• Overview

    Within space, place and threshold which was CHI 2011 theme, this project focuses on making domestic experience better for foster kids. 

  • Design challenge

    Design a iPad application using stories as a medium, to bridge gap between foster children and parents 

  • ROLE

    Responsibilities :Research, Design and Usability Evaluation
    Team : Anhe Guo, Tarun Gangwani, David Plant, Jon Russell


    The project was completed within a span of 2 months 

  • DESIGN deliverables

    Secondary Research
    Affinity Diagram
    Concept Sketches
    Usability Testing
    High Fidelity Mockups


Foster Children between the age of 8-13 years have special needs to be addressed since these kids are often neglected and abused. Our design solution tries to establish common grounds and intimacy between foster children and parents. We talked to a few foster parents some of whom were foster children themselves. Through interviews with foster families and foster care systems we gained valuable insights which ultimately shaped our design solution.



Our team interviewed foster care system the Villages (a company that supports foster homes), and few foster parents. We learned about how child is identified as a candidate for foster care and finds a foster home. It takes a significant time to establish common grounds and an intimate relationship between parent and child. Finally we learned about parenthood and the efforts to it takes to build a strong relationship. Here are some key insights from interviews:


Brainstorming & Affinity Diagram
After our preliminary design research and literature research, our team went back to whiteboards to identify key challenges in building intimacy between foster children and parents. We went through multiple brainstorming sessions to narrow down our problem space and identify the core.
I sketched low fidelity user interfaces for the selected concepts in dry erase notebook . Considering the insights gained from research and design opportunities to solve the issues, Grocery mobile app was chosen to be final design direction. 

Concept Sketches

I identified key problems in the elevator travel experience, traveler's feelings and potential solutions. From the potential solutions I chose “Digital Engagements” and “Engaging Interactions” for concepts generation.

Proof of Concept

Individual concepts were discussed and collaborative story telling was chosen as a way to build mutual trust between foster parents and children. And this forms the heart of our design.

Usability Testing

We tested the prototypes with two strangers one of whom was acting as a parent and other as a child and they were given the task of completing the incomplete stories with fill in the blanks. They were working collaboratively on story and were simultaneously drawings using colors. The idea was to generate topics of conversation and getting them to know each other better. Goal was to view this app as a starting point of conversation between parents and children.

Final Prototype

From the usability testing we made changes to the interface elements, story themes and its flow and finally implemented a tablet application which includes story telling and drawing activities between foster parents and children. This method was effective as our test subjects, after initial discomfort,  went on to complete the story with ease.  
Promoting Independent Living
designing for elevator experiences
space, place and threshold
uncomfortable interactions
constellation builders