Contextual Inquiry-Group:GroupM

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  • Aneesh Goel: Sketched one scenario of the example task and wrote the task list section and the analysis of approach.
  • Alex (Yu) Li: Organized and set up the wiki page; wrote the target user, problem, interview description, task analysis, and interface design intro sections (including sketches); and created the Main home page sketch.
  • Mohsen Rezaei: Conducted one interview, wrote up the interview summary, and sketched one scenario of the example task.
  • Wilson Chau: Sketched one scenario of the example task, and filled out the description for the task.
  • Joe Cadena: Conducted two interviews, and wrote up the interview summaries.
  • Everyone: Brainstorm about the list of 6 tasks, and UI design for the three scenarios we picked to illustrate.

Target Users

The target user group of our iPhone application is the parents of young children, primarily toddlers to preschoolers who usually have very little time to spend teaching their children ABCs and numbers. At first we considered targeting the children, but we later realized that none of them could afford iPhones, which interferes with our marketing plans. We choose parents as our target user group, because our app is best suited to this audience. Parents want something that both teaches their child and keeps them distracted. Furthermore the portability of our app allows on-the-go parents to happily keep their young children entertained with learning tools while they are running errands.

For the contextual inquiry, our group decided to interview three parents within the scope of our user group. We choose both stay at home parents and working parents for our interviewees in order to obtain a good range for our data. We wanted to know the needs of our user group and what their children preferred, since the success of the iPhone app is contingent on how much both the child and parent like using the product.

  • User 1: Our first user is an undergraduate student who is also a single parent. She works part time and has a very busy schedule, which leaves her with very little time for extra activities. The only free time she has are some evenings and weekends. Because she is a single working parent, she is a perfect example of our user group. She doesn't always have the time to teach her three children (ages 3, 9, and 10), so she will greatly benefit from our app because it allows her to entertain and educate her children while she's busy running errands. The interviewee owns a lot of books, two computers, and a video game console (for her kids). She likes watching television, spending time with her family, and exercising. She also works with elementary-aged children, which means that she has very good insight into what children want and how they learn, which will be very useful to observe in our interview.
  • User 2: Our second user is a high school graduate and stay-at-home mom. She has three kids, ages 2, 7, and 10. Since she is a stay-at-home mom, she has lots of free time and often helps her kids with their homework. Although she has lots of time, her responsibilities to her children (such as teaching and helping with their homework) do not allow her to travel and run errands very much. She is also a good example of our user group, since her traveling problem could potentially be solved by our app. She can simply let her children play with the app while she drives and does grocery shopping. She owns a computer and video game console. She enjoys watching television and spending time with her family.
  • User 3: Our third user is a middle aged PhD student. She works at the Santa Clara Country Social Service Agency as a social worker. Since she has a demanding professional life, she's very busy, which means she has less time to spend with her two young children (ages 2 and 4). Her work schedule doesn't give her much of a weekend, so she really treasures the time she has with her kids. Because she's very busy, if she wants to take her kids somewhere, the interviewee can use our app to keep her kids distracted during the drive and when she's busy with other things (she fits into our user group). Additionally, the interviewee buys her kids lots of toys and likes spending time and watching television with them.

Problem Description

Our application's user group is the parents of young children, primarily toddlers to preschoolers who are just beginning to learn their ABCs. In a child's early development, parents want something that is both educational and entertaining, and in many everyday situations it is just not possible to bring along toys or games to keep the child entertained. Parents need something that is portable and teaches their children ABCs and simple words while they are busy trying to work, drive, or perform any number of other tasks. Our solution to this problem is an iPhone application that helps young children learn to write through tracing letters and words while also incorporating coloring (something the child likes). The idea is to combine a connect-the-dots coloring book with handwriting. In this way, not only does the child learn to write, but also the meaning of what they're writing. Our app teaches the child to associate letters with sounds and color pictures. Furthermore, we have also implemented a picture/letter matching quiz that lets the parent keep track of their kid's progress (the quiz tests the child's speed in recognizing which letter is associated with which picture). Our team's app provides a highly portable edutainment application that is both fun for the child and satisfies the needs of the parent.

