to book in a time-slot on Calendly to have a video call. The meeting was on Zoom and users were asked to open a prototype on their web and share their screen. The call was recorded and I took notes of the main observations.

2) User-test conducted using Useberry: it works as a prototype testing plug-in, and gives the opportunity to get quick feedback by simply sending users the link of the prototype. I found Useberry really useful especially since it revealed test results such as heatmaps that graphically represent where users click and interact.

 

I followed the Feedback Capture Grid format

INTRODUCING
ROAM

I edited this video using Adobe Premiere Pro.

CrEDITS

Client
Yalty Software Inc.

My Role
UI/UX Designer & Research – Israa Qeroof

Team
UI/UX Designer & Artist – Elaine Han
Project Manager/Game Designer – Rosa Cebolla
Programmer – Irene Mayor
Programmer – Cody Gagnon
Product Owner Sumaer Hussain


Thank you for reading