Discovering Dyslexia

With Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS)

I worked on this project with a team of 2. Initially, the idea was to create a game application that would aid dyslexic children overcome learning difficulties in a more fun and interactive way. After speaking to some people, and from the results of our Screener Questions, we realised that there are people who do not know or are unsure of what dyslexia actually is.

From there, we decided that the game application should be an alternative to a Dyslexia Screener Test. With DAS, screeners happen a few times a year, if parents or teachers notice the children’s difficulty in learning, they can contact DAS to test them. With our app, we aim to shorten the process and waiting time, so that dyslexic children will not fall behind in school and get the help they need with DAS.

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability, which impacts primarily on language, in particular spelling, reading, writing, and/or math. This makes learning hard, and poses a challenge for children to progress and succeed academically.

“Dyslexia is, in short, a processing deficit”

— Gopalkrishnan Givanadam, 
Centre Manager of Chua Chu Kang Learning Centre 
(Dyslexia Association of Singapore)

The Problem

This short film from DAS explains some of the problems of a child dealing with dyslexia, and a frustrated, tired parent who does not understand why his child is not doing well in school.

If you cannot Laern oT Raed, you cannot Read To Learn.

Interviews

My team and I wanted to tackle this problem from all possible angles.
We spoke to:

  • Mr Gopalkrishnan Givanadam, 
    Centre Manager of Chua Chu Kang Learning Centre
    (Dyslexia Association of Singapore)
  • Miss Rina
    Education Therapist at Rex House Learning Centre
    (Dyslexia Association of Singapore)
  • Miss Halimah Yahya 
    Education Therapist at Bedok Learning Centre
    (Dyslexia Association of Singapore)
  • Mr Adrian Teh
    Education Technician at Rex House Learning Centre
    (Dyslexia Association of Singapore)
  • Miss Faridah Kayadi
    Allied Educator (Discipline) at Geylang Methodist Secondary School
    (Ministry of Education)
  • Miss Feith Chuang
    Previously a Teacher at a Primary School
    (Ministry of Education)
  • Miss Clare
    Parent of a Dyslexic Child
  • Miss Vanessa
    Dyslexic Adult

Experience Mapping

From all 9 interviews, we created an Experience Map with the information that we gathered

Essences

The key takeaways that we extracted were:

  • Across the board, they agreed that early detection is important
  • We also found out how to detect symptoms of dyslexia
  • Tips on overcoming dyslexia through DAS or self-taught
  • How important community involvement is; for parents to find other parents going through similar challenges, for awareness, etc

Feature Prioritisation

From the essences, we brainstormed for possible features, and ranked them on a essential or nice-to-have, and low or high effort.

Chosen Features

  • Audio
  • Colours, Visuals and Animation
  • Open-Dyslexic Font (created specifically for a dyslexic’s ease of reading)
  • Celebrations after every question (for motivation)
  • Tips for Parents (for assurance and aid)
  • Information on Famous People with Dyslexia as motivator for Parents
  • Send results to Parents (via e-mail)
  • Games for Testing (Phonological,Memory and Phonic)

User Experience (Tom and Mr Tan)

Here are the User Experience Journeys for both Tom and his father, Mr Tan. You can see the decline of the emotional journey for both of them.

User Experience Journey (Mary and child)

Here is the user experience journey for a mother after the school distributed the app to parents. Note that the emotional journey climbs after using the app, and then getting help from DAS.

DD Games

Discovering Dyslexia Game

Distribution

In addition to teachers looking out for dyslexics in a class of 40, we propose that DAS contact the schools to distribute this app to parents of children between 6–8 years old.

Users Are Both Parent and Child

The parent downloads the app, and they have to sign up so that the results will be sent to them. There is also a “Hi Parents!” page where they can learn more about dyslexia, looking out for the symptoms and overcoming them. Giving examples of successful individuals who were dyslexic also helps educate parents and remove the stigma of viewing dyslexia as a handicap.
For the child, however, it is just a game. They don’t know that they’re being tested because this might cause anxiety. That is also why the app is called DD Games instead of Discovering Dyslexia.

Hi Fidelity Prototype

Sample Questions

These are sample questions are from each of the game levels that we have.

  • Sounds (Phonics)
  • Memory
  • Spot The Difference
  • Numbers (Dyscalculia)
  • Word Game (Phonology)
  • Matching

Design Process

Sketches

Wireframes

Low Fidelity Prototype

Iteration 1

Some users clicked the title instead of ‘Play Now!’, so we changed it to be a big button in the middle.

Iteration 2

Photo of a kitten was changed to a cat when the question was to “Pick on what you hear — cat”. Some users hesitated to select the picture of the kitten.

The letters b, p, b and q were also underlined so that the users do not confuse them with each other.

With other games, the button to start reads ‘Start’ instead of ‘Play’, so we changed it to make it more intuitive.

Iteration 3

Since the game is catered for children between 6–8, we changed the input of the child’s age to be a dropdown menu where only 6, 7 and 8 are available.

We also added an error state should the parent decide to skip signing up. Signing up is a crucial part of the screener, so the parents can receive an e-mail informing them of the results and whether the child has low or high risk of dyslexia.

Features

Buttons

When the child has selected an answer, the button turns grey. If correct, the child will be led to the next question after a celebratory “Yay!”. If wrong, there will be a buzzing sound and the button will shake. The child gets one more try, and then they will move on to the next question.

Timer

We have also included a timer. This is important to calculate the results of the test because one of the symptoms of dyslexia is bad time management and slower processing of information.

Audio and Font

Lastly, one of the most crucial components is for the child to have to option to listen to the questions. The questions are read out in case the child is slow in reading. Also, we are screening very young children, and they might not be reading very fluently.

The Open-Dyslexic font is also used to make it easier for a dyslexic child to read, since it is created and curated specifically for dyslexics.


It’s been lovely talking to you. Please e-mail me at hello@missmasturah.com if you have questions or just want a chat. Cheers.

Like what you read? Give Masturah M. a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.