Interview Description and Results

Interview 1

The interviewing techniques used while conducting the first interview were based on the contextual inquiry method mentioned in our first reading. The interviewee and her daughter were observed in their everyday environment reviewing the alphabet and numbers, while a member of our team watched their interaction and asked questions to obtain data on the child's preferred method of instruction. Additionally, he struck up a rapport with the mother to better understand what she felt was the most effective study method for her child. The interviewer tried to be an apprentice and learn from the mother how to teach small children their ABCs and numbers. As the mother and daughter continued their activities, the interviewer also took notes on the relevant contents of the house: numerous children's books, a bucket of coloring supplies, colorful toys, hand-held video games and consoles, and children's drawings displayed on the walls and refrigerator. Something unique the interviewer noticed was that near the end of the study session, the little girl wanted her mother to read to her, which meant that her interests laid more with illustration and coloring.
Key Observations:
  • Child loved to color and draw. During interview breaks, the child continued to draw creating “animals” and “faces” of various colors.
  • Flashcards kept a limited attention span. This activity was observed to keep the child’s attention for the least amount of time.
  • Colorful books, cartoons, and toys were preferred. A quick observation of the child’s toy collection revealed a preference for colorful and noise-making toys, much of them based on popular cartoon characters.
  • Child owns a Nintendo DS. Although 3 years old, the child was highly entertained with the hand-held video game by pressing buttons and seeing the character perform actions.
  • Parent saves and displays child’s drawings. Activity books were not discarded when completely full and some torn out pages were observed hung on the refrigerator and wall of the child’s room.

Interview 2

In the second interview, the interviewer also adopted the master-apprentice contextual inquiry techniques we discussed in class. A member of our team went to the subject's house to observe and learn from our interviewee and her son how to teach children their ABCs and numbers. First the interviewer observed the mother review the alphabet and numbers with her son without interjection. After noticing the child's loss of interest, the interviewer suggested using an interactive method such as coloring, painting, or drawing, which was much more beneficial to the child's learning. As the two continued their activities, the interviewer glanced around the home and noted relevant teaching contents such as: children's books, a video game console, numerous toys, and a computer. Something unique the interviewer noted near the end of the interview was that the little boy headed straight for the video game console after the study session. This could be explained by the fact that the little boy enjoyed video games and couldn't wait to finish studying so he could play on his console.
Key Observations:
  • Child loved video games. The child was observed sitting next to his sibling for about 30 minutes as she played her video game console.
  • It was difficult keeping child’s attention. The parent kept shuffling activities and repeating her instructions to keep the child’s attention focused.
  • Toys were preferred to books. When given a choice, the child preferred to play with toys rather than color, draw, or have parent read to him.
  • Child’s most effective learning activity unknown. When asked, the parent was unable to provide a definite activity that best suited her child’s learning ability.
  • Child loved cartoons. During a majority of the interview, cartoons were showing on the television. The parent also added that she plays cartoons for her children in her vehicle whenever she runs errands or goes on trips.

Interview 3

In this interview parents of two girls, 2 and 4 year olds, where followed like the master-apprentice model discussed in the class reading, and the interviewer observed what each child likes or doesn't like to do in their everyday life. Since the kids are at the age where they start getting curious and adventurous they were not able to sit down at one place and what a movie or play quiet games. Surprisingly, only some times during the kids play time I observed that they are sitting down and without making any noise played with each other. It was almost like they were sleeping or they were not in the house at all. By observing what they were doing at those times I realized it was less noisy more "educational" toys that entertained them to the point that they didn't want to talk or get distracted during. By educational toys I mean things that showed them, for example, what an animal sounds like, what are the names of the colors, what are the names of some animals, how an animal interact with the world, and things similar to what a kid is curious about. Moreover, although these kids learn ABC's at school, they were very well absorbed by the entertaining toys and sounds that taught them alphabets. Furthermore, when the parents where playing with the kids, I noticed that they follow the same pattern of the toys that they love, and they usually sang with the kids for saying the alphabet out loud. In addition, the toys that the kids where most attached to where the ones that were interactive. Meaning that they love to get responses from the toys. In general, it seems like kids love to do things that they get responses/results for. Writing down letters on electronics that are capable of receiving user input and drawing with regular pen/pencil/crayon on papers are examples of the things that are responsive enough for kids at this age.
Key Observations:
  • Video games like Wii, game cube, or nintendo DS are really interesting for the children, and they never get tired of it even if they don't know how to play it.
  • The kids love to draw animals and/or people's structure (body, face, ...) and color them, and even they love to keep them and look at them every day.
  • Things like books and static objects are not entertaining enough for them, and makes them to go toward their noisy/shinny toys more.
  • Kids stick to the games/consoles they love and play with them constantly without getting tired of it.


