Final touches and User testing

This week was all about coding the actual app and testing it on my target audience.

I decided to give up including the arms in the process because it confused my adult peers when I asked them for feedback on my first prototype.

Here is a video showing how the prototype works:

After finishing m prototype, I got it tested on 5 different children. My sister filmed the videos in France so I didn’t have any control whatsoever about the way it was being tested and their reactions. They were free to do whatever they wanted and my sister asked the questions she thought were relevant to my project. I liked the fact that I had no control and that I didn’t film them as I felt the results were more genuine and I would analyze their reactions with fresh eyes.

Here are the users:

Timothée, 2 years old

2

Albane, 3 years old

1

Lou, 4 years old

5

Zoé, 7 years old

4

Enora, 9 years old

3

And here is the final user test movie:

  • What I took from it is that first of all, they were interested in it and wanted to try it, they even fought for it.
  • Secondly, they were really particular about the shapes and colors they were choosing, they refused to choose certain colors which means that their choices were were not random but an actual representation of their feelings.
  • Most importantly, I was pleasantly surprised to see that their choices matched their mood. You can clearly see in the clip that the little girl who is singing happily has chosen the a smiling, yellow sun.
  • As I thought before doing the test, the app is more efficient on younger children as they think less and tend to be more spontaneous in their choices. I also think the simplicity of the app relates more to them, before five years old, they are still at an age where simple shapes and colors can entertain you for a while.

 

I tried to read into their realizations and apparently they were all quite happy to play.

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Week 8 – Body language, Eye contact & Coding

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This week, while reviewing my project I noticed that, while being really important to my work, body language and eye contact have been a little bit neglected as far as research is concerned. I talked about it a little bit at the beginning of my project but I thought it would be important to include it in an actual experiment.

I decided to take random and posed pictures of people and crop them so that I could focus on their arm position. I wanted to see if we could guess how they were feeling just by looking at a certain part of their body. I started putting the pictures into different categories

Accomplice

accomplice-conniving  accomplice  accomplice2

Animated/Busy

animated2  animated  animated3 busy  hurrying

Calm/Serene

serene  resting  contentresting3  calm2

Playful/Happy

playful  playful2

Caring/Helping

helping  helping2

Shy/Hesitant  

shy

Attentive 

attentive

I also did the same with eyes, can you guess how the person is feeling on those pictures?

eye1 eye2 eye4 eye5 eye6 eye7 eye8 eye9 eye10 eye11eye12 eye13 eye14 eye15 eye16eye17 eye18 eye19 eye20 eye21

Week 7 – Construction

site

After speaking to Joris last week, I decided to change my approach a bit. Indeed, he suggested that instead of following statistics, I should look at the children’s drawings ans choose the ones that were the most relevant. I agree that this method is more efficient as it really highlights a clear depiction of a certain emotion instead of blending lots of interpretations into one.

These are the drawings that I chose.

Anger: anger

Fear: fear

Happiness: joy1 joy2

Sadness: sadness

Loneliness: LONELINESS

Dreaming: dreaming

Having fun: playing

Tiredness: tired tired2

Love/Friendship: love

Generosity: generosity

I then made them into clearer shapes in illustrator.

recreation

Each shape is linked to a special feeling

Depending on how the child assemble the elements, different aspects of his current mood are revealed.

Using all of the informations I had on shape and colors, I have also started to build the final website. Here is what it looks like right now.

site2 site3

 

Week 6 – Conclusions and New Prototype

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This week I decided to analyze all of the drawings I got from the children and draw some conclusions from them.

I thought it would be interesting to see the patterns in their use of color and shapes. I wanted to see if some particular shapes or colors where use more frequently than others to see if i was right in my assumption that shapes and colors are instinctively related to emotions.

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Here are my statistics out of 18 drawings:

Anger: 11 red – 7 spikes

Fear: 9 blue – 6 ghosts/monsters

Happiness: 10 yellow/orange – 9 suns/rounds

Sadness: 14 blue – 8 tears

Loneliness: 4 green – 5 stick figures

Dreaming: 9 pink/purple – 7 moon/cloud/stars

Having fun: 5 multiple colors – 4 balls

Tiredness: 8 blue – 6 bed/pillow

Love/Friendship: 10 red – 13 hearts

Generosity: 6 orange/yellow – 5 rounds

I put them all in a grid so that the results would appear more clearly

statistics

I found this wheel of colors quite interesting because it really demonstrates how certain colors are directly associated to our mood.

