Homebook is a camera working with a mobile application used by family to help generate and facilitate more meaningful parent-child conversationa.
The target audiences are working parents with 6-10 year-old child. The goal of the Homebook is to reduce parents’ stress as they learn more about their child’s viewpoints, personality, emotions/feelings, likes and dislikes, and potentially learn more about the struggles and challenges that most children don’t like to share with their parents, and to make children feel less defensive and share more of themselves which in turn will result in a happier child in the long run.
Homebook creates an opportunity for an informal and more effective parenting which uses the power of game and storytelling to make children talk more about their thoughts and feelings.
Parents first buy the Homebook camera and download the free Homebook application. Based on the age and gender parents set up for their child, the app will suggest a list of stories for them to read together. During reading stories, the app will prompt missions which will be automatically transferred into the camera. Then child can complete missions by shooting pictures at home, at school, or everywhere he/she likes. Afterwards, pictures in the camera will be automatically transferred back to the phone and continue stories. By watching the process of their child to complete missions, parents can discover their child’s viewpoints, new interests, and feelings. In the end, they can have a printed version of the story which will become a valuable shared memory.
I am designing a camera and a mobile application used by parents and their child to help generate and facilitate more meaningful conversation about child’s feelings.
They always put a lot of energy into work and family. They wish they had more time spending on their child to listen her/his stories, to discover her/his new interests, to know her/his best friends, and to understand her/his sadness. But they feel distracted by work even at home, they wish there is a more effective way to get involved in their child’s daily life.
6-10 year-old children
They are interested in playing game or shared activities with parents, and always want to show and tell what they have done in school and something new they found. They wish parents could understand what they mean when they say, and sometimes they are facing problem in school but they have a difficult to communicate it precisely.
A kid camera works with a mobile application.
For parents to reduce their stress as they learn more about child’s viewpoints, personality, emotions/feelings, likes and dislikes, and potentially learn more about the struggles and challenges that most children don’t like to share with their parents.
For children to feel less defensive and more willing to trust their parents and share more of themselves.
For all family members to improve communication which in turn will result in more effective parenting and a happier child in the long run.
Fantasy/ imaginary based game
Camera (for child)
No force, more proactive, missions, feedback, hints, simple, connection.
Mobile application (for child & parents)
Sit side-by-side, work on same things together, rewards.
Double-income family with first child who is 7-10 years old.
A product or service to facilitate parent-child communication. To encourage child to communicate his/her feelings precisely; to increase parents’ awareness of child’s feelings, and coach parents effective ways of interaction with child.
For parents to understand their child’s feelings and thoughts in order to educate him/her in more effective ways; for child to practice expressing emotion appropriately in order to have a healthier mental growth, better communication skills, as well as strengthening family relationship.
Double-income family with first child who is 7-10 years old.
A product or service to facilitate parent-child communication.
For parents to understand their child’s feelings and thoughts in order to educate him/her in more effective ways; for child to practice expressing emotion precisely in order to have a healthier mental growth as well as better communication skills.
At home (a space where family gets together, ex: kitchen or living room.)
To encourage child to communicate his/her feelings effectively; to increase parents’ awareness of child’s feelings, and to coach parents effective ways to interact with their child.
I talked to two family(father&mother and a mother) last night and this morning. They are both double-income family. Here are some key findings:
During a day, the longest conversation with child is happening on the way from school to home.
During week day, average of getting togther time is 3 hrs.
There is no certain role for mother or father(they would take turn,) but each of them has his/her own requirement for child.
For parenting, father intends to have his principle and follow his belief; mother intends to ask people and seek for guideline.
They all wish can have more time with their childs to do some activities or go somewhere together.
When they had first child, they really didn’t know what is the right parenting. They would try different ways and revise it.
Parents wish to know child’s social relationship, learning attitude, emotion, interests, and thoughts on certain things(to see if they have incorrect perception of some things.)
Parents think it is not hard to discover child’s emotion; child can’t hide his/her feelings well(parents think child doesn’t mean to hide, but child might not know how to communicate his/her feelings appropriately.)
Parents would like to communicate life wisdom to their child.
After dinner, they would have chance to do some activities together.
We did a group exercise under Manuel Toscano’s guide this afternoon. He talked about viability in the marketplace and how to create frameworks for mapping our projects’ opportunities. Personally, I really feel benefit from this exercise because I think the problem I focus on for my thesis might not be solved by a single product. It would be good to consider how “Key Partners” and “Customer Relationship” could shape my concept.
According to some of my research, when parents think about changing or improving parenting skills, they intend to ask friends or specialists instead of having communication with their child. Parents would worry if their punishment or rule is too harsh but they would not directly ask child’s thought on it because they think child always wishes less work and doesn’t know what is actually good for himself or herself.