  • A common theme our group noticed from the interviews is that children had a very hard time keeping focus past twenty minutes. Their attention would drift and they would become bored, making teaching without a break beyond twenty minutes very difficult.
  • Additionally, most of the parents used flashcards to begin their instructional routine, but in a majority of interviews hands on things like coloring and drawing kept the child's attention the longest.


  • From our interviews we noted that boys and girls have differing interests while studying. Girls tended to veer more towards illustration, while boys liked to learn with games (especially video games).

List of 6 Tasks


  • 1. Changing settings: Our hero, the unsubtly named Hiro Protagonist (completely unrelated to that other, more famous Hiro Protagonist) wants a little less noise from the application while his daughter uses it; she already knows the letters by name, she just needs to practice writing them. From the main menu, all he has to do is tap the wrench and hammer icon to open the 'Settings' menu. While this might not be very useful for children, it provides a useful set of controls for Hiro Protagonist to monitor progress via the quizzes and control several settings in the app. In addition to the normal navigation bar of our other pages (as shown in the sketches below, including just the 'Home' button), the 'Settings' page will have several options, preliminarily:
    • Toggle displaying letter cards in alphabetical or random order
    • Toggle audio naming each letter when a card is loaded on/off
    • Toggle feedback audio ("good job", etc) on/off
    • Toggle arrows illustrating stroke direction and order on/off

Hiro hits the second toggle, and life is good. While he's at it, he changes the ordering to random to keep his daughter on her toes.

  • 2. Accessing the album: Hiro's daughter has drawn and colored lots of images; now Hiro wants to see them. Children will be able to save images that they have traced and colored on the activity pages; the album is a gallery of these saved images, organized primarily by the letter associated with the picture and secondarily by the order in which they were saved. Accessing a particular image as simple as tapping on it; the help icon will explain this verbally. Once focused on the image, drag gestures navigate between pictures; the top navigation bar has buttons to return to the home page or the gallery and a help icon explaining the swiping.


  • 3. Matching Game: Hiro's daughter is ready to take a quiz (we don't call it that, though, kids don't like that) to see how well she's learning her letters, so Juanita, Hiro's wife, starts the matching game for her. This feature is reached by selecting the 'Matching Game' button from the main menu; the app will display letters in a column on the left and corresponding pictures on the right in mixed order; users will have to draw a line from a letter to the matching picture or vice versa. Completing a set will provide a score; shaking will allow for a new random set of letters and pictures to appear on the screen. Scores are tracked and will be displayed along with the other settings in the 'Settings' menu. This is a bit harder for her to do, but the interaction isn't too tough - mostly it's the content itself that's hard.
  • 4. Tracing Letters: After checking the results, Juanita decides her daughter needs to practice tracing letters more, and tells her daughter to work on her capital letters. From the main menu, the user can select 'abc', 'ABC', or '123'; she picks 'ABC'. Each goes to fundamentally the same task, but with a different set of characters. Large hollow outlines of block letters or numbers will be displayed; if the stroke toggle is on then arrows will appear that demonstrate what strokes to do in what order, and a voice will read the instructions "Color the Letter A in Red." Then the user will have to choose the correct color (located on both sides of the hollow letter) and trace the letter A inside the hollow outline. A back icon will allow undoing the last stroke; shaking will clear all strokes so far. A picture of an object whose name starts with the letter will be presented directly under the letter; tapping it will take the user to task six (coloring the picture). Swiping the screen left or right will allow switching between letters; a button to go to a list of all letters will also be available at the bottom of the screen. At the completion of a letter feedback (also audible) will be provided to the left of the picture to let the user know how they are doing.


