Smile Pals

User Experience, Interface Design

Smile Pals is an interactive, digital experience designed to teach 5–7 year-olds about dental hygiene. It was created as an application for a tablet, not only because children today are comfortable using this technology but also because the gesturing used to navigate a tablet lightens the cognitive load and helps children process new information. The application includes multiple experiences that engage children in learning through play.

Work completed at Maryland Institute College of Art.

Information found in “Early Financial Literacy Through Interactive Game Play” by Andres Zapata primarily informed the user profile development. This profile was critical in developing the information architecture for the platform. Three core experiences comprise the application. “Learn to Brush” covers all of the information a child needs to learn about teeth brushing. “Brush Your Teeth” presents a fun two-minute video for children to watch while brushing. “Help Your Friend” allows children to reinforce what they have learned through fun activities.

Wireframes were created to evaluate the flow of the experience and to guide the creation of the interface design.
Learning experiences are more satisfying when children have some control. Smile Pals allows children to pick a character, a digital toothbrush, and a toothpaste “flavor” to help them feel more connected to the content. Research shows that children connect colors to mood and have strong color preferences, so Smile Pals uses bright, engaging colors.