build to connect

Indigo Design Award winner
Silver in Interactive Design 2020, Non-pro
Silver in UX, Interface & Navigation 2020, Non-pro
Bronze in Apps 2020, Non-pro

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The problem

It is crucial to form genuine connections in order to develop healthy social skills, but physical, mental and emotional diabilities can make it extremely difficult.

Understanding our target audience

target  audience

Our Challenge

How Might We:

Make interaction between kids more natural? Reduce the uncomfortable experiences within a conversation? Make sincere social situations with or without human interaction?

Design Goal

With the increasing discussion surrounding mental health, especially in children, it is important to make sure that children have appropriate opportunities to socialize.

Research Phase

Competitor Analysis

target  audience

The privacy of customized usernames and avatars
Very friendly. Everyone can use it just by talking to it
Considering the parent when designing for children
Makes education fun and kids feel comfortable

Doesn't provide a private way for meaningful conversation
It's hard to communicate sometimes
Doesn't make the meeting process less intense for the children
Encourages kids to be comfortable talking to a robot - not to others


Challenge: My team had a hard time trying to reach out to kids to conduct interview, especially those who are diagnosed with social anxiety. Therefore, we got in touch with professionals who work closely with children.

Interviewees: Special Education Teacher • Speech Teacher • Parents


Parents' Perspective

It is important to include the parents in the design because they are an essential part of children’s development.

Genuine and Personalized

Human interaction in our product needs to feel genuine and personalized for each specific child who interacts with the product.

Real Connections

It is important to encourage kids to push themselves out of their comfort zone and confidently form real connection with others.



This helped the team come up with as many ideas as possible so we can later narrow them down into categories that will address our problem.


We narrowed it down to three ideas that could potentially solve our problem.

• Wearable product that would help kids to connect with other kids through a "tap"
• Social Robot that would help kids to practice communication and social skills
• An app that would help educate kids about social cues, and tips on how to approach new people

What if the kids only play with the robot?

The product would be able to guide our users through these four steps to reach the goal of the product - "Genuine Interaction"

Step One step one

Step Two step one

Step Three step one

Step Four step one


On boarding • Low-fi


Routines • Mid-fi


Obo Hub

obo hub

User testing

Parent App

Buttons were obviously clickable
Instructional pages on side features were helpful
Really enjoyed the overall idea

There was confusion within the flow of the UI
Too much information on the main screen
Instructions in words were not being read

Obo Hub

”Daily challenges” created small goal from kids to complete
Kids were excited about multi-players games
Kids liked the visual of the profile icons

Some of the “daily challenges” were a little too hard
The games don’t indicate 2 or more players game
Kids couldn’t understand what “friends” feature does

Final Product


What is Obo?

A social robot that fosters a fun learning environment and creates many opportunities for kids to practice their social skills and confidently connect with people. While the parents can manage the robot and look after their children without hovering over them.

Daily Challenges

Obo gives several “Daily Challenges” everyday to help children practice a variety of social skills.

daily challenges

Multi-Player games

Collaborative games are accessible to children to encourage them to connect with others and form real connection.

Without Obo:

Kids don't know how to start a conversation
Kids don't feel calm talking to others
They have to play alone

Parent App

On boarding

on boarding
home screen

Parents are able to see an overview of their children’s activities and their mood throughout the day through their conversations.

home screen

Create a set of actions that would help children to be able to activate obo with one simple command through their voice.

home screen

Parents can set a limit on how much their kids should use obo on school day and weekend.

Without Obo:

Parents won't be able to look after their child without hovering
Parents don't know how their child is feeling
Parents won't be able to fully help their child

– Thank you