The increasing adoption of smartphones and tablets has lead to a boom in mobile gaming. The mobile gaming industry is characterized by a wider range of audience than its traditional counterpart, thus presenting designers with both opportunities and challenges.
Type Tablet Game Design
Date Spring 2016, 4 weeks
Course Interaction Design Studio
Tools Sketch, Photoshop, inVision
Skills Scenarios, Storyboarding, Visioning, Interface Design
Roles Researcher, Designer
Team Helen Li, Vanessa Cesário, Joel Rodrigues, Iris Wu

Project Background

The Problem

Mobile apps and games for ordinary people are in abundance, but the availability of assistive software is limited. Autism is the second most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder among children. An educational gaming app has the potential to benefit the development of many autistic children.

We would like to target relatively high-functioning autistic children, as research has indicated a greater room for improvements for this group.

We would like to target relatively high-functioning autistic children, as research has indicated a greater room for improvements for this group.




  • 36, Paulo’s mother
  • kind and positive
  • likes reading
  • president of parents' association
  • very patient with Paulo’s needs
  • knowledgeable on the topic of autism
  • has taught Paulo some basic routines

Challenge: increasing workload as new president

Immediate Goal: prepare Paulo to elementary school

Life Goal: make Paulo more independent as he grows


  • High-Functioning Autism (HFA)
  • 7 years old, lives in Madeira
  • does not like changes
  • enjoys space-related topics
  • owns a cat
  • goes to pottery classes
  • has trouble communicating emotions

Challenge: new morning routine for school

Immediate Goal: learn new skills

Life Goal: become more independent

Final Design - Live interaction in InVision

Final Design - Sample Screens (Child App)

Final Design - Sample Screens (Guardian App)

The Process

Summary of Design Process

  1. Brief introduction – explore the problem scope and present initial ideas
  2. Research – frame persona and scenario and brainstorm gaming concept
  3. Studio – create and revise scenarios, storyboards, and wireframes through feedback
  4. Presentation  – refine final deliverable and present game to the class

Scenarios & Storyboards

Story 1: Routine Reinforcement

Story 2: Evaluation and Level-Up

Story 3: Coping with Changes

Sketches & Wireframes

Sketches - Visualization of App Interface

Lo-Fi Wireframes - Outlining Key Points of Interaction

Looking Forward

Our group truly enjoyed working on this project together. However, we only have a four-week timeframe, so many aspects of the design could be refined. I think this project can further benefit from the following improvements:

  1. More consistent terminology across the child's app and guardian's app.
  2. Better check mechanism to enhance real-life impacts of mini adventures.
  3. In addition to messages and notifications, encourage the communication of emotions through easy and interesting ways.
  4. Add community feature to create support network for users.