“Read & Seek Forest” was a project I just recently did for my Interaction Design class. The goal was to design an educational application for children 5 and under, while working with the challenges for designing for a much younger and vulnerable audience.
“Read and Seek Forest” teaches children about animals that live in forest habitats, while also practicing basic reading/pronunciation skills and sound identification. Users can explore and search a forest environment for hidden animals, and learn their sound and name. Through small interactive games, users learn what the animal eats while also practicing phonics skills. Children can also take pictures outside and create their own animal habitat picture.
The app will allow users to explore a forest, and look for animals hiding in their habitat. Children will be prompted to slide through the forest, and tap anything moving in it.
When the right place is tapped, an animal will pop up. Audio will pronounce the animal’s name, and spell it out. There will be a sound icon to tap to hear the animal’s sound, and a food icon to play a feeding/phonics game.
The game would prompt children to feed the animal what it eats in it’s habitat (example: feeding the deer leaves), but only feed it the leaves that make the first sound in it’s name. Each leaf would have a letter on it, and when you would go to tap and drag it to the animal, the leaf makes the sound of it’s letter (leaf with a letter “d” makes a “de” sound when you tap it).
Another activity that would be used in a class lesson would be to allow children to make their own animal habitats. Children could take pictures outside, and then using the animals they have found in the app, could add them to the photo to create their own picture. Students could then share their picture with the class, and be prompted to explain why the animal would want to live in the habitat they made.
After all the user testing and final design edits, I can say I’m really happy with how this project turned out. I think that it is successful as an educational and interactive app for kids, and really encourages them to learn and search for things in nature. It was a lot of work, but the best part of this was illustrating the animal characters and scenery for the app. Interaction design that I keep surprising myself in, and if I ended up getting a job doing a lot of this kind of work I’d be pretty happy with it! The last part of the project was creating two presentation boards that showed off the app’s features including screens, main tasks, and the app icon.