Tahir’s playbook is a mobile/desktop app for Detroit Public Schools commissioned by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The goal of the app is to encourage healthy eating and exercise habits in school children via video game style incentive systems.
3D Artist and Designer
3 Months (2016)
For this project, I was brought on to the small initial team to create the first iteration of Tahir's Playbook. One other team member and I spearheaded the core design of the application. While I was not the UI artist on this project, I created the mockups for the UI layout of the app. In addition to realizing the app's design, I also created many 3D assets for the game.
Incentive system design
From the start, a big focus for the design was on using gamification to encourage healthier habits. This would be accomplished by rewarding users for keeping track of their nutritional/activity intake and participating in health mini-games.
With that being the case, providing proper incentive to the user was key to ensuring engagement. After researching incentive systems, our team decided that incentivizing via player character customization unlocks would be most effective. This decision impacted many other aspects of the design of the app. For example, the main screen always showcases the user's player avatar and the avatars of other players. This was done so that players would have a way to show off unlockable outfits they achieved to other players.
Logging system design
Another major aspect to the design was the logging system for users to input their food, drink, and activity levels. Given our incentive system, we needed a way to quantify healthy behavior so that the user would clearly understand their goals.
A review was performed on other apps that dealt with activity/nutrition tracking. Since our target user group was school children, we felt traditional calorie-counting would be overwhelming. We wanted to use a system that worked with the nutritional knowledge that many school children already possessed. As such, we created a system that self-logged food consumption based on the five food groups from the MyPlate guide. Other tracked items (Activity and Drinks) were similarly simplified.
Results and reflections
As I stated in the beginning, I was brought on for the initial pilot version of the game. While I was not present for future iterations/testing, the most current version of the game appears to hold onto many of the core features from the initial version. I find this very promising, and I’m happy to have been a part of such a wonderful project.