  • 5. Tracing a word: This task is an extension of tracing letters; it should work essentially the same, but with short words instead of letters and drawings corresponding to the words. This feature extends the life of the application; even past learning basic letters, the child can start learning to write and read simple words. The youngest Protagonist is still a little too young to use this right now, but later she'll want to learn to write words, not just letters, and this is where she'll go.
  • 6. Connecting-the-dots, finger painting the picture, and then saving the picture: Now, Hiro and Juanita's daughter has written a few letters, and she's getting bored - she wants to play a game. Of course, her parents still want her to be learning her ABCs, but the games built into iBCs let her do both. This feature is accessible from the tracing a letter screen, by tapping on the associated picture. The connect the dots puzzle uses letters for each dot, emphasizing alphabetical order; children will draw the outline from dot to dot (the interface will snap and beautify each line in between the dots instead of having the child draw the whole outline). Once the outline is complete, it can be colored in; a color pallet of blobs is under the picture, as well as a selector for stroke width. The associated letter is shown (and when you click on it, it will take the use back to the tracing a letter screen), and the top menu bar has buttons to go home, undo, save the image, or play audio explaining how to use the screen. Saved images can be viewed in the album.

Task Analysis Questions

Questions Answers
1. Who is going to use the system?
  • The main users of the application are: parents (including single parents) of toddlers and preschoolers, guardians of young children, and preschool instructors.
  • The user must have an iPhone or iPod touch and must be literate in order to read the instructions on the app.
  • The values the users have are: they don't want to go out of their way to buy additional materials for the application (such as a laptop or game boy); they want their child to learn while using the app; they want the application to be portable so it can be used anywhere; they want the application to have an easy learning environment (UI) so even young children can work it.
  • Some personal characteristics of the users we gathered through our interviews are: college undergraduate, high school graduate, single parent, stay-at-home parent, and bilingual.
2. What tasks do they now perform?
  • In order to teach their kids, the user group we interviewed read books to their children, drew on chalk and whiteboards, used coloring books, flashcards, quizzed the children about things when they were away from home (example: when in the car they would quiz their child while driving), and educational toys.
  • Additionally, the parents also entertained and taught their children by playing children's music and giving them toys in the car. Usually the children will take toys (horse and barbie dolls) along with them in the car, and sing their ABCs along with the music.
  • However with technological advances many interviewees now use portable drawing boards, interactive computers and toys, and educational video games.
3. What tasks are desired?
  • The major tasks the user group of our app desires is for the application to teach their child: numbers, colors, letters, and words, while also entertaining them and keeping the child's attention.
  • Some additional tasks and features most of the interviewee's wanted were:
    • An easy and entertaining interface that would be very simple for the child to use by themselves, since the parent does not want to sit with their child to use the app.
    • Audible feedback from the application for the child (if they get something right or wrong)
    • The application to retain their child's attention
    • The app to be portable and able to teach their child regardless of location
    • An ability to track the child's progress (through a quiz)
    • Vocal instructions to make it easier for the child to use
    • Possible singing of the ABCs and visuals on the screen when each letter, number, and color is said
4. How are the tasks learned?
  • Currently the tasks are being learned though:
    • Visual and audio reinforcement; continuous repetition of things
    • Practical applications; physically doing and tracing letters and words
    • Drawing boards; coloring, writing and drawing on them
    • Lined paper; writing and copying letters, words, and numbers
    • Sidewalk chalk; drawing, writing, and coloring outside
    • Playing DVDs in the car and at home that teach the child numbers and colors
    • Parents picking up and naming objects and then having the child repeat it
5. Where are the tasks performed?
  • The kids are currently learning the tasks at:
    • Home; both inside and outside (drawing on the sidewalk)
    • Vehicles; quizzes in the car and educational video games
    • Preschool and daycare; learning from teachers and caretakers
    • Stores; playing educational games during errands such as grocery shopping
    • TV shows; educational shows such as "Dora the Explorer"
6. What’s the relationship between user and data?
  • Usually the parents or child themselves save study materials as a souvenir (for example a test or quiz the child aced)
  • The saved materials are used to track progress (scores on tests)
  • The materials are displayed on the refrigerator, in a picture frame, or on the parent's desk (parents always want to show off their child's progress and artwork)
7. What other tools does the user have?
  • In order to teach their children, the user group also has other study tools such as:
    • coloring books
    • flash cards
    • lined paper
    • Leap Frog products
    • television
    • interactive toys (ones that make noise and/or sing alphabet songs)
8. How do users communicate with each other?
  • Users communicate with each other through sending saved media through emails (parents can send each other their kid's finished pictures)
  • Users also boast about the progress of their children in person
9. How often are the tasks performed?
  • The users usually teach their children once a day for a couple of hours; however, many times we've noticed through our interviews that the child will become distracted after around twenty minutes (short attention span).
  • The children also go to preschools/daycare five days a week.
10. What are the time constraints on the tasks?
  • The time constraint varies and usually depends on the attention span of the child. The parent usually teaches the child for an hour, but after around twenty minutes the child is no longer paying attention.
  • We noted in our interviews children under age 6 usually get bored fast if the game they are playing has an obvious learning mode (such as flash card quiz; which is why we decided to call our quiz a matching game).
11. What happens when things go wrong?
  • When things go wrong, the saved data might be lost. If that occurs, then the user will just need to start the app over, meaning there is a low cost of failure.
  • The child can also lose interest in the app and not want to play with it anymore. Additionally, if the app crashes, the kid can become upset and their attention will most likely go toward things other than the app they were just playing with (noted from our interviews).
  • Furthermore, if the child does not want to use the app anymore, the parent can just delete the app from their phone, so there is little accumulation of useless materials (unlike books, papers, and other learning materials).