I had a wonderful first meeting with my thesis advisor Paul Pangaro on last Thursday. Paul tried to help me find out how the system might work. The important first step would be defining the goals and methods. But we can’t complete the system diagram at that time since I didn’t clarify the problem space. Paul asked me to think about WHO, WHAT, WHY,WHEN, and HOW of my concept. Following are some summary of the meeting and the statement of 4W1H:
WHO 8-10 year-old child
WHAT A product that captures child’s feelings about school, and coaches parents the effective way to respond it.
WHY Parents are busy and not aware things happened to child in school.
WHEN After school/ every day
HOW 1. Encourage child to express his/her feelings. 2. Make parents aware of child’s feelings as well as effective interaction. 3. They work on it together.
Long Term Goals: Experience shared memories in order to improve relationship. Short Term Goals: Encourage child to express feelings effectively (so that parent can understand and empathize.)
Child’s Actions: Diary» Face to Face Drawing or crafting Story tellling Play game or toy Role playing Physical exercise Play music Yelling or singing
Parent’s Actions: Patience»Hurried Positive feedback Rewards for communication Carefully listen Do activity together Ask question (right tone) Demonstration Stories in common Use child’s vocabulary
Go back to see most research I have done so far, I found that parents have less problem working on their child’s homework issue. Because there is a completed education system supporting students wih learning disabilities, therefore, their homework would be well designed for them which means they can complete homework with less pain. It seems has a huge conflict with my initial hypothesis. I made this mistake because the lack of thinking of the whole system. I started to question this direction not just because the research but also my hope for this thesis project. My hope is my design can have positive effects on children’s future growing as well as their family relationship.
Two weeks ago, we had a intensive two days rumble workshop. During the rumble, Clint, Mike, and I did an exercise which we have to find out appropriate communication channels between parents and child. We also discussed topics parents want to communicate to child versus things child wants to talk. And what things they want to hide.
This exercise reminded me some interviewees(parent and therapist) said communication might be the most difficult issue between parents and child.
To take a look at how my thinking has shaped up during that time. I re-evaluated potential areas of concentration. I will focus on leveraging communication gap between parents and child, and extend my audience from children with special needs to gerenal children.
My research is trying to find answers for following questions:
• Information technology is a challenge or an opportunity for school-aged children with ADHD? • What’s their environment? What factors on or off screen affect their concentration? • How to engage my audience in staying longer on seat for learning? • What is the mental model of my audience while they are doing schoolwork? What is their pain point of doing it? • What kind of assistance my audience need while studying at home? • What is the role of parents when my audience is doing homework? How could they get involved in the system to improve my audience’s learning experience?
After conducting interviews with therapists, pediatric psychologist, parent, and a person with ADD. I put all data on post-its and sorted it by subject:
Parents: help organize, manage, don’t sit side by side, easily get angry.
Time Management: make it routine, set a timer, taking a break.
Learning Material: interesting, touching, finding, let them move around, collect things, put things together, real movement in real time.
Technology: constant feedback, interaction, help organize, put all information together, related to poor reading skill and social skill, parents have to control.
Motivation: positive feedback, reward, surprise.
“I like we have more fun together, rather than put me to a position constantly have to be a control person.” - a mother of 9-year-old boy with ADHD
“I wish there was less blame and more understanding.” - 25-year-old man with ADD
Children and parents create something meaningful and educational together on children’s learning experience at home.
Parents manage their children’s learning at home. Parents and teachers exchange coaching information and learning progress.
Me: Would you suggest parents to get involved in children’s learning and assist them to complete their schoolwork? Dr. Anthony: The problem is more you spend sitting next to child and help them with homework they become dependent on you, and they don’t do on their own even they can. It is more fun and better if someone else sitting next to you. So I will tell parents that to help them organize then you tell them what are the things you need to do today. You make an order of them but do natures. Set a timer, do half hour reading then take 10 minutes break to do exercise. You manage but you don’t sit side by side and help them do it. Regular homework is very boring for them. A lot of handwriting is very difficult. Try to make their homework interesting.For example, I want you take an article out of a paper or magazine. Some types of works like touching, finding, things they never seen before, let them move things around, and something like treasure hunter. These can increase their learning ability.