Color-updated

This made me want to do my own wheel of colors using the results I got from the drawing. I wanted to compare the two wheels to see if I got some similar results using only a small group of people.

round

The two wheels doesn’t exactly match which is normal since I was studying a small group of people and not drawing conclusions from general ideas. However, they still mostly use the same colors to express the same general emotions so to me this study is quite a success.

Week 5 – Live experiments

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After designing my prototype last week, I felt that I lacked real input in my work. Therefore, just before the break, I came back to France and went to my old primary school to do some experiments with children.

Indeed, I wanted to see how they could express some feelings without speaking, only by drawing.

They were each given a set of crayons and a sheet of paper with numbers corresponding to emotions or feelings they had to portray.

DSC_3263

1. Anger

2. Fear

3. Happiness

4. Sadness

5. Loneliness

6. Dreaming

7. Having fun

8. Tiredness

9. Love/Friendship

10. Generosity

It was so interesting to see the differences and similarities in their interpretations. I want to study these drawings and pay particular attention to the shapes and colors they used for each emotions, I want to see if I can find a pattern in their portrayals and therefore design a better and more accurate application using the same shapes and colors they did.

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Week 4 -First prototype and production flow

mockup1

This week we had to lay out a first prototype of our concept. Based on my researches so far, I decided to focus my design on body language, shapes, colours and eye contact.

I designed a page explained how my app was going to work.

Children using the app are going to select a shape, a gesture, a certain type of eye contact and different colors that will create a cartoonish character revealing their mood and feelings. Based on my previous findings, the choices of shapes and colors should be instinctive depending on how the child is feeling at a certain moment.

However, this is still only a prototype and the shapes, colours and gestures used in this probably won’t be the final ones.

 

I also started thinking about the production flow. I am far from being an expert in that area and I think I would need some help establishing a solid one but I still did some research.

I was thinking of:

1st: – Designing the app myself to keep the costs very low

2nd: – Use a crowfunder platform in order to get some funds so that I could get started

3rd: – Getting some sponsors to lower the costs

4th: – Being able to put it up for free on the Apple Store or Android platforms

a3sheet-01

 

Week 3 – Body Language, Colors and Shapes

body-language

Last week, I learnt that communication can pass through playing and gestures. That is why i decided to focus my researches on body language this week.

Some may not realize it initially, but verbal communication is comprehended in so many more ways than just words alone. An interesting rule from Albert Mehrabian states, when it comes to face-to-face interaction, verbal communication is comprehended:

7% from the words that are actually spoken

38% in how the words are spoken (tone of voice)

55% is from one’s facials expressions and body language.

I found out that facial reactions can be more telling than verbal ones.

Then I started thinking that one of the first that is taught to children is how to recognize shapes and colors, it is primordial for a better understanding of the world around us. Shapes and colors all have a meaning that is instinctively perceived by all of us.

Designers use shapes to:

  • Organize information through connection and separation
  • Symbolize different ideas
  • Create movement, texture, and depth
  • Convey mood and emotion
  • Emphasize and create entry points and areas of interest
  • Lead the eye from one design element to the next

 

random-shapes

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

Geometric shapes are what most people think of as shapes. Circles, squares, triangles, diamonds are made up of regular patterns that are easily recognizable. This regularity suggests organization and efficiency. It suggests structure. Geometric shapes tend to be symmetrical further suggesting order.

Natural/Organic shapes are irregular. They have more curves and are uneven. They tend to be pleasing and comforting. While they can be man-made (ink blobs), they are more typically representative of shapes found in nature such as a leaves, rocks, and clouds. On a web page organic shapes are generally created through the use of illustration and photography. They are free form and asymmetrical and convey feelings of spontaneity. Organic shapes add interest and reinforce themes.

Abstract shapes have a recognizable form, but are not real. They are stylized or simplified versions of organic shapes. A stick figure is an abstract shape depicting a person. Typographic glyphs are abstract shapes to represent letters. Icons are abstract shapes to represent ideas and concepts. Some abstract shapes have near universal recognition. Think of some of the icons you see in the software you use daily.

Shapes can be either positive or negative. They can be figure or they can be ground. Be conscious of the shapes you form with negative space as these are just as, if not more, important than the shapes you form with positive space.

Circles have no beginning or end. They represent the eternal whole and in every culture are an archetypical form representing the sun, the earth, the moon, the universe, and other celestial objects between. Circles are used to suggest familiar objects such as wheels, balls, many kinds of fruit. They suggested well-roundedness and completeness.

Circles have free movement. They can roll. Shading and lines can enhance this sense of movement in circles. Circles are graceful and their curves are seen as feminine. They are warm, comforting and give a sense of sensuality and love. Their movement suggests energy and power. Their completeness suggests the infinite, unity, and harmony.

