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Jellyfish jim mobile app

Jellyfish Jim is an app created by a team of four. We were given a bluetooth toothbrush with electronic sensors and had to create an app with it that addresses the issue of dental hygiene. Our group decided to create a mobile app that targets children with braces. 

Jellyfish Jim is essentially a game where Jim the jellyfish requires the player to constantly help it exercise so it can stay strong, level up, collect shells for its home, in order to beat the water currents that will make him weak. The purpose of this is to motivate children to brush their teeth and also help stressed parents not need to constantly look over their child's dental hygiene due to busy schedules.


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.

Literary/user research

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.

Interview: issues addressed

  • Brushing style and changes with braces

  • Feelings/challenges with teeth brushing

  • Phone access

  • 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

*My role during the interview process: I wrote up questions and interviewed the orthodontists.
Interview findings

To summarize, our key findings from the interviews are, first of all, time the is the main issue. 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. Two other things we found out through our interview is that negative reinforcement techniques are very popular, and that some parents find tracking brushing progress through charts and stickers effective in sustaining healthy behavior.

affinity diagram

The affinity diagram is a business tool used to organize ideas and data. From the information we gathered, The four of us came to the conclusion that children find brushing boring and their techniques are aggressive which is not ideal. 

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.

concept generation

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 the two illustrations below, which is later selected to be used for our storyboard presentation:

Think-aloud Sessions

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.

low fidelity protoype

A wireframe is a visual representation of a user interface, through the initial phases of the app development. The ones we made include:


  1. Homescreen (start play / calendar / setting)

  2. Get your toothbrush ready! + toothpaste

  3. Play Screen

  4. Brushing Sequence / Just Dance!

  5. 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 created by me

Video Sketch

We came up with a short video sketch featuring scenarios in the perspective of both the parent and the child for this app.

(Video sketch created by my teammates while I focused on the entire UI design)

Key concepts

By synthesizing our concept generation, we identified two key concepts. The first is to use gameful learning to help kids with braces sustain proper brushing behavior independently. More specifically, we allow kids to interact with a virtual pet and we connect proper brushing motions with the pet’s work-out session; we eventually decided to go with jellyfish because, naturally, they are at the mercy of sea currents. This allow us to build a compelling narrative for why he wants to work out with the player.

Our second key concept is to support busy parents by providing calendar updates. Our design goal is to allow parents to be informed of the progress and be nudged when improper behavior happens, without feeling forced to micromanage their kids.

Final design

Final design

*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.


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

Game procedure

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

is completed

Screen showing how well

the child has done

Calendar view

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.

Team project by Roseanne Chao, Willa Hua, Daisy Hall and Sophia Chan

Designs, illustrations, and animations © Roseanne Chao