Design Brief

Engage young children through virtual social interactions with other children from around the world to discourage the formation of negative stereotypes.

Problem: Negative stereotypes are present even with young children and this may be created due to having little exposure to outside cultures. Solution: Our team's idea was to design a public display for young children in elementary schools so that they can interact with fellow children from around the world in order to gain exposure to unfamiliar cultures to minimize negative stereotypes. I was responsible for helping with the user research and creating the interface design of the display. My responsibilities included developing research (lit review and interviews), creating personas, storyboards, and the high fidelity mockups.

Project Details

Role: User Research and UX Designer Project Type: Interaction Design Studio
Teammates: Marco Garces, Andrew Novotny, Prerna Pradeep, Sherry Wang Platform: Large Display Tools: Sketch, InVision, Photoshop, AfterEffects, Illustrator, InDesign
Timeline: 5 weeks


Starting with User Research

1. Exploring existing technologies
We conducted our preliminary research by looking at similar existing technologies that help to connect classrooms globally. We found one in particular, Mystery Skype, that promoted globally interconnected classrooms. By looking more into what they offered and the reviews from the teachers and children that have used this before, we were able to get a good idea of what we should embed into our display and how we should go about doing it. 

3. Conducting Interviews
We gained much insight by conducting 6 interviews with children (ages 7-8) from around the world including China, India, Korea, and Portugal. There were several observations we noted from the interviews. We noticed that most children enjoy the same activities such as interactive games with peers, arts and crafts, physical games, interacting with technology, and learning a language. 

2. Literature Review
By reading literature on cultural stereotypes in children, we gained a better sense of how stereotypes are actually formed. We learned that children begin to form stereotypes around the age of 6 and that most stereotypes are learned from someone who is older, like parents and teachers - their actions give them a sense of how they should act to others. Further research suggested that we should target elementary school students (age 7-8). 



With a better sense of image of what young children like to do, our team took the data from our interviews to brainstorm several personas that would fit our scenarios. We created two personas: one teacher and one student. From these personas, we created scenarios for our storyboards. 



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Target Audience: Student

Name: Jennifer Riley
Age: 8
Country of Residence: Edinburgh, UK

Jennifer’s favorite subject in school is arts and crafts. She loves playing with other kids her age in physical activities after school. She also enjoys meeting new people and learning new languages and about other cultures.

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Target Audience: Teacher

Name: Amy Smith
Country of Residence: Edinburgh, UK

Amy teaches at Abbeyhill Primary School and loves her job. She understands her role in her students’ development, and enjoys facilitating collaborative experiences. She focuses on incorporating cultural diversity and inclusiveness in her curriculum.



Our Value Propositions

In creating our scenarios, we scaled down to three value propositions that we decided to input in our interactive display. 

1) Language Learning
We also decided to incorporate some language learning into our games of Pictionary and Charades. Through these activities, the children would be able to visualize and act out new words to promote different language learning. 

3) Music Learning and Appreciation
Through our music collaboration in the display, this would encourage collaboration with the use of fine motor skills of children playing. This could also increase children's physical mobilities and make them more active. 

2) Arts and Culture
Since children love making art, we decided to add a fun activity that most children would know how to play: Pictionary and Charades. By doing these activities, it would not only utilize arts-based learning styles but also encourage creativity and collaborative learning. 



Creating Storyboards

With these value propositions in mind, we developed our scenarios and created our storyboards. We took on an initial problem and used the storyboards to display a resolution for that problem. 




Context of our display

Location: inside classrooms
Time: Embedded into the class curriculum (i.e. language, arts & crafts, music)
Physical characteristics and interactions: screen display size of 48 inches, teacher would facilitate the intial onboarding of the interactions


We first started out with doing low-fidelity wireframes through hand-sketches. Our research reminded us that we should only display the necessary details while omitting the ones that do not need to displayed for children. This helped us gain a sense of idea of what and how we should be placing our items. 


Feedback through User Testing

For our mid-fidelity wireframes created through Sketch, we refined many of the details we created through user testing. We also refined our color scheme to be more appealing for young children. Learning more about color, we learned that children are more familiar with solid colors. We decided to do yellow as our background since that is considered more as a neutral color for both genders. 

We recruited some children (ages 7-9) and were able to make some changes based on our feedback. We went through a very brief think-aloud with the children, asking what buttons they would press in order to achieve a specific activity (music, pictionary, and charades). Based on feedback from the children, we examined what elements of the design needed revisions or a more thorough explanation. 





Our Final Display

Our high-fidelity prototypes, incorporated feedbacks from our user testing. We made sure that our design was consistent with the visuals and everything made sense. I took the lead in the design's interaction and developing the final prototype on Sketch. 


1) Pictionary

Restating our value proposition, we added Pictionary for our interactive display since arts was something that all the children said they enjoyed. We wanted to incorporate arts and culture to create a fun interaction not involving regular school learning. Students can utilize their drawing abilities. We also created a new and fun aspect that would allow the children to collaborate while drawing. 


2) Guess the Phrase

Similar to charades, this activity lets children act out a phrase given to them. Through our interviews, we found that children like acting and moving their bodies, so we decided to add this to our interactive display. At the end of the game, there would be a language learning time where they would learn a specific phrase in the opposite classroom's language, giving it an educational aspect of promoting language learning while having fun at the same time. 


3) Music Learning

Lastly, through our research, we realized that children really like music. We wanted to teach children other countries' popular children's songs and have them teach songs taht they know to the opposite classroom. We decided to incorporate some physical activity with the use of creating music through their body parts (hands, fingers, feet). Together, with both classrooms, they can interact and share their appreciation of music learning.