Play IT Project

The Project:

Play IT was a project for my HCI program in 2014 at Iowa State University. I was tasked with designing an app to aide children on the Autism spectrum.

The Process:

I had little knowledge about Autism so of course, I began by researching and learned that the spectrum is extremely diverse. I chose a specific age group and area of the spectrum to target for the app and created personas.


Research and Technology:

From here, I researched existing applications and brainstormed different project ideas. I decided to focus on object recognition and reading. I designed a photo capturing and sharing application that walks children through capturing different objects, saving the photos, and sharing them.

I wanted to use new technology (at the time), augmented reality, to provide children with a template to line objects up with. Everything a child selects would be read aloud to them in case they have difficulty reading. The app also needed to be very visual, but not overwhelming for kids.

The app is designed to help with object and emotional recognition by assisting kids with taking photos of people and every day objects. The application is also gamified and rewards children with badges and allows them to share photos and awards with approved accounts that a parent or guardian can set up.


Workflows and Wireframing:

I built workflows and wireframes in Axure and shared with my classmates for feedback and to collaborate. I decided to use a visual gallery to prompt children for new photos.



For this project, I was also required to create a brand identity and focus heavily on the visual design of the application. I wanted to provide a fun, personal, touch to the application so I went with a handwritten, playful, font and soft colors with vibrant accents.



Design Implications:

I would love to re-visit this application now that I have learned more about the tech and design trends have changed quite a bit.

One of the biggest changes I would make is simplifying the app. I would only use facial expressions in the photo snapping gallery to help children with emotional recognition rather than trying to cover that and object recognition in the same application. I would probably also remove the sharing capabilities as it seems overly complex for the app.


This project was awarded Honorable Mention in the Microsoft Imagine Cup-UX Challenge in 2014.


View the entire project notebook here