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Banners 2024 - finger peli

10/2022 – 8/2023 

Digital Usability Specialist

Workplace
University of Lapland, Active Arctic project

Responsibilities
UI/UX Design and Research, Visual Design, Game Design, 2D Game Graphics

Tools
Figma, Adobe Photoshop

Active Arctic ​

Elevating Memory Support: Game Prototype

One of the pilot projects within Active Arctic involved the creation of a game prototype based on the FINGER model, designed to prevent cognitive impairment among older individuals. This pilot initiative was conducted in collaboration with Muistiliitto and Frostbit.

During interview with a representative from the memory association, I outlined the objectives of the pilot. The game’s primary purpose is to educate seniors on factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, including strength training, aerobic exercise, maintaining healthy dietary patterns, and engaging in cognitive activities. The challenge was to incorporate these diverse elements into the game without overwhelming its users.

As a digital usability expert, my responsibilities included analyzing the specific requirements for games targeting the elderly, ensuring accessibility, and anticipating potential emotional responses to various features. To inform my work, I extensively researched relevant articles and blogs on the topic, and conducted interviews with specialists from the memory association.

Spatial UI

Apart from basic rules of usability such as high contrast, enlarged text and icons I had to consider possible challenges with orientation in the interface and navigation through different mini games.

I chose to use the method of Spatial UI, which  aims to create an environment or interface that mirrors real-world spaces and objects, making it more intuitive and relatable for players.

Spatial representation involves using visual and interactive elements that mimic the physical world, providing players with a sense of familiarity and understanding. This can include using 3D environments, spatial relationships between elements, and a layout that resembles real-world spaces. The goal is to enhance user engagement and comprehension by leveraging the player’s existing knowledge of the physical world. This approach is especially effective in simulation games, virtual reality experiences, and games with complex mechanics that can be better conveyed through a spatial representation rather than abstract symbols or icons.

I designed a simple start menu that guides users to a map featuring different locations, each representing a distinct mini-game. The main menu was intentionally designed to resemble signs found along a hiking trail, a familiar element for Finnish people. This approach aimed to evoke positive memories associated with outdoor activities and alleviate any anxiety users might feel about engaging with a new game.

Social aspect of the game

Long distances and different lifestyles can pose challenges to staying in touch with family and friends. In an effort to cultivate meaningful connections, I decided to integrate social features into the game. Initially considering competitive elements, my research revealed that this approach might overwhelm elderly users. Consequently, I chose to incorporate a collaboration feature, akin to those found in language learning apps, allowing players to work together towards common goals and provide mutual support. These social features are designed not only to strengthen connections but also to serve as motivation for users to revisit the game more frequently.

Development

I created an interactive, lo-fi prototype of the game using Figma to showcase the concept to stakeholders. Upon receiving feedback, I made necessary adjustments, and once the prototype gained approval, I transferred it to the developer team at Frostbit. Additionally, I contributed to the design of graphic assets for the menu, including buttons and backgrounds.

The tablet game that was designed by Frostbit underwent rounds of testing with senior customers at Muisti ry, ensuring its alignment with the needs and preferences of the target audience.