Problem: Emotionally traumatized girls in Pokhara, Nepal are being forced out school because they are unable to stay calm and focused.
Design Opportunity: How can we help traumatized girls in rural Pokhara get back to and stay in school?
Solution: Mind-Full is series of self-regulation games that helps children improve their ability to stay calm focused so that they can learn more effectively in school.
How was success measured? A 14 week test trial was conducted in Nepal. The results showed that the girls were able to self regulate their emotions through the game, and carry effects of the self regulation to their classrooms and playgrounds.
Made in collaboration with:
Dr. Alissa Antle
Nepal House Society
Learn more about Mind-Full here.
Role & Contribution:
UX Designer - Creation of the user flows, wireframes, and interactive prototypes.
Researcher - Analyzed multiple studies on mindfulness, affect regulation, chronic pain, and trauma therapy on adults and children.
Digital Tools Used:
How to play Mind-Full
Mind-Full News & Recognition
TEDxSFU Talk by Dr. Alissa Antle in 2016
1. Understanding Context: Nepal House Society
Mind-Full is made for the Nepal House Society, a school located in Pokhara, Nepal. Many of the girls at the school have trouble staying calm and focusing as a result of trauma they have endured (e.g. poverty, domestic violence). The Nepal House Society provides a variety therapy for the girls at the school and aims to help them in transitioning into government schools.
Currently, the staff members are having difficulty teaching mindfulness techniques to the children and find it challenging to determine if and when a child is practicing the techniques well.
Analysis of the Effectiveness of Mindfulness Practices
I conducted an analysis on current Mindfulness practices (e.g. yoga, meditation) by reading and summarizing a number papers in the field. The findings aided in us in selecting the appropriate mindfulness technique. A series of design principles were also created for the game.
2. Understanding the Design Challenges
Some of the challenges we faced in creating a game for emotionally traumatized girls living in a third world country included:
- No common language: The girls didn’t speak English and some were unable to read so the game couldn’t have words or written instructions.
- No exposure to technology: The girls were unfamiliar with technology and had never seen computers or tablets. Therefore we could not rely on known user patterns, e.g. back and next buttons, throughout the game.
- Large age range: There were 24 girls at the school from ages 3-11 years old so we had to ensure that the game worked for multiple ages.
4. Creating Design Guidelines
Based on the research into Mindfulness practices and the context in which we were designing, we created design principles to help guide the game.
1. It should be easy to learn how to use the game.
2. The game should reward desired brain states (calm and focus) and communicate to the girls that they are doing something correctly.
3. They game should clearly show the girl's progress in the game.
4. The game should keep track of individual girl's progress so that teachers can track their progress over time.
5. Using context to inspire games
We looked to the environment that the girls grew up in to help us inspire the games in the app. The app consists of has 3 familiar games based on the everyday activities that the girls would be familiar with.
1. Pinwheel: This was a common toy that the girls played with.
2. Paragliders: Paragliding is a popular tourist activity in the region and the girls often watched paragliders in the sky.
3. Rock Collecting: The girls were used to seeing women and men go down to the river and collect rocks to sell as a means of making income.
6. Wireframes and mockups
I worked closely with the visual designer and developer to create wireframes and high fidelity mockups based on the design principles created, research into mindfulness, and the context that the girls were.
Game 1: Get relaxed - Make the pinwheel spin.
Game 2: Stay Relaxed - Help the paraglider land.
Game 3: Focus Attention - Build an inukshuk using rocks.
7. User testing in Nepal
A 14 week study was conducted at the Nepal House Society in Nepal to see how effective the game would be. The results should that the girls were able to practice self-regulation by improving their ability to remain calm and focused. They were then able to maintain the self-regulation skills they had learned for 2 months after the study was conducted and take that skill of self-regulation into their classrooms and onto the playground.
8. Creation of additional version of Mind-Full
Due to the success of Mind-Full, 2 additional variations were created to
To test the effectiveness of the two additional games, another 16 week study was conducted in Canada. The study was done with children who had also experienced trauma and/or anxiety and attention difficulties. The result of this study also showed significant evidence that game was helping children to regulate their emotions.
All 3 games are now available on the Google Play Store.