Max & the Magic Box.

Introduction

Helping children to read

Max and the Magic Box is a project made after a study about dyslexia for my end of study project. In France, 20% of the population have got reading troubles which can result in a step back from reading and understanding issues.

The aim of this project was to involve children with dyslexia and reading troubles in reading. To make them find an interest and to give them help in their learning of language.

Dyslexia, also known as reading disorder, is characterized by trouble with reading despite normal intelligence. Problems may include difficulties in spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, « sounding out » words in the head, pronouncing words when reading aloud and understanding what one reads.

Research

Reading, Testimonials, interviews and experiments

In order to understand what was dyslexia and how to fix it, I made a lot of scientific research about the part of the brain responsible for the language, but also how you learn to read at school. These first research helped to understand better the mechanic process of the language. With this knowledge in mind, I had the opportunity to meet dyslexics and a specialist to ask them question about this brain issue to know what they feel about it, what ere the symptoms, how it influences their lives and so on.

I used to have difficulties to learn reading (I mixed letters) and still have difficulties with writing.

After these theoretical research I was ready to start with more conceptual ones and experiment. My main question was about what kind of devices and/or platform will help them the most. So I tried different options with augmented board games, “Magical inks” which led me to research the e-ink used in the Amazon kindle, or a pen which will read the text for you when you hover it. These experiments with prototype or just ideas lead me slowly towards my augmented book with the most used devices.

Popup

Max and the Magic Box

These research and experiments slowly led me to create an AR book and an app to help children. This book had to be creative, and playful so I make sure to keep their focus. Max and the magic box is an augmented popup book made to involve the reader inside the story and to interact with it through his device. It is composed by image targets and target games he will have to scan to access the aditional content of the book. The idea is to give the possibility to read the book with and without the digital experience. I wrote a small script of 3 pages about Max and a magic box. He is spending his holiday season at his grand-parent’s house. While he is looking at the snow falling outside, he hears a sound coming from the forbidden attic. He goes upstairs and open quietly the attic door. what he discover will change him forever. (If you’re interesting about reading the story you can read it here in French only)

The app

popup

The idea behind the app is that you can use it as an e-book library composed by a series of several compatible books. By scanning the cover of the book, the use will be able to unlock the AR features of the book, play the games and unlock trophies. This app is the digital connexion of the physical book. I still have a working prototype that you can try on Invision.

Conclusion

Great experience

This project had been a great journey for me as a designer, to be able to meet users, understand their needs and to come up with a creative solution. By experimenting and being curious I came up with a working prototype made with Unity and to reach my goal of solving my problematic. Thanks to all the contributors to this projects including Tony Aubé and Nathalie Chappey for their really interesting inputs.