Helping children with special educational needs during their therapy sessions

Design collaboration focused on the impact that technology can have to empower SEN therapists to enable children with special educational needs to engage, explore and express during their therapy sessions, by using Cosmo.


COSMO has been selected as the best SEN product at BETT 2017!

Thank you Estefanía for making such an easy interface which (judges said) played a big role in getting the award!
— Georgios Papadakis - Founder & CEO Filisia Interfaces

Context

Cosmo is the name of the first product created by Filisia Interfaces, start up integrated by Georgios Papadakis, Eirini Malliarak & Panos Tigkas. Cosmo is a tactile multimedia system for special education and training. It is designed to help therapist to engage with people that have special education needs in their training and therapy sessions. This is done by training cognitive, physical and communication skills through a multimedia device that uses sound, music and colour, using a hardware works as an interface that connects wirelessly to up-to 6 colour units.

By April 2016, Filisia had created functional prototype both physical (light units) and digital (UI). However, there were many design issues needed to be solved before their first commercial release planned for September 2016. I began working for them with the purpose to collaborate at many stages within the design process: From doing research field to help defining the interactions and interface of their iPad app.

 

Brief

There were three different areas that needed to be addressed:

  1. User-centred research: Take in deep consideration the needs, expectations, anxieties and behaviours of the potential Cosmo users. Have a better understanding who we are designing for, considering them in mind at every stage of the design process. That common language needed to be shared and agreed with the team.
  2. Address serious UX/UI problems
  3. New branding was needed.
Example of the UX/UI of Cosmo before the design intervention

Example of the UX/UI of Cosmo before the design intervention

 

Design process

The design process involved interviews with music therapists and IT specialists. Natural observation at London Mapledown School for children and young people with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), Autism (ASC) and those with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD). It involved benchmark of other hardware learning systems. Finally, new UX/UI prototypes were designed and developed responding to the insights.

Testing some of the most successful digital products used at Mapledown school

Testing some of the most successful digital products used at Mapledown school

Exploring different UI redesign options

Exploring different UI redesign options

Calibrating the units and interface colours

Calibrating the units and interface colours

Customer Journey of Cosmo (previously named Monoma) designed while doing the research

Customer Journey of Cosmo (previously named Monomadesigned while doing the research

Research at the autism show 2016, London.

Research at the autism show 2016, London.

 

"Technology is moving very fast and Cosmo is a way to get people to see past the obvious disability and enable the children to show what they can do and also to show their cognitive ability... I am always trying to find new ways to access music independently for our children.''

- Music therapist

 

Outcomes

Our first little cosmonaut using the new version of Cosmo!

Our first little cosmonaut using the new version of Cosmo!

Class Putney Bridge enjoying a Cosmo demo. More>

Class Putney Bridge enjoying a Cosmo demo. More>

New logo

New logo

Dedicated badges for each Cosmo interaction

Dedicated badges for each Cosmo interaction

Settings mock-up

Settings mock-up

Improvisation game

Improvisation game

Feedback screen

Feedback screen

New interface: Simple but simple to be implemented and flexible enough to be used for any Cosmo game

New interface: Simple but simple to be implemented and flexible enough to be used for any Cosmo game

Mock-up of the new logo over the Kit

Mock-up of the new logo over the Kit

Collection of illustrations for both the brand and the UI

Collection of illustrations for both the brand and the UI

 

Next steps & suggestions

Further UX/UI testing with real users after finishing the development was suggested, together with a future focus on development reports for therapist to measure progress. 

 
 

Date: April to September 2016

Area: UX/UI & Service design

Members: Estefanía Trisotti, Georgios Papadakis, Eirini Malliarak & Panos Tigkas

Extent of the project: 5 months, part-time