Imagining the future of storytelling on the go
UX Designer and Researcher
User Journey Maps, Observational Studies, Shadowing, Play-Testing, Ethnographic Research, Iterative Design
With autonomous vehicles quickly becoming the norm, how can we design for quality parent-child interaction in that environment?
Jaroo aims to be that solution. It is an interactive story-building application that encourages quality parent-child interaction within and beyond the vehicle. Jaroo is the first research-oriented project that I have conducted, which introduced me to various user research strategies and methods in qualitative research.
Early childhood care and education (ECCE) places emphasis on developing the whole child - attending to his or her social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs - to establish a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.
According to the 12 Principles of Child Development and Learning, play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation and prompting language, cognition, and social competence.
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center
I conducted secondary research on what parents look for when purchasing toys for their children. What I found was that they were more interested in educational tools, and toys that allow their children to use their imaginations. "Learn and have fun" seems to be the general idea of what parents would like to see.
Mintel, Global Market Research
Understanding the User
After doing secondary research sourced from databases, I proceeded to conduct a contextual inquiry on my prospective users. I realized from this experience that what people say (or think) they do and what they actually do is not the same thing. Furthermore, having the experience of observing my users in their own space with their children allowed me to empathize with them. Which I appreciated as soon as I started the design process as it aligned their perspectives with mine.
I did some observational studies and talked to experts to further delve into the realm of "play". What came out of the studies was my understanding of the different aspects of play that children participate in. A key takeaway was the fact that children seem to flourish when involved in a storytelling activity.
I visited Kidspace, a children's museum whose mission is to nurture the potential of all children through kid-driven experiences, inspiring them to become joyful, active learners.
After the interviews, I began to identify my user's Doing, Thinking, and Feeling, along with their Needs and Pain Points as they go through their tasks.
After consolidating all of my primary research, I drew up some key insights and their design implications.
Key Insights and Design Implications
Some children are more comfortable in using storytelling devices to express their feelings more openly.
Children are more invested in open-ended play as it gives them the chance to play with their own creativity.
Quality parent-child interaction occurs when there is equal engagement coming from both users.
Parents are more invested when product uses a language they are already familiar with.
Most children learn best through tactile experimentation such as trying out individual pieces of a puzzle until they find the right fit.
Most children are competitive when playing games: immediate goals help in getting them to their objectives without much distraction.
- Modular play with customization options.
- Serves multiple objectives: "Active toy"
- Encourage users to build a narrative and ultimately create their own "worlds" to explore.
- It has to be a two-part design.
- Responsibilities are to be divided 50/50
- Step-by-step play system, whereby users would need to collaborate.
- Reward system that engages all users.
- Familiar elements in play.
- Classic elements that can last throughout one generation.
- Ability to modify itself, far-reaching product.
- Engage in 2 or more senses to excite users and make experiences more memorable.
- Competitive element to overcome.
- Not too discouraging that it affects the user's interest.
- Immediate reward system to avoid frustration.
An expanded ecosystem would allow for users to interact beyond the vehicle's limitations, and expand the experience beyond the initial individual parent and child interaction as well. The inclusion of the Apple TV as a channel would get the whole family in on the storytelling experience.
Before beginning to design, it came to my attention that the space in which they were interacting in is an important factor to the design itself. The space, which is an autonomous vehicle, had to be considered, and since the child is required to be in the booster seat, I would have to consider the kind of limitations that he/she experiences as well.
- Child values freedom in movement, however, the limited space of the vehicle might inhibit this.
- Playing space is limited
- Body language: Reminder that children have short attention spans
- What do they do when their attention gets diverted?
Key phases during the iterative design process
- Identifying the right surfaces of the vehicle to implement the application on. Which would be ergonomically suitable for the parent-child pair in an autonomous vehicle.
- Implementing educational materials to the experience; going further than storytelling.
- Introducing editing elements such as sound files, commercial characters, pen tool, and preset animations to optimize the open-ended nature of the editing process.