Interface Design

  • Functionality summary: The purpose of our iPhone app is to allow kids to learn: numbers, letters, colors, and words. The app has seven main functions that can all be accessed though our Main Home Page:
    • Settings: provides a useful set of controls for the parents to decide how they want their child to use the application
    • Album: where the user can access saved images
    • ABC: a mode where users can trace capital letters in different colors, and then color the corresponding picture
    • abc: a mode where users can trace lower case letters in different colors, and then color the corresponding picture
    • 123: a mode where users can trace numbers, and then color a corresponding picture
    • Matching Game: a timed game where the user can practice linking letters to their corresponding pictures
    • Words: tracing words mode is similar to the 'ABC' and 'abc' mode except instead of tracing single letters, the user can learn to trace whole words
  • Home:

We decided that the home page of our app should be very colorful and pleasant, in order to attract young children and keep their interest. The buttons for our seven main pages mentioned above are in the shape of leaves to incorporate them fluidly into the design and theme of our main page. As you can see here, all seven pages can be accessed from the main page. We've also included a panda mascot for our app, since kids love animals and tend to like applications involving them more (noted from our interviews). Our app also incorporates a lot of audio, for example by pressing on the '?' button, an audio track of where all the different buttons lead to will play. We decided that audio would become a very important aspect of our application, because many children who will be using our app cannot read yet and others who can read respond better to sounds and audio (information from interviews).

Main Home Page; the wrench and hammer button leads to 'Settings'
  • Settings:

Settings can be accessed though the wrench and hammer button from the Home page. The top toolbar of the settings page contains a back to Main Home page button. The different settings on the page include: toggle between displaying letter cards in alphabetical or random order, audio reading of letters on or off, audio feedback on or off, stroke direction arrows on or off, and a button that leads to the Matching Game score page. The main purposes of the settings page is to allow parents to control how they want their child to use the app, and for them to be able to check their child's progress through the Matching Game score page.

Settings page
Matching Game score page
  • Album:

An example of the album UI can be seen in the Easy Scenario section. The 'Album' page can be accessed through the main page, and works very similar to the iPhone's photo gallery.

  • ABC, abc, 123:

ABC, abc, and 123 are very similar features, the only difference between these three modes is that the object the user has to trace changes. An example of ABC mode can be seen in the Medium Scenario section. We decided for the tracing mode that we would have hollow letters for the children to trace so they have immediate visual feedback if their strokes are within the permitted range (the app also provides audio feedback; ex: "Excellent!" and "Try Again!"). From our interviews, we gathered that most interviewees also wanted the app to teach their kids colors in addition to writing. Which is why we choose to have instructions on the tracing pages to both visually and audibly tell the child to "Trace the letter A in red," letting the the child learn colors along with letters with one task. Our group decided that our first method from the Group Brainstorm to combine coloring and tracing was kind of disjointed (after finishing a letter, a picture would be unlocked). Instead we opted to have a picture of the object the child can color at the bottom of the tracing page. By clicking on the picture of the object, the child will be able to go to the coloring and connecting the dots page.