Circles protect, they endure, they restrict. They confine what’s within and keep things out. They offer safety and connection. Circles suggests community, integrity, and perfection.

Because they are less common in design they work well to attract attention, provide emphasis, and set things apart.

Squares and rectangles are stable. They’re familiar and trusted shapes and suggest honesty. They have right angles and represent order, mathematics, rationality, and formality. They are seen as earthbound. Rectangles are the most common geometric shape encountered. The majority of text we read is set in rectangles or squares.

Squares and rectangles suggest conformity, peacefulness, solidity, security, and equality. Their familiarity and stability, along with their commonness can seem boring. They are generally not attention getters, but can be tilted to add an unexpected twist. Think of web pages that tilts framed images to help them stand out.

Triangles can be stable when sitting on their base or unstable when not. They represent dynamic tension, action, and aggression. Triangles have energy and power and their stable/unstable dynamic can suggest either conflict or steady strength. They are balanced and can be a symbol for law, science, and religion.

Triangles can direct movement based which way they point. They can be used to suggest familiar themes like pyramids, arrows and, pennants. Spiritually they represent the religious trinity. They can suggest self-discovery and revelation.

Spirals are expressions of creativity. They are often found in the natural growth pattern of many organisms and suggest the process of growth and evolution. Spirals convey ideas of fertility, birth, death, expansion, and transformation. They are cycles of time, life, and the seasons and are a common shape in religious and mystical symbolism.

Spirals move in either direction and represent returning to the same point on life’s journey with new levels of understanding. They represent trust during change, the release of energy and maintaining flexibility through transformation.

Clockwise spirals represent projection of an intention and counterclockwise spirals the fulfillment of an intention. Double spirals can be used to symbolize opposing forces.

Curved shapes offer rhythm and movement, happiness, pleasure and generosity. They are seen as more feminine than sharp shapes which offer energy, violence and, anger. Sharp shapes are lively and youthful and are seen as more masculine.

I also found a well made graphic about colour meaning

emotion-color-blk

Week 2 – Change of plans and « Digital generation » research

Multiple facial expression

After leaving class during week 1, I started contacting some pre schools in Rotterdam. As I was doing it, an idea came to me, how was I going to communicate with children who do not speak the same language as I do and cannot speak english yet?

I had my concept. Indeed, it got me interested in how adults could communicate with non verbal children or children who do not speak the same language. Basically, I wanted to create something that would come before language and could help children express some of their feelings without having to speak.

I started researching ways I could communicate without speaking.

I first came across this article from a non-verbal child’s parent. It was interesting to see that so many means of communication had something to do with playing and games.

I also found this report depicting how children who do not speak the same language can still interact with each other. Once again, playing is at the center of everything.

I also found a forum dedicated to people dealing with having to integrate a foreign child to their class. The notion of belonging and integration is really important and should not be neglected as it is the foundation of a child’s future.

This last find prompted me to look for some books about integrating a child through technology and I bought these two really enlightening books. They were a bit heavy on the behavior and educational problems side but reinforced the idea that communication and constant interaction are the key to thriving.

Multiple facial expression

 

 

Based on last week’s conclusions, I still wanted to do some research on the effects on technology on young children. Once again I rented some books. The conclusion was that we can’t keep our children away from new technology as they are expected to be able to use them efficiently during their studies but it should still be controlled and used in an playful way.

Multiple facial expression

Week 1 – Choosing the community and first concept ideas

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During this first week we had to choose a community we wanted to work with and see what we could do to help them.

I immediately knew I wanted to work with children as they have inspired me in the past and always enjoy creating new designs for them. I thought it would be interesting to work with pre-schoolers/kindergarten children as they are in a really deep learning phase at that age.

I decided that I wanted to do something fun such as a game on a technological device such as an iPad to help them connect to the outside world. Indeed, this generation of toddlers is getting more and more addicted to new technologies and I wanted to use it in a positive way so that it could connect them to the actual world, full of adventures and mysteries. I don’t know exactly how I want to use it yet but what I am sure of is that I want children to engage with what is around them as much as they can.

I did a small research about existing apps treating the same kind of problem to see what solutions had already been offered.

Lantern – An app that accompanies Mom and Dad’s bedtime story

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ABCine – Educational tool for children that encourages playfully exploring the alphabet and expanding their vocabulary

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Rabapillar – Game developing children’s motor skills

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For next week i would like to do more research on the history of children video games and study this new « digital generation »