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Education

InsideU: a platform for social & emotional learning

Background

Client: Renée Crown wellness institute – University of Colorado Boulder
Team: Liquid interactive – head of product, project manager, content writer, developers, UI/UX designer.
Role: lead designer
Visit: https://insideu.colorado.edu

Publications

Denver 7 news
CU’s Crown Institute partners with Pixar for emotional learning based on “Inside Out” movie – Link

Crown Institute
Crown Institute partners with Pixar to launch learning app for children based on Disney and Pixar’s animated film Inside Out – Link

Daps Magic
Crown Institute at the University of Colorado and Pixar Collaborate to Create ‘Inside Out’ – Kid’s Themed App – Link

Liquid Interactive
A theory for more effective engagement in digital learning – Link

Goals

The Liquid team collaborated with Colorado University’s Crown Institute to develop an accessible emotional education platform for children, focusing on entertainment.

The product supports Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and it is centered around the characters from Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out.

Upon joining the team, the first couple of episodes were already created and published on a temporary homepage. Our main objectives for the public release were:

– To iterate on the Homepage design and build a permanent version

– To introduce a “for parents” section, providing information about the product and methodology

– To oversee the script, animations, and designs for episodes 3 & 4

– To design the console and visualizer feature for episodes 3 & 4

The console

The big questions for the console feature were:
which tools can help a child to represent their emotion? And what do emotions look like?
What is the best experience that would assist the user in talking about their emotions?
We explored various parameters, including the shape, color, and sound. How does the motion influence its environment? Does it move in space or is it static?

Is one color enough to represent an emotion? Is one sound enough? Is one shape enough? How many shapes are too many shapes?

We drew inspiration from the Inside Out movie, while also exploring classic and modern music visualizers during the research phase. These visualizers provided insights into representing music’s rhythm and sensation in a technically feasible way.

Outline

Upon multiple rounds of iteration, we proceeded to establish rules for the sliders and the behavior of the shapes. This involved continuous testing, iteration, research, and adjustment, along with close collaboration across design, development, product, client, and management teams.

Eventually we reached a level of satisfaction where the visualizer hosted a range of display parameters and the visuals were diverse, satisfying, and engaging. We knew we had achieved our goal.

The homepage

The episodes were initially grouped in a concise landing page that directed users to the episodes. Both the team and the client agreed on the need to iterate on the homepage design and user journey.

Designing a homepage for 10-year-old children and their parents is not the same as designing a homepage for adults.

Additionally, designing a homepage for 10-year-old children is not the same as designing a homepage for 8-year-old or 12-year-old children.

Conducting extensive research on UX design for children provided insights into the varying and shared standards between children and adults, as well as among different age categories of children.

It is an unusual approach for an unconventional product.
Fortunately, the team’s truly agile mindset and methodology facilitated the entire process and played a pivotal role in its success.
The approach proved to be a success. Multiple feedback from the client confirmed that the children are excited to discover the platform and use the console. 
Several sources have published articles about the approach and product.