  • Matching Game:

From our interviews, we noted that almost all of the parents wanted something to track the progress of their child. This is the purpose of the matching game. The 'Matching Game' page can be accessed through its corresponding button on the Main page. The app will display several letters on the left and their corresponding pictures on the right, but in random order. The child will have to draw lines connecting the correct letter to it's picture. Correct pairings will be in green, while incorrect ones will be shown in red. There is an undo arrow at the top of the page in the tool bar that allows kids to undo the connecting line they just made. After the child has completed a set, then a pop up score will appear on the screen. In order to get a new set of letters and pictures, the child has to simply shake the iPhone (very interactive and hands on for the child). After the child has finished going through all 24 letters, their score will be shown and stored in the Matching Game scores section that can later be accessed by their parents through 'Settings.'

1) What the app will look like after clicking on Matching Game from the Main page
2) Connect the letters to their corresponding picture, the green lines are correct answers
3) The red lines are incorrect answers; after completing the five matches the user's score will show up; shake the iPhone to get a new set of matching letters and pictures
  • Tracing Words:

Tracing words is very similar to the task of tracing letters. Instead of tracing a single letter (like in the 'ABC' mode), the child will have to trace a whole word in this section.

1) When the user first clicks on the 'Words' button, the app will take them to a page that looks very much like this one; the directions will be read out loud "Write the word Pig in Red."
2) The user will have to choose the red color patch and trace the hollow word PIG.
3) This is an example of the app being used, the letter P has been traced in red.
4) The user has finished tracing the word PIG in red, there will be audio feedback that says "Excellent!" and at the bottom of the page a gold star will appear.
5) However if the user chooses the wrong color (in this case blue) or if they trace outside the hollow letters, then the app will say "Try Again!" and at the bottom of the page a sad face will appear (audio and visual feedback).

Easy Scenario

  • Accessing the Album: in our app children can save finished images into the album; which is basically a gallery of these saved images organized by letter association and the time the picture was saved:

1) Here we have the parent of a typical user, who wants to show a friend the "adorable" pictures the child drew.
2) Our protagonist just taps the "Album" button on the home page to go to the main album screen.
3) Here's the main album screen. The home button takes you home; the user can leave the album any time by pressing the home button. The "?" button will play audio telling the user to touch a thumbnail picture to see the bigger version. Just pretend the * are all other pictures. Our protagonist taps the first picture to show it off.
4) Once on a larger picture, you can press home to go back to the home screen, the arrow to go back to the main album screen, or the "?" for instructions explaining the navigation. Our protagonist shows it off first, but wants to show another picture too.
5) If they slide the picture left...
6) ...they can see the next saved picture from the album! Variations of a Theme Upon Apples II, by Brilliant Child.

Medium Scenario

  • Tracing Letters:

The user wants to do capital letter tracing and selects 'ABC' from the main menu (1). Depending on what the user sets, a random letter can appear or the letter the user last used can appear on the screen first. The first thing the user will hear and see are instructions on how to trace the letter (2). The user can either swipe left or right from this screen (3) to change letters or they can press "All Letters" on the bottom to be taken to a page with all the letters to select from.

If they choose to stay on the current letter the user can either choose a color and write the letter following the stroke arrows or the user can touch the image and go to the coloring screen (3a). If the child chooses to write the letter, after each stroke the stroke arrow will change to show the new stroke that should be performed (4). When the letter is completed feedback (both visual and audio) on how the child did will appear in the lower left hand corner (4a and 4b).

One of the main things that we tried to keep in mind when designing our interface was that our target user group would be kids who don't know how to read yet and are just beginning to learn to write. Knowing this we tried to make our design very simple and straightforward. We also tried to make sure that our menu's were more icon based rather than text based, limited how much reading would have to be done. In the second screen of the storyboard we gave instructions in two forms written and also audio, the audio form is there to ensure that everyone can understand the task. The rationale behind placing an image on the same screen as the tracing letter was so that we could help the user establish a stronger bond between letter and how it is used. We decided that giving up some of the screen real-estate for tracing for the picture was worth it because it made the screen more pleasing for the user to look at. The picture itself also serves another purpose and that is as an icon to switch to a different task, connecting the dots and coloring the screen.

