Product Manager & Designer, Cornell University Fall 2012
During my final year at Cornell in 2013, I created the ABeCeDarian App with my teammates in the course that I took for my CS practicum requirement, CS 5150: Software Engineering. This semester-long course intends to teach students all aspects of software development by taking them through client interaction practices and formalities as well as design and implementation from conception to completion. Each team is comprised of 5-7 students that work with a real-world client to make a real product; the teams are allowed to choose their members, roles, and project. Within my team I acted as the Project Manager and User Experience Designer. As Project Manager, I organized and lead all team meetings and progress, acted as the main contact to the client, and was responsible for validating the product and leading its release. As the UX Designer, I worked with both the client and the team to design the UI and capabilities of the application and performed multiple rounds of user testing - going through several iterations of design - to ensure the best possible performance of the end product.
The ABeCeDarian iPad App is a fun and educational tool that helps to teach young children how to read and write. The content and lesson plans of the app were entirely derived from our client Michael Bend’s published book, The ABeCeDarian Reading Program. Bend has done extensive research into the most effective ways to teach these concepts to young children, and we have translated this work into a fully functional app. Users of the application will be greatly assisted by a system that they can access at any point in time and pick up their progress. It also allows them to search for specific past data and to learn about the trends and progress of their learnings.
The traditional paperback lessons designed by our client cover many of the important stepping stones required for learning the English language well. The mobile application was designed and implemented to provide detailed interactive lessons built on top of these lessons. It also provides audio instructional functionality so users can retain their learnings effectively through multiple senses. In addition, choice of difficulty of each lesson is provided through units outlined in The ABeCeDarian Reading Program so that users can enhance their learnings and strengthen their weaker skills.
The main objective of this project was to provide users with an interactive application to successfully supplement their learnings through traditional paperback lessons. This will help users review and understand the lesson better and can also increase their interest in the subject. The secondary objective for this mobile application was to provide the users themselves with extensible and well documented progress of their learnings. The implementation of the progress tracking features allowed the users to enjoy the lesson without having to manually record their progress or deter their focus.
Specifically, the ABeCeDarian application implements three primary types of lessons: Word puzzle, Letter Formation, and Tap-And-Say. The iPad application can be used by a child-supervisor pair, but was also intended to be simple enough for a child to operate on his/her own. Student users can view their own progress, and Admin users can view any existing student user’s progress. Upon completion, this software was given to the client ready to be released to the App Store as the lite version of the app that would be available free of monetary costs.
For more information on Michael Bend’s company and his book, The ABeCeDarian Reading Program, please visit www.abcdrp.com