UNICEF AND CBOARD BACKGROUND
The CBoard, an AAC device for Android for children with communication difficulties, is a project that I applied to work on through Develop for Good. After passing the applications, I was put into a group with other designers and developers, where we had 3 months to come up with a version 2 design, and another 3 months for developers to code.
Original app structure: onboarding, home, select to edit, settings
Our first task was to do intensive research regarding other AAC devices and how the original version of CBoard can improve. We did sticky notes on CBoard, looked into similiar apps, and came up with a summary of our findings:
My research DUMP:
ADJACENT INDUSTRY AUDIT
Alternate AAC devices we looked at were Dynavox, Aacorn, and CoughDrop. We discovered that all the devices have a very simple design - the word, the icons, and tiles. They had multiple access methods and layouts where users can choose preferences that might make navigation clearer. Furthermore, they can easily rearrange words if a mistake is made when selecting tiles to create sentences.
Coughdrop & Aacorn
Good AAC software should have these main features:
Sentence building and editing
Tabs/groups with most common words for fast socialization. Relatable topics for the age group
Easy way to hide and unhide buttons for when the child is learning a certain button. This can help create less confusion/distraction.
Visuals must be recognizable by users.
Using visuals for not just the user, but for others around the user as well. This helps incorporate everyone around and also build a more universal design for learning (UDL)
Visuals are more important for kids until 7. For kids above the age of 7, they rely a little less on it (depending on degree of speech impairment).
I was able to find two acquaintances who work with children with Autism. I was able to interview them regarding the use of AAC devices. After the interview, we consolidated our findings and came up with a plan of improvement:
Ability to rearrange tiles in sentence by pressing, holding and dragging.
Ability to access frequently used phrases.
Ability to type your own words if unable to find the word.
Ability to choose the label position (top or bottom).
Ability to record audio and save with tile.
Ability to copy one or more tiles or folders between folders.
Ability to upload picture (photo) from device onto tile, or change tile icons.
Locking and hiding tiles, while editing layout.
Ability to change the fonts.
When deleting a tile when locked, it deletes the tile and other tiles do not move position.
Adding colors and changing folder shape to make their icons more obvious.
Making locked and unlocked mode more obvious.
Consolidating and using icons that are more universally interpretable.
PHASE 2: LOFI PROTOTYPE
We created a lofi prototype based on the conclusion above. I was part of creating the edit mode of the screen where tiles can be hidden and locked, as well as a bit of the revised sentence creation flow.
CONCEPT TESTING OF LOFI
After the Lofi, I was able to show the flow to the two people I previously interviewed to figure out whether the revision would help users have a smoother experience with CBoard. In general, the feedback from them were positive - they enjoyed the new changes where the flow was easier to use for the children's' guardians, especially when it comes to input for words to create sentences. Some useful feedback from concept testing showed that we should eliminate unnecessary features during the edit mode, such as sentence creation, because the people using edit mode would be the children's guardians, not the children themselves.
The original screen going to unlocked screen for guardians to edit the board. With this design, folders are more obvious, and there is a clearer unlock alert than the original. The "Enter text or add tiles" is removed once unlocked to prevent confusion for whether or not the tile is unlocked.
Predictive tiles are implemented as a shortcut. Also, upon going into a folder, the folder navigation [Board Name > Folder ] is indicated to users are aware of their navigation.
Moving tiles around. Hidden tiles also don't show up but stay in place.
Users can edit the appearance of the display and tiles depending on the child's preference so it's more "friendly" and "personal"
There are now multiple ways to edit a board in one spot. Before, users can only duplicate boards on this screen. Now, users can edit, duplicate, and customize boards any way they want.