Me: With advanced technology, young people do more and more works on screen as well as use smart phone to access information. Do you think it will be a challenge or an opportunity for school-aged children with ADHD? Dr. Anthony: I think is both. Technology is advancing so quickly. More and more young people will use it to socialize and to learn. The positive side: it is a terrific tool for people with ADHD to be organized and to put all information together (ADD people is very disorganized.) The negative side: All the studies I know show that more and more screen time is related to problems such as poor reading skill and poor social skill. Also children who spend long time on watching television is correlated to ADHD diagnosis. Correlation doesn’t mean cause but there is association for some reasons. Therefore, maybe if parents could be very careful to how much time they allow children to be exposed on screen and what types of usages. Using it for learning instead of entertainment. Technology is increasing so quickly. It is very complicated. We psychologists, therapists, and teachers haven’t figured it out what all these mean yet. I’ll also say that until there are well-designed programs or apps for children with ADHD, right now screen is more about entertainment and is unhelpful.
Me: How to avoid out-of-seat behavior and recall their attention during their studying? Dr. Anthony Rao: Have more hands on learning that is called exploratory tactile learning: use their hands to build something, and use motion in some way to help. Because the long hours of sitting is very frustrating, they have more meaning for moving and react to sit longer and longer. So homework and school require a lot of sitting in one seat and have to listen to someone, and those are not strain for ADHD child. Let them go outside and have series of places they can collect things and put them together in an interesting way. Real movement in real time seems really help them. It is true that they will sit for screen to play computer game that excites them a lot to listen and to participate. So if you can get them to participate instead of playing a passive role, or like there is a button can allow them to go back and forward and interact with them, they would be more willing to sit and learn.
10/14 Interview with a Mother of an ADHD 9-year-old Boy
Me: Does he use computer as a learning tool? Mother: He doesn’t have computer in his room. He uses my computer 4 or 5 hours a week to play some educational games, and I monitor him closely while he uses it. He loves computer, but I don’t like him to use it too much. I want him read books and write more.
Me: When and where does he usually do school work? What problems does he usually have? Mother: Last year, we have to help him more to complete his homework. But this year (in special class) he doesn’t have so much homework. Now the homework he does get usually could be done and more organized. So far, homework seems not problematic. Sometimes he doesn’t want to do it, but it is routine when he comes home we sit down at kitchen before dinner. Sometimes we would do their homework on train, believe it or not, it really works. Sometimes he could be distractible but in this case the homework everyday is usually going pretty well. Therefore, we are working more on his behavior.
Me: What role do you play while he is doing schoolwork? Mother: I try to be manager. Also I try not to do much for him. I would be in the same room (kitchen) making dinner. It depends on what work it is. If it is math and science, he is very good at it, so I don’t really need to help him. If it is writing, I have to really sit with him to help him. There is also a learning specialist in school to assist his writing once a week.
Me: What are the difficult parts to play your role? Mother: It gets frustrating if he is not listening then I lose my patient; try to stay focused with him; try to keep him to finish without getting frustrating with him; working hard to follow his needs.
Me: Could you tell me any change you have made to help your child do better in studying at home? What works? What doesn’t work? Mother: You can’t have music or television on while homework time. It is good to do homework at same time everyday. Give him positive feedback and set up a reward rule: sometimes he is allowed to watch TV or play video game for 5 minutes after he completes homework. Use charts or stickers for reward system. For example, after collecting five stickers, then there is a little surprise for him. Don’t keep the process too long since he is easy to lose interest. Taking break is important. Sometimes we would try to do half of homework before dinner, and half of it after dinner.
Me: What information you would like to know while he is studying? Mother: How he does in school versus how he does at home. What kind of learners he is? Is he a visual learner or an oral learner? What methodology works better to him? What kind of material will help him learn better? Is there a timeframe that he can work?
Me: Is there an ideal situation you wish to have with your son? Mother: I like him to be a much better listener. I like we to have more fun together, rather than put me to a position constantly have to be a control person. I think it is important to have fun and Ben and I both need more fun.
Me: As parents of children with ADHD, parenting is probably the most challenging job. How to use “parenting solution” to reduce conflict caused by learning issue? Alice: As a therapist, I will educate parents: your kids do the best they can. Understanding and compassion between parents and children is most important.
Me: Would you suggest parents to get involved in children’s learning and assist them to complete their schoolwork? Alice: I will tell parents get out of their learning. Parents always easily get angry at their children’s inattention. They are hard to work together. Parents then will feel frustrated. The most difficult parts for children with ADHD are sit down and write something on paper. I will suggest kids take a 10mins break every 20mins.
Me: Before starting doing homework, is there anyway to help them get involved into their learning? Alice: Cut out a circle from a paper; draw something on it.
Me: What is the limitation of medication? Alice: Besides drug side effects, most parents don’t like their children take medicine. As a therapist, I also suggest non-drug treatment.
Me: With advanced technology, young people do more and more works on screen as well as use smart phone to access information. Do you think it will be a challenge or an opportunity for school-aged children with ADHD? Alice: I’m not sure. But there should be some opportunities. For example, ADHD children love constant feedback. When they are reading, it is difficult for them to filter out nonessential information. They are not good at organizing and put their thought on paper.
