Expressway: socio-emotional learning for early education

Summary

The challenge: Develop a product to help young children better understand their emotions

What we did: Academic research (publications & interviews), needfinding, brainstorming, prototyping

Effort: 3 months, 2 people

The result: Two car games centered around telling stories about particular emotions:

  1. Match a list of emotions to your surroundings, one at a time. Tell a story to justify your matching.
  2. Tell a story about a particular emotion. Other travelers try to guess the emotion.

When: Spring/Summer 2014

Design process

Throughout the design process, we sketched and put together quick mocks to help communicate the ideas, as they evolved.

  1. Early on, we decided we wanted to do something with emotional development, thanks to some early field studies and academic research.
    • Research shows that being able to identify how you feel is the first step to dealing with your emotions. In their early school years, many children feel a broader range of emotions than they can easily identify in words.
    • We sent around a survey to local parents:
      During our analysis, we printed out the survey results, so we could more visually and quickly note any connections and findings.
  1. We started out with the idea that the game would be image-based, because kids love taking pictures anyway. We did some early testing with kids by asking them about pictures they took and ones that we provided.
    • Results: The rich part of the activity was really around the conversation and stories. Shift in focus.

Play with an early Pop prototype here. (May 2014)

  1. Next, we started exploring different games that could prompt children to tell stories about emotions. We were able to do wizard-of-oz-style user testing, to figure out which games were working and which weren't.
    • Results: Picked our two final concepts. Made decision to make one a standard tablet app and one a voice app. I worked on iterating one of the concepts, which turned into a Flinto prototype.

The result

As stated in the summary above, the result was a series of two car games centered around telling stories about particular emotions:

  1. Tablet-based: Match a list of emotions to your surroundings, one at a time. Tell a story to justify your matching. (prototyped and described here)
  2. Voice app: Tell a story about a particular emotion. Other travelers try to guess the emotion.
    • Would use Google Voice API of some sort (not available during project), Wizard-of-oz prototype with basic mocks