UNDERSTANDING THE USER & CREATING EMPATHY
ORGANIZING THE STRUCTURE OF CONTENT & FEATURES
To understand the structure of the current curriculum, we reverse-engineered the in-classroom experience. What we discovered was that each of the instructors had their own way of delivering the information. Additionally, the curriculum presented was different for different ages: Middle school children were given a compressed lesson, and high schoolers were given an expanded, more detailed lesson. In order to create a unified lesson that could be used in all instances, we had to find the common ground among all teaching styles. We then worked with the Discovery Center team to modify the curriculum. Together we developed several game-like modules and discovery activities that were designed to educate as well as engage.
COMPOSING SOLUTIONS THAT DELIGHT THE USER
In order to make sure the technology didn’t overshadow the curriculum, we devised a stripped-down interface that allowed the lesson to guide the students rather than have the students use a complex navigation system to get around. Our navigation design had only three elements: forward, backward, and a main menu (which was rarely needed). All other navigation would be handled through choices designed into the new curriculum. We wanted to be sure that the students didn’t run wild on the devices or get distracted by trying to check out Reddit or YouTube instead of learning, so we developed the app in a way that all other iPad functions were not necessary or accessible. And to prevent students from jumping ahead or lagging behind, we created several stopping and starting points that required other classmates to be involved.
BRINGING THE DESIGNS TO LIFE
User Interface Designs
In order to be effective in teaching leadership and decision-making skills to school-aged children, the app needed to appear as sophisticated and professional as the content it delivered. The curriculum set a high level of expectation from the students, therefore the UI design needed to as well.
WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
The “Operation: Urgent Fury” app has completely re-invented the classroom curriculum in a much more engaging way. New games and activities educate while they entertain and the entire experience allows students to lead themselves rather than sit and listen to a lecture.