TasKat

Helping parents and children manage tasks

View Prototype

CONTEXT

Academic Group Project

TIMELINE

One Month

ROLES

UI/UX Design, Research

TOOLS

Figma

TEAM MEMBERS

Chell Li, Dennis Limbo, Tracy Chen, Timothy Tembo

Screenshot of TasKat

Overview and objective

This group project is a design proposal for an advanced human-computer interaction course. We identified issues that parents/guardians and children have been dealing with since the COVID-19 pandemic and designed a multi-platform app called TasKat.

The app provides an opportunity to improve children’s time management skills by helping their guardians plan their child’s daily activities, communicate with them whenever they are able to, and be notified as their children complete their tasks.

Process

Throughout our project, we used Donald Schön's "reflective practice"as a guide for our design process, identifying problems and reflecting back on them to improve our work.

Diagram of Schön's reflective cycle: Description, Feelings, Evaluation, Analysis, Conclusion and Action Plan.
The Reflective Cycle.

Problem

Audience: Children aged 8-12 and their guardians whose children stay at home during school hours as a result of the pandemic, requiring guidance and monitoring for completing chores and school-related tasks.

Need: Help children plan their tasks and remind them when they are due, notifying the guardians when they are completed.

Opportunity: How might we help children navigate through the app and manage their tasks without being overwhelmed?

We looked at similar existing applications, including Bloomz and Child Reward. Our team found them to be complex for children, not providing feedback to users as they completed tasks, and an overall lack of sound design decisions for providing a friendly and engaging experience.

Research

In order to familiarize ourselves with design methods and guidelines for children, I looked at relevant literature to understand how children’s abilities change with age, their interaction with software.

I identified the mental and intellectual growth level of the children ages 8-12. Since tasks are time bound, we wanted to make sure children are able to understand when they are supposed to complete tasks. Based on a literature review, I found the ability to judge future and past time relative to current time is developed between ages 7 to 10. They also become adept at categorizing items, which we paid special attention to in our design.

In order to understand how children might use the software, I planned to adapt Gordon Pask’s “conversation theory” to have potential users externalize their thoughts as they interact with the application. A teach-back scenario could also be arranged, where we would ask the user to teach an imaginary peer how to complete a specific task they have been assigned.

Example of an onboarding page. The little companion helps users become familiar through a step-by-step process.
Example of an onboarding page. The little companion helps users become familiar through a step-by-step process.

Designing the app

After gaining a sufficient understanding of our goals and possible constraints, our team distributed began designing the app on Figma. The main components are designed based on these two goals, which are To Do, Calendar, Fun Feed and Profile views. I worked on the Calendar and Profile views.

After tasks are added, users are able to have on overview of future and current tasks on the Calendar page, which I designed. Based on the research, I decided to colour code the tasks, making it easy for children to recognize which type of tasks are due for each day.

The calendar section of the app, where users can see the colour coded tasks.
The calendar section of the app, where users can see the colour coded tasks.

When the users tap on a specific day, they can see tasks that are due on that day. The blue gradient on the left side represents the time of the day (morning, noon, afternoon, night). As the child scrolls down, the colour becomes darker, indicating the passage of time. For younger children, this is a more understandable way of showcasing the difference in time.

An overview of the user's task for the day, categorized by time of the day.
An overview of the user's task for the day, categorized by time of the day.

Tapping on a task would show details about the task. This includes the due date of the task, the category it belongs to, and information about the task. In our proposal, we assumed the app could either retrieve information from the school for school-related tasks, or be completed by the guardians.

A sample task on the app, showing information about the task, including due date, type of task and a short description.
A sample task on the app, showing information about the task.

Reflection and future considerations

TasKat was a great opportunity for me to practice my research and design skills. It allowed me to have an in-depth look at issues in human-computer interaction, make predictions and look for relevant research to test and adjust or inform my design decisions. Throughout the process, I also gained an understanding of Figma and learn how to create a unified user interface and a helpful onboarding. Our team had a great time dealing with challenges, discussing design decisions and reaching our goals. I couldn't have asked for a better team.