Hard Scenario

  • Saving a fully colored and traced picture:

Along with tracing words and letters, a user can connect dots, labeled with either numbers or alphabets (depending on what they set in the settings), to make object layouts. These objects are chosen from our database of different types of things. For example: animals, fruits, vehicle, etc. When the user traced and finished drawing the layout of the object then he/she can choose a color and a brush size to color the drawn object. After all, if the user is satisfied with the drawing or wants to show the results to others, he/she can save the picture to the application's album and view it later on. User is able to choose objects, draw, and color them at any time without any restrictions.

1) A kid will most definitely be bored in a car ride, even if he/she has fun driving with parents to places. This situation is harder for kids that have lots of toys at home.
2) Parents usually get upset that they cant entertain their kids in the car, specially when father or mother are alone with their kid in the car.
3) Some parents install DVD systems in the car and play videos for their kids, but others use their handheld devices and applications installed on them to entertain them.

4) This is the first page of our iPhone app made to entertain and educate kids of age 3 and above.
5) By choosing the ABC menu we get to the page where the user can trace letters. At the bottom of this page there are pictures that are an example of the letter shown for tracing. By clicking on the objects user can draw the object and color them.
6) In this page user can trace the dots labeled by letters/numbers and complete the object layout.
7) Parents usually find the applications made for kids really useful and relieving.

8) At the same time kids find applications made for them entertaining enough because it helps them not to get bored until the parents can drive them to the destination.
9) The user here is tracing the dots labeled with letters to draw an object layout.
10) And here user can color the picture with colors provided and enjoy their drawing by saving it to the application's album.
11) After the user is done drawing/coloring objects, he/she can save the picture in the application's album by clicking on the disk image on the toolbar at the top of the page.

12) A user confirmation popup will appear so the user would not save unwanted images on accident.

Analysis of Approach

Our application is centered around the iPhone's functionality. All navigation is based on simple affordances of a touchscreen - either tapping on icons and images to go to the related screens, or dragging the screen to switch between related sequential screens like the letters to trace or the images in the album, both methods that research in the competitive analysis revealed are very quickly grasped by small children. Writing and drawing tasks are especially well suited to working on a touchscreen; it works equivalently to writing or drawing on paper, in that you interact with the same physical space as the display, and with the advantage of easily undoing strokes and clearing the screen, something that is comparatively tedious on real paper with erasers. It also provides a much easier and more compact system of saving old drawings than simply storing hard copies, and unlike normal practice books can read instructions aloud.

Other solutions include flashcards, practice books, and Leapfrog products that aim for the same goal using physical buttons and audio. However, the power of the iPhone allows for a much more flexible, interactive experience; scoring can be done automatically, and feedback is instant in the form of coloring correct and incorrect strokes differently. The ability to combine a display with audio and input allows a great deal more features than the more bare bones Leapfrog products, and static media like flashcards and practice books have no real interactivity; our interviews showed that our theories on attention span were correct, and interactivity, bright colors, and sound are essential to retaining the child's focus. The connect-the-dots, coloring, and matching game are all things the children will enjoy playing with more than just using flash cards or writing letters without other actions. The iPhone also provides a large advantage in portability.

The only major disadvantages stem from the iPhone's cost; even if the app is inexpensive, the other options don't require an expensive platform to begin with, narrowing significantly the user base accessible to our application. Furthermore, losing a practice book or damaging a Leapfrog product isn't a significant loss; the iPhone is rugged, but accidents happen and if a child inadvertently damages one, the cost is significant.

Other solutions that we have encountered on the iPhone tend to replicate flash card functions, perform a limited subset of the features we plan to provide, or provide similar features but with problems in implementation that we've taken into account in our design; there doesn't seem to be any wide variance of approaches, only differences in how far and effectively those approaches are followed.

Image Sources and Credits

Balloon and Cat images from the Homeschooling Guide by Beverly Hernandez, at and

Panda and Bamboo images from: and

Awesome Face by East718 used under CC-BY-SA from

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