Client: Katha India Type: Game Design Duration: April 2018 game design • visual narratives • storytelling
Game as an Extended Narrative
As a part of the award-winning app - KathaKhazana, that was led by me - I designed and developed a 2D game on sensitising children about gender equality and people with disabilities. The game is based on a beautifully illustrated children's book published by Katha, called "Abba Ka Din" (Abba's Days), which talks about Aisha and her Sunday spent with her family. Aisha happens to be physically disabled but this fact is entirely normalised in the story and the focus is on how everyone equally divides chores at home. Only through subtle visual cues do we know that Aisha uses a crutch.
The game takes the ideas in the book a bit further by introducing children to the thought that probably not all spaces are designed equally for everyone's access. By presenting a situation wherein Aisha wants to go to school (girl child education) but cannot, because she is in a wheelchair and asking the user to find a solution. Once the user sticks a ramp in the appropriate spot, Aisha moves up and gets to school.
As the game is to cater to a broad range of 4-12 year olds, one of the major challenges was to keep the right options easy enough to guess while being challenging enough to be fun to play.
Other games from the story focussed on gender equality and breaking gender stereotypes. The interaction design and the UX was done by me. By keeping a 4 year old child in mind, I have tried to retain a feel of playfulness. Have a look here:
Co-Designing With Teachers
I conducted fun design game workshops with teachers who have experience teaching in low cost private schools and government schools in Delhi. Through tools of ethnography, the aim was to capture the kind of media, language, cultures and colloquialisms that children living in underserved areas are exposed to, and design a contextualised experience.
User testing with children is always a fun experience! Their unrestrained feedback and honest remarks helped in optimising the game to a great extent. The session was accompanied with a teacher who asked relevant questions from the story to see if the digital experience was as effective as the traditional method. We sealed the design process once we achieved that, and the smiles of the children. :)