Rain4ests is an educational game that teaches young kids about the lush rainforests of our planet and stimulates their interests in exploring nature.
My Role: UI Artist, UI Designer
Rain4ests is a project our team worked on for Mountainview Elemantary School in West Virginia within 16 weeks. The goal is to create an educational game as a tool to arise children’s interest in rainforest biome.
There were three big challenges we had to face. First the target players were first to second graders. Their reading ability and focus time was a big concern. Second the game would be used in a classroom setting. We need to think about how to fully get the teachers involved. Third our devices were a kind of really low performance tablets. And there were only 13 tablets.
We conducted in-person interviews with teachers and students and also class observations to understand their needs. We also went to Phipps Conservatory for inspirations.
From research, we realized that in our game there should be more pictures than text. Also in class teacher always had some dicussion time after teaching something new so our game should be a short experience that pause at any time. Besides, after trying the tablets, we thought probably 2D games worked better on it. The teachers also mentioned the educational standards. For first graders it’s about recognition while for second graders they learned about interdependent relationships in ecosystems.
Wireframes & User Flow
User Testing & Iterations
During the project, we held 6 user tests with 102 different target students in total. The results of the playtests were really positive. Both the kids and teachers loved our game. We also found some problems we need to solve.
Our players are really young and easily getting distracted. In order to make them follow the game flow, sometimes we need to add some animated elements to attract their attention.
We need to change some wording and layout to avoid misunderstanding. In the following example, kids orginally thought the button are collecting raindrops. After the change they understood it’s the tree who did that
We also found out because children need to share their tablets, the one on the oppsite side might touch the original big menu and quit a game by mistake. We totally changed the design and hid everything in a small icon.