Collaborative app design project with Karli Scott to create an educational S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) app for young girls aged 6-10.
Young girls don’t know a lot about S.T.E.M. field careers or the opportunities afforded by these fields. A lack of confidence with these subjects in early education can lead to a lack of interest in these important fields later in life.
We created a colorful and engaging S.T.E.M. education gaming app for girls aged 6-10. Through game play, girls can learn more about S.T.E.M. subjects while gaining confidence via the awards they win within the game. The awards they win allow them to collect items and choose a career path in the S.T.E.M. fields. This allows girls to see their personalized avatar in a career environment which encourages them to see a future in the S.T.E.M. fields for themselves.
Research, Concept, Wireframing, Game Design, Prototyping, User Testing,Final Visual Illustration (game user interface)
Research, Concept, Wireframing, Game Design, Prototyping, User Testing, Final Visual Illustration (characters, backgrounds and award items).
GAME PLAY CONCEPT
The game begins with the creation of a personalized avatar to play through the game. The avatar will move along a pathway dotted with colorful jewels that need to be unlocked in order to move along the path to the treasure chest at the end.
To unlock a jewel piece along the path the player will need to solve a S.T.E.M. subject based puzzle. Each jewel has five facets to complete with an award to collect with each puzzle solved. The facets represent difficulty level as well with easy to harder questions.
If the player has difficulty answering the questions, a mentor can be summoned via the hint button to provide up to three hints to the child. After three hints, the player would be directed to a link (with adult permission) to go to the Bright Future website to be taught more about this subject.
Once the player has collected one facet of each of the jewels on the board, they will be allowed to access all of their award items and apply them to the S.T.E.M. field career environment to which they correspond (e.g. a microscope for a lab environment).
Players can use these items as stickers on the career environment page to make personalized scenes. The app will also allow the player to take a screen shot of the scene and save it to the tablet. These screen shots can then be printed out or shared digitally with parent help.
We began by researching girls relationships with S.T.E.M. subjects. After our initial research, we created a survey for parents of young girls to complete along with their daughters. We learned from this survey that girls in the 6-10 age group use tablets to play games rather than iPhones and that they have very limited exposure to social media at this age. These findings lead us to create an app for tablets and to not assume any social sharing interaction within the game for the child.
We also did competition research to see what sort of educational gaming apps exist and are popular among our demographic. Along with this research, we explored the visual styles that might appeal to the 6-10 age group as well.
WIREFRAMING & CONCEPT
After research, we brainstormed game ideas and came up with a game that would allow young girls to learn and solve S.T.E.M. subject related puzzles. Given that girls don’t tend to see themselves in these sorts of jobs or have any idea that they exist, we decided to make the awards collected for puzzle solving associated with a specific career such as Scientist, Doctor, Coder and Engineer.
After getting the concept for the game, we began to wireframe out how the game might play. We worked on avatar personalization screens, set up screens and then got into the game play aspect. We thought through the process of how a player would navigate the game and how to encourage them along the way. We created screens for one task flow to completion of the game.
PROTOTYPING IN AXURE
After getting an idea about how the game would play, we started creating a prototype of the game using Axure so that we could conduct user testing. Axure allowed us to use stand-in graphics and create a click-able prototype. This gave the testers a better idea of game play than testing with paper prototypes.
USER TESTING & VISUALS
Once the Axure prototype was up and running, we began to user test the game. We did two rounds of user testing which gave us feedback regarding navigation, game play cues, and labeling changes.
After incorporating user feedback into the design, we re-evaluated the game play and looked for functionality pitfalls that a user might encounter and how we would address any additional user issues.
Our final step was to work on the visuals for this app to make it appealing and functional. We put the final screens into InVision so that the task flow could be played through and any user issues with the final screens could be assessed.