Creating innovative desgins from scratch
I received an internship opportunity to volunteer at a subscription-based software company called Goally. I was happy to accept it because their users are mostly children with special needs, such as autism, and I've wanted to work on projects related to Inclusive Design. I learned so much about the user community and was grateful to help them with my UX design skills.
What I was given
What I created
About the Project
Goally's first product is a visual scheduler to help children perform their routines more independently. Their new product is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) application to give a voice to children who experience severe speech problems. AAC applications provide vocabulary buttons in a grid layout so that children can easily find words and press the buttons to make a sentence as a method of communication. The company wanted to create an AAC app with a better UI design, including a web portal where parents can set up vocabularies for their children.
Examples of AAC Apps
Originally, my job was working on one of the platforms and making a low-fidelity mockup to pass on to a senior contract designer. However, due to my design decisions and user-centered design approach, I have taken the design lead and been designing both the web portal and mobile app from scratch, handing high-fidelity mockups over to developers.
I am now working on finishing designs for each screen page with new features and interaction details. Also, Goally never had a design system, so I plan to complete the system for the company.
"Due to my design decisions and user-centered design approach, I have taken the design lead and been designing both the web portal and mobile app from scratch, handing high-fidelity mockups over to developers."
Design from 0 to 1 - design a web portal for adults (parents) and a mobile app for children, from concept to producing high-fidelity mockups.
Work directly with the CEO and design new features.
Identify user problems and validate workflows, navigational flows, and interface through iterations.
Create a design system for developers and future design improvements.
Goally has been working with a contract designer when needed, so I and the other intern are the only designers in the team – I received more responsibility in this project due to my wealth of experience.
Our team also includes a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to help us understand the users and AAC. I now work directly with the CEO to get feedback and implement new features.
Because the company is preparing a new product while managing its original product, I primarily work independently except for getting feedback from others. Thus, I've had the flexibility to shape and tweak the design process in a way that works for the company's project timeline. Here are details about how I've been working.
1. Gathering requirements
The new product needs two things to operate: a mobile app for children and a web portal for their parents. The app will have vocabulary set in grids. where children press word buttons to deliver their message. On the web portal, parents will have 2 lists to manage vocabularies - one to keep track of all the words, the other to use in the child’s app. The CEO shared his quick sketch for the web portal, which was based on Goally's visual scheduler web portal.