Emote UI Design

The Overview

March - June 2017
Completed for User Centered Design class (HCDE 318)
Role: Researcher, UX, & Visual Designer

The Problem

Parents and elementary school aged children are separated during most of the day. Children need to focus during classes and in depth technology can be distracting. Parents can also be worried about their young children's exposure to technology. Talking to a young child and trying to get specific answers from them, after the school day is done, can be difficult.

The Solution

Our team created a child's wearable device to be worn on the wrist, and a partnered mobile application for the parents or guardians.

We tried to limit the child's interaction so the child's wearable will only be activated when a message is sent to it, and the responses are limited to 8 emoticons. The child's wearable can also be adjusted so it can grow with the child. The wearable is enabled with GPS, which links to the phone app.

The partnered mobile application starts on the child's profile page. This allows parents to view their child's location, and data visualizations based on their child's messages. The data visualizations are supposed to give the parents an overview of their child's emotional well being.

top of profile screen infographic section of profile screen location screen messaging screen Child's wearable

The Process

Over ten weeks our team went through initial research, ideation, usability testing, high fidelity prototyping, and a presentation.

Research

Each team member interviewed a parent of elementary or middle school students in order to understand how parents interact with their children's education and how they maintain their relationships. We then compiled these findings into two personas.

Our first persona was focused on their child's education. For example, how they were doing in school, who their teacher was, and communication with other parents. In contrast, our second persona was focused on their child's development and well being. For example, their hobbies, their values and morals, and having conversations with them.

Ideation

Our first persona was focused on their child's education. For example, how they were doing in school, who their teacher was, and communication with other parents. In contrast, our second persona was focused on their child's development and well being. For example, their hobbies, their values and morals, and having conversations with them.

While talking early on, the idea of a children's wearable device to connect parents and children was brought up. This idea became integral to our overall design and we decided to add the parent interaction through a mobile application. We then experimented with what the wearable would be capable of doing. We talked about a camera, how messaging would work, location services, and games. We ultimately decided that we did not want the wearable to be distracting and only included messaging, and location services.

When we were still considering education and emotional well being, our team talked about using data visualizations to compare and connect the two different concepts. The education portion of the data visualizations disappeared but we wanted to display the emotional visualizations to help parents understand how their children were feeling.

Sketch of wearable and profile ideas

Then came the problem of collecting the emotional data from the children. We decided to implement an emoji messaging system for a couple reasons;

We created a visualization of our information architecture in order to organize and solidify ou rthoughts and ideas. This information architecture helped us to develop our paper prototypes as well.

Usability Testing

Our team created paper prototypes of the wearable and the mobile application in order to have users test our product. Finding our target user group for usability testing was much more difficult because of time constraints and location constraints. Three of our team members tested on undergraduate students at UW and our other team member tested on a parent and child.

We found that the wearable was easy for the child to use and understand. However, the mobile application needed work as the data visualizations did not make sense to many users, and some of the location based services and symbols did not make sense to them.

Wireframes

In order to outline the structure of our mobile app and wearable, we created wireframes. Our wireframes included the initial registration pages, the child profile page, the location page including location based alarms, and the messaging page.

We also created user flows. We chose to illustrate setting a location based alarm and sending an ETA message from parent to child. We chose these user journeys because we felt they could be confusing and wanted to explicitly state what these two features are intended to be used for.

setting a location based alarm
Sending an estimated time of arrival message

Prototyping

Our first priority was creating a visual design style sheet so that we could have consistent fonts and colors. We created the location page, profile page, and a rendering of the wearable and then had our first critique with classmates. The main feedback we received was;

  • Color palette was too childlike and bright
  • Color palette was not cohesive
  • Wearable should be adjustable
  • Data visualizations took up too much space

When using this feedback to create our final design, we left the location page alone and focused on the color scheme and the profile page. We decided on more quiet, professional colors and distributed the colors more evenly throughout the screens. On the profile page, we adjusted the size of our visualizations so there was more white space which made it feel more professional and clean. Finally, we added the option to adjust the wearable band so that it could grow with the child.

The initial Profile page

Presentation

Reflection

I really enjoyed this project, both the team and the topic. I felt as though our team worked and communicated very well together. The only issue we had was discussing the scope of the project and whether we wanted to focus on parent and teacher relationship or the parent and child relationship. We solved this by thoroughly discussing both sides of the issue and eventually coming to a decision. If I were to do this project over again, I would want more time to go more in depth in research and development. Being able to look into the child's side of this technology would be helpful, and being able to look more into secondary research on technology exposure and the effects on children.

Team Members

Daniel Barnes

Daniel Barnes

Developer & UX Designer

Inhae Kim

Inhae Kim

UX Designer

Stefanie Choi

Stefanie Choi

UX Designer

More Projects