To design a prototype for an interactive experience for junior high students that should educate, inform, engage, and excite while working with emerging AI platforms to aid in building content strategy and your work.
Inspired by recent dives into both the Finch App and a previous DIY chicken coop/Duo Lingo-style app, I built an entrepreneurial course for these kiddos using gamification to unlock feature-games after completing courses designed to teach leadership and social skills.
Insights from the use of AI
This was a fun project and I was able to incorporate the use of AI to generate content, user interview questions, assist with brainstorming for the structure, names, titles, summaries, micro-copy, and helping me to make decisions by quickly flushing out a few different ideas. Key takeaways from working with ChatGPT include:
- The content that was produced was great as a starting point. It can help quickly and immensely with ‘writer’s block’, although, the content does require extensive editing to get it to where you need it.
- The images I tried to procure using dalle are hilarious, but not quite there yet — not something professional enough to want to use. I did look into a few other sites, and the paid AI image generators produce better quality images.
- The most interesting aspect of the AI so far, is it’s natural conversation style. That made me decide to use that feature within the app I was designing.
Oh, yeah…that’s right! I am designing an instructional app over here. Let’s get back to that.
It was this or a ‘minimize your carbon footprint’ gamification app. The decision to move forward with the Jr. Business League came from quantitative & qualitative research findings about what issues junior high school kids are facing and which ones are most troublesome for them. I wanted to work on a real ‘arm-break’ problem from the perspective of 12–14-year olds.
I assumed kids were interested in making money, and hence the entrepreneurial style learning and games. The research pointed to an even more emotional problem. The social issuses. It seems that kids are looking for friends and fun interactions, and they know they need to talk to people and get to know them, but they struggle knowing what to say and how to steer their way through social interactions.
Getting your ideas down on paper can be in the form of sketches, or sometimes it can help to just go to town with those sticky notes. I tend to feel a little overwhelmed right at the start of a project like this and so I decided to go find out what’s already out there. How have people already been solving this problem?
“You Can’t Really Know Where You Are Going Until You Know Where You Have Been” — Maya Angelou
Bring in the Finch App
My 14-year old daughter has a 48-day streak on this app. Why is it so compelling? What is already working there? I dove in to find out by doing a hueristic markup and interviewing my daughter to find out why she liked it so much. I even created an account and played it for a month. Personally, I was really motivated to get that dang micropet if I logged in 20/25 days.
Key features within the Finch app included: daily mood check in & tracking, seeing the character evolve, currency system and rewards, gifts, a shop with room and avatar decorations, social connection, goals that actually matter to the user, streaks.
Key user aspirations include: self-improvement, making more friends, self expression, attention, achievement, feeling ‘good at a thing’, social connections.
Getting your ideas down on paper can be in the form of sketches, or sometimes it can help to just go to town with those sticky notes.
I decided to focus on creating lessons that earn experience points that unlock entrepreneurial games and features within those games, such as: first, a lemonade stand, then a pet care business, and a lawn care business.
Key features will include three main sections, the ‘let’s learn’ is where you do the trainings and the ‘let’s work’ contains the unlockable jobs where you will learn social interaction and leadership skills by exploring your ‘neighborhood’ from the map, learning about your neighbors and taking notes about the people you meet in order to help you remember more about the people you interact with and also create opportunities for growth. Interactions with the small community of characters within the game will be generated by AI, as well as suggested responses from the user. I want the kids’ privacy protected, and I also believe it will help them remember things they learn about other people.
Each ‘game’ will teach a social skill and a business skill while you play. The lessons and the notes will focus more on the business and leadership.
- I will do more sketching the next time, and of course…I would love to be able to test the designs out on my actual audience a little more.
- Bring in a User Journey Map & User Stories to help flush out which interaction screens are needed. I didn’t use them a whole lot for this project and I really wish I wold have. Those help you break down every seemingly simple situation into a very complicated one. It is perfect for figuring out where the holes are and get to plugging them all in.
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Click here to view the prototype. The embed code was not working right.
If you would like to work with me or have some feedback, check out my UX design portfolio site! Thank you!
Designs created for a course assignment in DGM 3270 | Product Design with Professor Steven Minert
- Finish with a call to action