Discovering Dyslexia :: User Experience with a Helping Hand
“Dyslexia is a type of specific learning difficulty identifiable as a developmental difficulty of language learning and cognition. It is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.” www.das.org.sg
Dyslexia Association Board: Hi Guys! How are you doing today? I have heard news from DAS (Dyslexia Association of Singapore) that you just did a UX project with them on designing a new Dyslexia Awareness app game, could you tell me a little bit more?
Team DD: Hi Guys! Good to meet you, such pleasure! Yes we just finished presenting to DAS and the board from Jurong. We had 2 weeks to finish this project and we showcased our research, findings as well as a working prototype to the board. Hopefully, they will find it very useful :)
Dyslexia Association Board: Thats great! Could you tell me how much do you know about Dyslexia when you first started this project?
Team DD: Honestly, no, we did not, therefore we had the courage to pick this topic and propose to our client. We wanted to make sure that more people are aware of Dyslexia because children with this hidden handicap is often misunderstood. We wanted to make that change.
Dyslexia Association Board: That’s really nice to hear, could you walk me through on your research and findings as mentioned earlier? Sounds interesting!
Team DD: Sure, I will. Let me walk you through topic by topic for a clear understanding of the process to our final prototype.
Contextual Inquiry and Screeners for Interviews
In the first week, we sent out surveys to recruit potential interviewees whom can help in our project. Questions are brain-stormed carefully to grab the right attention and answers for a potential interview. Questions are very general as we wanted to grab the right people with the right amount time.
From a 3day sprint, we gathered 22 responses and conducted 9 interviews over the course of 7days. The quality of the 9 interviews was superb and we had very good insights from then on. However, great insights did not just come out of the blue. We did contextual inquiry on the very first day itself. My team and I, did some background research on DAS and their nearest branches. I made a few calls to other centres to find out about their Centre Managers and tried to book a few appointments.
DAB: Wow, that is fast! What contextual inquiry did you do?
Team DD: We found out that the best way to understand DAS is to observe how they operate and also take as much details we can once we are there. We decided to head towards the nearest branch DAS Chinatown Point.
My team and I arrived in DAS(Chinatown) branch shortly, we took in as much information and brochures to better understand dyslexia more in depth. I had a little chat with the receptionist as well as on of the coordinators to better understand the process more. Unfortunately, the staff working there did not have time for a short interview, we decided to return home and brainstorm some questions to cater for Centre Managers, DAS Teachers, Dyslexic Adults, Parent with Dyslexic Children as well as academic teachers. We decided to do some research on the competitors that are out in the market as well.
For this research, we have analysed a few competitors in the market. Mostly from these 3 Mobile App, Preschool EduBirthday, Dyslexia by Nessy and Dyslexia Detector. We have highlighted the importance of these Apps and took in ideas of some of their features.
Through Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design, we selected 5 principles most relevant to our analysis. We kept it as simple and similar as any children’s interactive gaming App
DAB: That’s marvellous! Could you tell me more about the interviews? I am pretty sure you got hold of DAS working staffs!
Team DD: Yes we eventually did! I would like to thank Victor once again for his assistance even though we did not get a chance to meet him in person. He actually took the time out of his busy schedule to arrange our team to meet with his colleagues (Adrian and Rina) in Rex House branch along Bukit Timah Road.
Key Interviews and Responses
Here are some of our key interview questions we asked:
- How does the whole enrolment process works?
- Do you reach out to schools to offer assistance?
- How would early detection help the children?
A total of 9 Interviews (DAS Staff and Managers, Teachers and Parent of a mild Dyslexic child)
DAB: Wow that’s a lot of interviews in a span of 2 weeks, great job! May I ask what is the importance of these interviews and what did you do with all these collection of information?
Team DD: Well, interviewing with the right questions that catered for the right audience is very vital. As some questions may not apply to the right interviewees. Interview plays a very big role in what kinds of insights you will be receiving as well as probing them for more information can lead you to another level of insights. We consolidated the data we had by the end of the week. This time is using another method called Experience Mapping.
DAB: Experience Mapping? Haven’t heard that before, could you briefly describe it?
Team DD: Sure I will.
Experience Mapping is another research technique used to group behaviours and feelings from the data collection pull. As such here is the process to Experience Mapping.
First off, we gather data’s from each interviews and group them into “Doing, Feeling and Thinking”
After which, we group them into Pleasures and Pain to find the common groupings of each data we collected
Once we found the common trends within groups, we tried categorising this chunk into relevant topics. Essences uncovered were: Symptoms of Dyslexia, Early Detection, Community Involvement and Overcoming Dyslexia.
Once we got Experience Map v2 out, it became easier to see and come up with ideas of different features to counter these problems. My team got together and came up with features for each problems derived.
Based on research and findings, ranking most essential and low effort to do features were: Audio, Colours and Visuals, Fonts (Open-Dyslexic), Compliment child after every stage, Tips for Parent, Information on Famous People with Dyslexia as motivator for Parents, Send results to Parents, Games for Testing (Phonological,Memory and Phonic)
DAB: Wow, what a comprehensive research there! So who are we helping here? Correct me if I am wrong?
Team DD: The main target audience will be children ages from 6–8 years old. We have created a storyboard as well as 3 different personas that might help them throughout
To cover this grey area, we have included a few Personas:
Tom, 7, Primary School student with Dyslexia
A primary school student struggling with dyslexia.
Mr Tan, 42, Factory worker and Father of Tom
Due to his long and odd hours at work, Mr Tan is rarely home to help Tom with his schoolwork.
Mary, 34, Manager at a Private Bank and Mother of a Dyslexic Child
Mary is always busy at work, and rarely gets to spend time with her child. She wants to find a way to test her child for dyslexia without her child knowing.
DAB: Good to know! Helping DAS in a different way altogether! May I know how did you go about designing an app?
Team DD: Firstly, we did some sketching as mentioned below. We did a few iterations as the time went past especially the 2nd week.
Sketching and Wire-framing
DAB: May I ask, how do you do your testing? I can imagine it is quite difficult as it is a kid’s game?
Team DD: Yes, it definitely is. Luckily, we found 3 kids of age 6 to 8 to test on. We have to thank our school mates for their assistance. As you can see, our paper prototype is to test the functionality and flow of the game.
Version 1: Child keeps touching the Discovering Fonts instead of touching on the Play Now feature
Version 2: When asked how to start the game, the child clicked on the back button instead of ‘PLAY’. Change name from ‘PLAY’ to ‘START’. b,q,d,r was quite confusing for the child therefore unlined the cut letters. Image was changed from a kitten to a cat as it was very misleading.
Hi Parents Section is to keep parents aware and up to date with Dyslexia and DAS. We want to make parents be more participative and encourage them because a lot of time and commitment do come from the parents.
A Did You Know page to encourage parents that there are many people that suffer from Dyslexia and they were never hindered by it, instead they can become very successful.
DAB: Thank you so much for this interview, Team DD, it was such a great honor. I respect you and your team efforts! All the best! Can we see the Game now?
Team DD: Sure! I know you have been waiting. Thank you so much as well! It was such a great honor to be interviewed by you and your board.
Lastly, a short clip of how the DD Game works. Have a look:
As well as other stages in the game:
Finally, I would like to thank Caroline Ong and Masturah M. for being such great teammates. Also, a very big thank you to DAS friendly personnel and teachers, loved every bit of your passion in helping Dyslexia Children. Thank you for making our lives worthwhile. Have a great day!