Every equation deserves a sweet victory
Algebra Discount is a conceptual project that delivers an interactive platform for math enthusiast to practice their math skills by engaging in fun math games with other online users, earning reward points that can be exchanged for discounts on desserts. It's a win-win solution for both learning and indulging in sweet treats.
Math was not everyone’s favourite taste
Learning math can be very challenging and frustrating when it reaches a certain difficulty level or when the wrong sequence or theory is used to solve an algebraic equation.
Eventually, we toss aside that math question.
To understand the factors contributing to weak performance among students in solving math problems specifically in algebra, I conducted extensive research on topics relating to students' learning behaviour and attitude. Subsequently, I scrutinized secondary sources to identify pre-existing case studies and data to corroborate my research findings. There are three common pattern that cause poor learn experience.
Students develop poor math concept understanding
Lack of visual elements lower the learning curve
Interactive cognitive learning improves memory retention
To find potential opportunities for improvement in existing solutions, I have proceed with a competitor analysis for current online math education apps to understand and define the digital interface impact on user experience within the education technology trend.
YUP helps student find expert tutors anytime with a snapshot of the math question
Mytutorlab connects nearby professional tutors with students and parents
Math Tutor grant access to a syllabus of
videos tutorials and worksheets
Through careful examination and analysis of these key characteristics, it became clear that the competition primarily focuses on connecting professional math tutors with students to solve algebraic equations, despite some students still struggling with mathematical practices even after receiving lectures from such tutors. Their solution aims to address this issue by providing additional math lessons that help increase students' interest in mathematics beyond the traditional tutoring model.
Based on my these research, maybe a gamification for math would be an interesting idea
User Interview Insights
To further investigate my hypothesis, I screen and enlist five individuals who face difficulties in learning math in an online math environment for an interview. This is due to the fact that the majority of math courses have been shifted to online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. My goal is to gain insight into the experiences of university students from aged 20 to 25 regarding their perception of math-related problems, as well as their personal interests and daily routines. This will help measure and understand the importance and concentration they develop for learning math.
Andrew - Age 20
Bobby - Age 23
Cindy - Age 22
Derek - Age 25
Linda - Age 25
4/5 Users - Indicated they prefer mobile than computer gaming
4/5 Users - Expressed they went on tick-tock, instagram, and youtube for at least once per hour
5/5 Users - Claimed that they ate desserts at least once per day
4/5 Users - Procrastinate and frustrated with math
5/5 Users - Enjoy going out to socialize with friends
According to the results, the interview validates a majority of math students who would be interested spending extra time playing with exciting and visual interaction. I was right! This pattern revolve around online gaming, browsing social media. Some expressed that they were interested in having dessert instead.
Because I wanted to test out how my users reacted to online and digital gaming experience, I also conducted an observational and behaviour usability test with existing math gaming app. As I observe user have an easier time with MathBrain than Brilliant. Brilliant is lacking the fun and interactive when users did not want to proceed with the continue using the app.
I feel like there is potential to bridge math practice, online gaming, and dessert shopping
To define two types of users, I connect interview data and map out emotional insights consisting user behaviours, pain points, goals of the interviewee
Using the research synthesis gathered, I developed persona to help focus my user and user stories to guide my designing process. Based on the empathy map, I created two contrasting users. Jenny, a diligent math student but she constantly struggle with math. Lucas, a talented math student that procrastinate his math studies all the time.
As a user, I want to discuss math problems with friends so that we can learn together
As a user, I want seek entertaining ways to interactive with math so that I can feel rewarded
Referencing my personas and user stories, I want to design a MVP that does not involve hiring a tutor like my competitors.
How might we personalize and enhance an interactive learning process that produce a memorable and rewarding experience for different skill level math students?
Users can play and complete math game to receive reward points to exchange for dessert discount
I start to sketch and draft out a concept onto paper with all the MVP and Personas in mind.
Guerilla Usability Test
In pursuit of evaluating the usability of an interactive sketch, I conducted a brief user testing session at a university cafeteria. Specifically, I approached a five students and asked their participation in the assessment, wherein they were instructed to interact with the sketch for a period of five minutes. The primary objective was to carefully observe the behavioural patterns exhibited by the users, while simultaneously recording any commentary they may have had regarding the interactive sketch's functionality and user experience.
"The home needs to be simpler" said one of the user.
Key pattern noted that each student allocated a substantial amount of time on the home screen of the interactive sketch, due to feeling frustrated and confused. The repetition of buttons and icons on the home screen had led the students to perceive it as overly complex, in contrast to the other screens which they found to be simpler in design. Users did not realize this is an interactive mathematics-based gaming application with added features of socializing and discounts.
Created a user flow to help me visualize the main landing pages and how user can interaction with the interface
Based on my initial sketches and guided by the principles of my information architecture, I proceeded to iteratively develop wireframes in Adobe XD. In order to enhance the visual representation of the flow, these wireframes were transformed into wire flows.
Information Architecture and Mid-Fi Wireframe
Developed an information architecture to help me map and guide the entire user interaction and experience.
I can generate a mid-fire wireframe.
Layout is generic with three interaction button
Emphasize and prioritize the interaction hierarchy between learning, playing and rewarding experience
Simple multiple choice question with time limit
To build a dynamic gamification experience, the tug of war bar allows user with each successful answer to push the bar to opponent's side
After I conducted another usability test, I made further improvements to the home and the math game page.
Challenge math game with friends
Personal stats and friend ranking
Game stats for trophies and badges
Home page with dessert reward, math game, and math practice interaction
Levels for math game
Focused on math practice and exercise
Dessert discount page
Detail description of dessert discount item
Math game against another online user
Winning and performance page
Best score gets mvp page for math game
Losing page for math game
QR Scan page
After scanning code, play math challenge to get selected discount item
Winning QR code math challenge, gives you discount on item
Contains all discounts
Tap the discount card to get the discount code
Learn and practice math
Receive points trophy points for completing math practice
No points for not completing math practice
Next I developed a style for branding
I created a virtual usability test for five students age range from 20 to 25. They are given a scenario and asked to perform small task with the app. The average ratings from the five students indicated excellent usability performance and completed the three task without trouble. They expressed that they love the idea getting discount from doing math.
Although there might not be a perfect solution to change the perception of math being too hard or too boring, Algebra Discount's concept might be the first step to give a sweet victory to math students.
This was a challenging design experience with repetitive user-testing because I am not an expert in math problems nor in game design.
In the future, I would like to work with at team of math and game expert to full change the way math is viewed.