The goal of this thesis project is to create an assistive technology tool to be used by school-aged children with ADHD/ADD and their parents to solve the problem of inattention while studying on or off screen at home. The purpose of this research is to understand the role parents play in ADHD/ADD children’s learning as well as the difficulties for ADHD/ADD children to complete their school work.
• Is it better for my audience to work on or off screen? What is the difference for them?
• What’s their environment? What factors on or off screen affect their concentration?
• Dose feedback or reward engages my audience in staying longer on seat?
• What is the mental model of my audience while they are doing schoolwork on or off screen? What is their pain point of doing it?
• What kind of assistance my audience need while studying at home
• What is the role of parents when my audience is doing homework? How could they get involved in the system to improve my audience’s learning experience?
Last Saturday, I went to an event: Breakthroughs in Child Psychology: A conversation with Christine LaCerva and Dr. Anthony Rao.
The coversation emphasized on relationship between ADD children and their parents. The idea is that parents have to build a good relationship and effective communication channel with their children. The way suggested by Christine LaCerva is that children and parents can create something meaningful together. And Dr. Anthony Rao said parents should change environment to help children do better. He also mentioned something like behavior chart and reward system which help set a rule for their children. After event, I got a chance to briefly talked to Dr. Anthony Rao.
In order to imagine what my design direction might be, I started from thinking all problems surrounding ADD/ADHD children. Those problems could be categorized into four major areas: Social Perception, School Performance, Healthcare, Personal Relationships. These four areas are not isolated, they have close relationships with each other.
public has many mistaken perceptions of children with mental illness
children think themselves as social stigma
a feeling of lower self-worth among peer children
fears of exclusion for children and their parents
has difficulty paying attention or staying focused on a task or activity
has problems finishing assignments at school or home and jumps from one activity to another
has trouble focusing on instructions and difficulty following through
loses or forgets things such as homework
makes careless mistakes
has trouble organizing tasks and activities
reluctance to seek medical help
hard to build trust between doctor, children, and parents
It is an inspirational quote from professor Jennifer Bove’s feedback:
focus on the behaviors you observe in your research and know of from personal experience, you can have a strong impact on an aspect of someone’s life.
This is exactly what I would like to do in my Thesis. Every single person’s life is an unique and fascinating story. But if people share the same characteristics, they would likely share the same type of stories. My role as an Interaction Designer is to read and tell the story of children with ADD/ADHD. I am not going to direct their stories; I will add some happy elements into their stories.
( It is a model from Designing Adaptable Technologies for Talk-Based Mental Health Interventions by David Coyle and Gavin Doherty at Computer Science Dept Trinity College Dublin College Green Dublin, Ireland.)
The model shows during the development process how HCI and MHC (mental health care) work together.
In the Stage 1 of the model, David and Gavin suggest that rather than developing fixed solutions at the development stage, it is proposed that flexible systems are developed.
In the Stage 2, they say that it focuses on clinical evaluations. MHC professionals have the opportunity to adapt systems to suit their own needs and those of their clients and to then evaluate systems in clinical settings.
From this model, we know that the challenge of designing for mental illness would be how to build an effective communication channels between HCI (stage one) one and MHC (stage two.)
During design process we always ask: What do we learn from observation and prototyping? How can we use the data we get from observation and prototyping? What is the next step? I think there is no only answer for each of these questions. Thus I want to learn them and figure it out the best way to conduct them by repeating them many many times. Since my thesis is related to mental disorder, the chanllenge of prototyping would be how do I know my design is effective to my audience? There must be other groups of people invole in this process; people like audience’s family, teacher, and doctor who can help me evaluate prototypes.
Brilliant idea is not enough: system thinking can give you a whole picture of interaction and user experience. I want to learn: How to think my audience as a system? How this system interacts with other systems? How can my design fit into these interactions?
I want ot learn how to tell a great stroy for my design. My thesis topic is serious, thus telling a fascinating story would be very helpful to let people easily understand my design and my goal. There are many different ways and tool kits to tell a story. How to tell a story to specific audience? How to tell a story to general audience? Are they different to each other?
Making working prototype
I want to learn how to make a working prototype for presenting my idea. A working prototype which can interact with people in real time is always persuasive. We have already learned many tool kits such as Arduino, processing, and openFrameworks to make real time interaction, but we never really have time to complete a working prototype closed to the real product. Either it would be something on screen or physical object, in one word, I want to see people using it.
Let idea go into market
What is next step? I mean after you developing a concept. I want to learn how to make your idea become true: go into market.