Week Five: Paper then Screen

This week was really all about getting my ideas down on paper. Making a physical start to my major project. I’ve done plenty of research, and know exactly what I want to do, now I need to begin doing it.

I’ve been drawing lose hand forms to practice finger shapes and shading before I move onto illustrating digitally.


First port-of-call: wireframes.

I started laying out rough ideas for each main screen; loading/brand interaction, homepage, login/register and the lesson menu. I started with these as these will be the most visited pages and the core of the web app. Also, by establishing a house style for these core pages, it will be easier for me to create the multiple screens within each lesson.

These are my LoFi wireframes — you can see there really isn’t a lot of detail at all at this stage. I want to get the bare bones idea for each page down, then I’ll move onto creating more detailed ones once I’m set on the route I’ll take.

Illustration Prototypes

This week I also began sketching some ideas for landscapes. I’m starting off with the landscapes because I’m really excited about the idea of creating themes and scenes based around the sign that’s being taught.

I’m started off here with considering the animals lesson — this should probably be the easiest one to come up with ideas as I can just look at their natural habitats. I started off with a forest/lake scene, which could be used for animals such as fish, ducks, birds, tortoise etc.

My Illustration Process

*I realise it is a bit early in the game to be jumping onto Illustrator, but sometimes getting something started and being able to see it digitally helps keep me on the right track*

To start with, I dove straight into sketching rough ideas on paper for the illustration I want to create. Sometimes I’ll look through Google, Pinterest, Behance and Dribbble for inspiration, if I’m not sure for the style of the illustration.

Wireframes for the animals landscape idea

Once I have the sketch sorted, I’ll move onto picking a colour palette. I usually do this by looking at what colours will need to be used in the illustration, then putting a bunch of different shades or tones of that colour together. I like to group them to the side of the artboard I’m working on.

I’ll then get straight into creating the illustration. I like the quirky look of using the pencil and pen tools, rather than just using the shapes tool so that’s what I mainly work with. For example, the bushes in the image below were drawn using the pencil tool to give them a natural, uneven look, then I connected them using the pen tool where needed.

I create loads of different layers in my illustrations, so it’s easy to go back and make changes without disturbing the rest of the illustration.

My workspace for creating illustrations.

Market Research Survey

Now that responses have stopped coming into my survey, I have collated them into a spreadsheet (which is an awesome feature of Google Docs —handles all of the tedious copying and pasting for you!). I had a total of 37 responses, so think I got a good variety of responses, and was pointed towards a good few apps that the children use, which I can use for further researching and inspiration.

From the survey, I’ve noticed that 81.1% of respondents were more than happy for their children to learn another language, with 83.8% of them willing to encourage their children to use and learn sign language through an educational app.

This was pleasing to hear, as it means my app has the potential to be something people are interested in, reaffirming that there is a market for this type of app.

On the other hand, the 11.1% of respondents said they wouldn’t encourage their children to use this app. This answer came from respondents who previously indicated that they weren’t interested in their children learning languages that weren’t taught by the school. 1% replied “Don’t know”, and another 1% replied “Not as young as P3 but when older yes”.

You can also see in the above that someone had responded that their child didn’t like learning at home, and that they refuse to do it. As a side note, I wanted to mention that I want to create this app as fun and engaging so children like this one don’t feel like they’re just learning as if they would from a textbook, instead they feel like they’re actually achieving something.

I think this shows that people need educated on the benefits of beginning to learn a language at a young age. I understand that they may think that children at the age of 5/6/7/8 are too young to retain this, but studies have proven time and again that when integrated into children’s daily lives, they easily retain and use the language.

The other side of this, is that the parents never received such education, nor have they ever came in contact with a deaf person, therefore they mightn’t realise the impact this would have, and the divide in the community there is. There is, however, a rising trend of young children learning languages and being enrolled in language classes by their children, thanks to the example set by private education institutions. This is pleasing to see.

This also highlights a point that I should consider educating parents in the benefits of learning a language at a young age through my marketing strategy for the app. This could help convince a few parents to, at least, download the app and let their children give it a chance.

Finally, I asked for opinions on the business model, and there were two options that were most popular: Free, and Freemium. It is important to note that a few respondants selected free, despite them not being interested in their children learning sign langauge, and they didn’t select the not interested option — this will be important to consider.

A few people were willing to pay 99p (5.4%) and £1.99 (8.1%), with the third highest percentage (16.2%) of people voting for £5.99. When looking at this, I think this suggests a sort of upper-limit to what people will pay. Paying £5.99 upfront, users would be expecting a substantial amount of content to be available.

Looking at all of this, I think I will go for the Freemium model. 29.7% of people voted for this model, and it is the same model many language learning apps follow. The reason why I am deciding on this business model is because a total of 62.1% of survey respondents indicated that they would be willing to make some sort of payment, as opposed to the 37.8% who wouldn’t pay. I feel that a freemium model will be the best of both sides in this situation.

If you want to view the results in full, I exported the Google Form to a Spreadsheet which can be seen here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MJSLFzeo-1knTMiiIrctOBtphd425V0p_WPv3iNtdY8/edit?usp=sharing

What makes learning interesting for children?

I found an interesting text on what makes learning interesting for children whilst doing some reading last week. This text was particularly useful because the author conducted their own user research with children.

I was pleased to come across this raw data as user research with children wasn’t something I was able to get access to within a short period of time during my initial researching.

I discussed the article over on my research Tumblr: https://bsl-for-kids.tumblr.com/post/166760150211/what-makes-learning-interesting-for-children

From this article and reading many others, I’ve came to the conclusion that there are certain elements to games that capture children’s attention, that I want to incorporate into my major project:

  • sense of adventure,
  • surprising elements,
  • physicality (actually doing things with their hands, jumping about etc),
  • role playing,
  • competition, and
  • autonomy (being able to do it without teachers/parents).

What I’m Reading…

I’ll soon be diving into learning Adobe Animate CC and experimenting with it, so I’ve been looking for tutorials and articles to read. I found this one by TutsPlus interesting, as it explains the process of animation simply and gives a good overview of the tools.