Our group had to come up with a mobile app that would promote dental hygiene for young children with braces. We decided to design a game that connects to an electronic bluetooth toothbrush.
In the game, Jim the jellyfish requires the player to help it exercise so it can get stronger, collect shells for its home, and level up and get stronger. The purpose of this is to motivate children to brush their teeth and help parents not need to constantly look over their child's dental routine.
We want to research oral hygiene practices for 7-to-9-year-old children with braces so we can design a mobile app that leverages a sensor-enabled electric toothbrush to engage children with the demanding brushing routine throughout the active treatment period by conducting interviews with children wearing braces, their parents, clinicians.
For literary review, we looked at three different fields (I was in charge of interviewing the orthodontist with one other partner). here's what we found: The crucial features of a good app include visibility of user’s status, customizability, positive motivation strategies, educational properties, usability and aesthetics. For patients with orthodontic appliances, dental hygiene is a lot more complicated because spots are difficult to reach when brushing, especially for children.
*My role during the interview process: I wrote up questions and interviewed the orthodontists.
Brushing style and changes with braces
Feelings/challenges with teeth brushing
Game use and preferred types of games
Things they have noted about their child’s
dental health in relation to braces
Tools/methods to improve child’s oral hygiene
Opinions on phone use and types of games for children
Strategies in teaching children dental hygiene
Biggest challenge in children patients
Treatment length and brushing frequency
Communication with children vs. their parents
To summarize, time and accountability seemed to be the main issues. Children find the time for brushing too long and boring; on the other hand, parents struggle with taking time to monitor children brushing. In addition, children brush aggressive in a rush, which doesn’t help with proper oral hygiene. Additional educational support that reinforces the brushing technique taught by the orthodontics would be valuable.
Inspired by games such as Pet Society and Animal Crossing, I suggested to achieve this goal by making a reward system which generates the growth of a virtual pet that develops overtime to ensure the users long term engagement, and at the same time provide user with feedback so they know how they're doing.
We generated a wide range of concepts. Some ideas focused more on educational activities, including relating teeth brushing to biology or learning about archeology. Others were designed to care for a pet. These concepts aimed to focus the act of teeth brushing towards completing a challenge or activity in the game. The app was also meant to strengthen brushing patterns taught by an orthodontist.
*My work are top two illustrations below, which is later selected to be used for our storyboard presentation:
My role here was to lead the sessions with our classmates as guinea pigs by handing them the screen as they navigate through the app.
While both the game and parental monitoring are both key components of our app, we found the game to be more challenging to develop. We were able to hear from our peers, to receive more technical feedback on the app. Our peers and the children that one of my teammate conducted this session with had similar suggestions when going through the think aloud sessions. We need to work on clarity of instructions to better communicate steps in the app. We also needed to represent where to brush more clearly through a tooth/mouth diagram. Lastly, we needed to unify our design choices more in terms of aesthetic.
A wireframe is a visual representation of a user interface, through the initial phases of the app development. The ones we made include:
Home screen (start play / calendar / setting)
Get your toothbrush ready! + toothpaste
Brushing Sequence / Just Dance!
3 Stars, workout complete! Streak stats (7 days so far). Jellyfish takes out prize he collected from the coral reef
After laying down the initial wireframes, we had a think aloud session in class to gather feedback.
*Low fidelity prototype flow and basic shapes created by me
We came up with a short video sketch featuring scenarios in the perspective of both the parent and the child for this app.
(My teammates created the visuals and rough content of the sketch. I prepared the final flow to match with the contents of the final UI)
By synthesizing our concept generation, we identified two key concepts. The first is to use games to actively keep children engaged. Secondly, we have to provide enough incentive for the kids to come back to use this app. Therefore, we decided to create a "storyline" with the game that will help create goals for the children to reach.
*Everything here besides the jellyfish illustration is created by me
In the home screen, you see Jim the jellyfish in his house. If he is happy (left), it indicates that the child has recently brushed his/her teeth and doesn't have to brush at the moment. On the right, Jim is telling the child to exercise, meaning that it has been a while.
BRUSHING TECHNIQUES WITH JELLYFISH MOTION
There are different motions and patterns when it comes to brushing your teeth. The jellyfish has three movements for each of the three movements. The illustration of the mouth and toothbrush and arrows will indicate to the kids the motions and position for their tooth brush. Also, the kids will have previously learned these 8 steps at the clinic with their orthodontist so it wont be the first time they see this diagram and mimic the motion.
horizontal/vertical: sweeping back and forth
top circular motion: spinning
bottom circular motion: swaying and spinning
Here is how the game works - the game will first display the instructions and motion. After the electric toothbrush senses that the child did the motion properly for a certain period of time, the next screen will show up to indicate if his or her technique/motion is good, great, or perfect. The lower bar will also indicate the child’s progress and steps. Below will be the jellyfish moving in the motion of the toothbrush. So for instance, this is a back and forth motion that will lead to the jellyfish moving to the rhythm of the toothbrush back and forth. After this screen, the next step will be displayed and so on.
Reward for perfect rating
Screen after the game
Screen showing how well
the child has done
The calendar view, which can be accessed through the home screen, is mainly a progress report that the parent of the child can view to see if their child is on track with their dental hygiene.
In this view, the past dates will have either a star or red dot next to the date, showing that the child has either brushed well and at least twice that day, or skipped/done poorly.
Clicking onto one of the dates can provide the parent more data as to when the child brushed his/her teeth and how well they have done.