Kid-friendly & Accessible
Usability was a prime concern for Wait-Play-Learn: since the interactives are in a medical setting for children, we needed to design them to be kid friendly, and accessible to children with physical, cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
In the first phase of our work, we created four games. Row allows users to control boats with their hands to reach pennies that float about the pond. In Fly, users can fly paper airplanes in various patterns by using opening and closing hand motions. Roll gives users the power to manipulate a pinball machine with their hands. In Climb, players can virtually climb a rock wall with splatter animations.
We conducted several rounds of user testing with children ages 6 to 14 where we were able to test range of motion, mobility, learnability, and of course, fun. We made adjustments to each game based on what we learned. We made Roll more game-like by adding special golden balls that had specific objectives for where to direct them. We got rid of the initial boat wheel on screen to navigate in Boats, and instead allowed users to move the boats with just their hands. We made the throwing motion easier in Fly. In Climb, we broke up one large rock climbing panel into three separate tracks, one for each player.
One participant, Alexa, tested the games during her physical therapy—she was shy, quiet, and hesitant to walk by herself. At the end of the testing session, her mood improved and she felt confident enough to show us that she could walk by herself (to her grandmother’s delight).
We had our challenges. The technology was new and not well-documented, which led us to develop many of the required features from scratch, and in a very short timeframe, with less than three months to design, develop and install the first two interactives. But we’re not complaining: our end result was the creation of several fun and motivational games that get kids moving and learning.
Continuing Our Work
Since the initial launch of the project we have created two additional games – a Lite Brite board that allows users to paint with their hands, and Explore, a game that allows users to uncover fossils by digging with their hands through sand. Initially each floor contained only one game, but after feedback from patients, we set the interactives to rotate through each game every 30 minutes. Our interactives currently live on seven floors in CHOP, with four additional floors forthcoming that will each introduce a new game.
Since we learned so much on this project, we documented our development process to share via our blog. And since we had so much fun, we made several games reusable, with the hope of implementing them in other spaces in the future.