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An educational mobile app teaching children the fun in saving and earning money.
CLIENT

Client brief provided by Designlab​ UX Academy
MY ROLE

Research
Branding
UX/UI  Design
Prototype Testing
DURATION
3 weeks
MonFun is a kid-friendly mobile app that teaches children the value of saving, earning, and spending money wisely.

Allowing young children and parents to track chores and create saving goals, MonFun is the perfect app to start teaching children financial responsibility early on. 
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THE CHALLENGE

MonFun is a newer app that is early in its development stage, therefore there is a heavy need for research and testing before the app is ready to hit the market. This will be one of the first apps of this kind to target the 6-8 year age range, so testing the retention and usability is crucial at this stage. 
THE SOLUTION
I relied heavily on existing studies produced by the Nielsen Norman Group as well as other sources to help inform my design decisions for the Child User version of the app. Usability testing was an especially important source of information as it helped to discover what aspects of the product were registering with children and what aspects were conceptually confusing for them to grasp.
PROCESS
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01 RESEARCH

GOALS
  • Learn best practices when designing for younger children
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of closest competitors
  • Anticipate the needs and pain points of the target audience
METHODS
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Preliminary Research
  • User Interviews
  • Customer Personas
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
I began my research by identifying MonFun's closest competitors and reviewing their products. I found insightful information on user's pain points by reading through the reviews of each product. While the competitors target a slightly older age group, it was valuable to see what has worked and not worked for each product respectively. 
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PROVISIONAL PERSONAS
To help jumpstart my research, I created a few provisional personas to help inform what areas I should gain more information on. This app has 2 unique types of users and thus requires a broad range of research.
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PRELIMINARY RESEARCH
In order to get a better understanding what is necessary when designing for children between the ages of 6 - 8 years old, I read through many articles and studies posted by the Nielsen Norman Group and other UX research groups. I have summarized some of the highlights of my research points below:
  • A 2017 study reports that 98% of U.S. homes with children between the age of 0-8 had a mobile device and of that group, 42% of children had their own tablet for use
  • Children displayed more experience using mobile apps over computers
  • For children between the age of 6 - 8 years old, simple clicks and keystrokes were the extent of their physical abilities on mobile devices
  • Children expected instant gratification and interaction with the animations displayed
  • Children displayed a higher willingness to work around issues and learn than adult users
  • A prominent back button is crucial for young children when navigating apps
USER INTERVIEWS
In order to get a better understanding of what parents are doing to teach their children financial responsibility to their young children, I conducted an empathy research study made up of 4 parents. I have summarized my findings below:
  • Half of the participants shared that they utilized a chore chart to get their children to do tasks
  • Half of the participants shared that they would verbally remind their children to do chores
  • 3/4 participants rewarded their children for completing their chores
  • Half of the participants shared that their children used some sort of a piggy bank
  • Half of the participants shared that they held on to their children's money in an account
NEEDS
  • Incentive to get their children to complete their chores
  • Resources to teach their young children about the concept of earning and saving money
  • Interfaces that are straightforward and easy to understand
PAIN POINTS
  • Children cheating on their chore charts to confuse parents
  • Children not wanting to complete their chores
  • Fear of spoiling children
DESIRES
  • Teach children the value of saving and earning money
  • Less work as a parent incentivizing children to do their work or behave a certain way

02 DEFINE

USER PERSONAS

Based on the research gathered, I created user personas for the MonFun Child User and Parent User in order to better help me design intentionally and effectively. 
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STORY BOARDING

After creating my user personas, I opted to story board the different user journeys when using the MonFun app. These story boards would later be utilized when introducing the MonFun app in my usability research.​​
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SITEMAP

Based on the research and the story board, I created a sitemap to organize the site's content.
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TASK FLOW

Based on my Parent User persona I created a task flow reflecting the flow Grace would take when reviewing and approving her child's tasks. 
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USER FLOW
 I created a user flow that demonstrates the flows the Child User, Theo would take to add money to either add a new wish list item or add money to one. 
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PROJECT GOALS
I took time to compare and contrast the different business and user goals as well as the technical constraints that may occur during this project. These notes allowed me to determine effective goals for this project and would serve as a helpful reminder when designing the product.
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03 DESIGN

SKETCHING IDEATIONS

Before working on my wireframes in Figma, I sketched out different layout ideas for the home screen, task screen, and wish list screen.
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LOW FIDELITY WIREFRAMES
I created low fidelity wireframes that displayed the tablet screens of the Child User version of the MonFun app.
For the product, I wanted to ensure it was easy to understand and navigate for the Child User by including:
  • Few, but large sized buttons
  • Vibrant colors and animations 
  • Easy language 
  • Clear guidance and reminders
  • Visual images and symbols 
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BRANDING

When branding MonFun, I chose colors that were vibrant and engaging in order to appeal to the younger users. Animated characters (MonFun monsters) were used throughout the product to make it feel more approachable and friendly. Large, visual buttons were also used to help children navigate the app with greater ease.
HIGH FIDELITY MOCKUPS
I brought my wireframes and branding to life by creating high fidelity mockups of the MonFun app from the Child User perspective. During this process, I held off on including reminders for the sake of the first usability test.
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04 TEST

USABILITY TESTING

I created a prototype and began usability testing in person using a tablet and via Zoom. The test ​was made up of 3 participants aged 6-8 years old. 

Objectives
  • Test the ease of the app's usability from performing tasks to adding money to wish list items
  • Test the comprehension of the terms and symbols 
  • Identify any navigation problems
  • Gather first impressions of the app
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Summary of Findings
  • 2/3 participants had trouble with the word "Tasks", preferred the word "Chores" for understanding
  • All participants were able to identify how much money they had and comprehend the progress bars
  • All participants were able to navigate the app swiping vertically and horizontally
  • 2/3 participants had trouble initially exiting from the pop-up screen 
  • 1 participant had trouble understanding the word "Submit"
  • 1 participant hesitated on the login screen
  • 1 participant had trouble remembering how much money was needed to save when on the Task screen
  • All participants shared that they would use the MonFun app
AFFINITY MAP

Participants comments were divided by those related to the navigation of the prototype and general pieces of feedback. After analyzing the comments, wins from the study were listed as well as further areas to research.

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ITERATIONS
Based on my usability testing and affinity mapping, I was able to identify high priority iterations for the product: 
  • Increased the size of elements (checkbox, back button, and X) for easier selection
  • Added a question to the login screen to better guide users
  • Changed the label "Tasks" to "Chores for better comprehension
  • Changed the word "Submit" to "Add +"
  • Increased the darkness of the background when in pop-up state
  • Utilized the MonFun Monsters as helpful guides and reminders
See iterations in the prototype below.

05 TAKEAWAYS

This project stretched me to think very intentionally when thinking through how to design the UX for the younger audience. I found that gleaning information from the Nielsen Norman Group and other sources significantly helped to inform my designs to be engaging and effective. The biggest challenge design wise was introducing what may be a new concept to young children in a simplified way that they would best understand.

Usability testing proved to be crucial as it allowed me to better understand what children found confusing or what they were naturally expecting to happen when interacting with the product. 
NEXT STEPS
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  • Areas to consider for the future:

    • Introduction video to teach the concept of earning and saving money

    • Consider adding a "Behavior" option that allows parents to reward their children based on their behavior

    • Adding options for general savings or giving to charities

    • Educational fun facts

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