Uniilanguage is a web-based language education game that encourages multi-sensory language and phonics practice. Unii Learning Labs, my client, provides a suite of language education software to K-12 children in underserved communities in LA County. They asked us to design a simple game to encourage language retention, which can be played standalone or after each of their modules. Our key considerations for this project were modularity, accessibility, and ensuring that our design reduces barriers to learning for Unii Learning Lab’s target audience.


Unii Learning Labs


Product Designer


To get started, I set up a design studio with the entire team of developers, designers, researchers, and our primary client. Following the mission of Unii Learning Labs, I sought to create a space where everyone could freely create, regardless of their experience level. In this space, each team member shared their own values and ideas for design. From this, I was able to learn what my team and client valued in an end product and brand through accessible play and team collaboration. I used this board going forward to guide my design process.
Another thing I worked on was creating live shape "puppets" in order to streamline our animation process where I designed rigs for our various shape mascots and mapped them to face-tracking software. Aside from their practical purposes, visiting children had fun playing with these animated puppets in our live demo.

Style Guide and Branding

I started by building Uniilaguage a standalone brand identity. We worked directly with users of differing ages and abilities throughout the design process to ensure the brand we created was visually and cognitively accessible for all users. Having worked in accessible computing, I found that a lot of accessible best practices — using dyslexic-friendly and readable fonts, high contrast colors, and clear component states — universally benefited all user groups, especially our target audience of K-12 children. We built further upon the brand by creating illustrated shapes, friendly colors, and intuitive icons to convey a welcomeness to all users, regardless of their language background.

Welcome and How to Play

Starting with the game itself, Uniilanguage began with a welcome screen, an about section, and a how-to-play section. Each provided the user with more information about Uniilanguage, its mechanics, and instructions on how to play the game. From the welcome screen, users could access various settings, such as difficulty and site language, and customize them based on their’s or their children’s preferences. The about page provided information on the science behind Uniilanguage and how it improves memory and language retention. The how-to-play pages highlighted the functional steps to play Uniilanguage, guiding the user through the process with animated shapes as visual aids.

Drawing Boards

The drawing boards served as the main playable interface for the game, providing users with a prompt in their selected language, drawing canvas, drawing tools, and working timer. Icons were made larger and pictographic to ensure visual and cognitive accessibility. The background and complementary pen color were rotated each game, providing users with a different color with which to conceptualize and draw their subject. This design was intentional, as the rotating pen colors created associations to the sentences and subjects — similar to how writing in a colored pen improves memory performance. The process of reading the sentence, conceptualizing it, and then translating it to an image  — often taking the subject out of its usual contexts (in this case, putting a frog on a skateboard demands the user to know what both a frog and a skateboard are separately)  — helped users build color and conceptual associations to the vocabulary of the language of their choice. To the user, however, the drawing boards remained a simple interface from which to draw and play.

Save and Play Again

After completing the drawing rounds, users are asked if they would like to download and save their drawings or play again. Choosing to play again will send users back to the drawing board with a new sentence prompt, while quitting will return users to the welcome screen. Short game sessions allow users to participate in multiple rounds, while printable drawings offer users a physical reward for their efforts. Overall, Uniilangague serves as a standalone language practice tool or a post-session game to improve language maintenance, with its uses flexible to each type of user.
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