About the project
For our IDBM Industry Project, we partnered with StartSOLE. They briefed us to create an interface to “pull students into Social-Emotional Learning”. Currently, they offer a solution solely targeted at teachers. Since StartSOLE is an app-based service, the final deliverable was expected to be a web-based graphical user interface.
Early on in the process, we established key success factors with StartSOLE:      simple, credible, and transformational. They wanted us to focus on designing an "emotion picker" that'd allow a quick moment of reflection for children, without taking too much time from teachers. 

Final graphical user interface for StrengthenJr, a web-based application for children to reflect on their emotions.

My responsibilities
For this project, my main areas of responsibility included prototyping, preparing presentations, facilitating workshop sessions, strategy work, designing the final report, and creating unique illustrations for the interface. 
We took a human-centered approach and used design thinking to produce various forms of prototypes (White Horse, funky, functional, X-is-Finished, penultimate, and final). 
We also utilized semi-structured interviews, user personas, BMI's Business Model Canvas, and Idea Sheet to map out StartSOLE's business ventures. In addition, we facilitated online and on-site co-design workshops in Finland and in the United States to gather feedback from users.

Our question for the Emotion Body Map exercise was: How relevant and easily observable is the physical aspect of emotions for children?

One of the earliest prototypes: Emotion Body Map. Our experiment was based on a Finnish study (2014) that researched how emotions occur in the body (link).

Oula is ready to test our MoodMeadure prototype. Our question for the workshop was: “How might we make it more fun to explore emotions?”

We tested our funKy prototype at Kivimiehen koulu, Espoo. Product prototype built by Oula Airiola. The idea is that the overall mood would be visible to everyone in the classroom. Questions that sparked the idea for this prototype: How do students react when asked to document their emotions? How do teachers react to seeing an overview of the class' emotions?

An earlier iteration of StrengthenJr where we used building blocks as a metaphor for emotions. Also, we were asked to integrate a gratitude exercise by the client. The user experience is by Nicole Hussmann.

An earlier digital prototype (penultimate) for StrengthenJr. User experience by Nicole Hussmann. Visual elements by Sofia Nissilä.

Final exhibition
As part of our final exhibition, we built a classroom-like setting that was inspired by our travel to Campus International in Cleveland, Ohio. At our booth, we asked visitors to choose a line drawing and colors that reflected their mood on that particular day. After a few hours, our blackboard was filled with creative impressions and depictions.

Our set-up during Impact Gala 2022. Oula Airiola built a custom blackboard for the exhibition. Photo by Juliett Moon.

Fellow students visiting our booth experience during Impact Gala 2022. Photo by Juliett Moon.

We asked our visitors to reflect on their emotions. Photo by Juliett Moon.

Our question sparked various responses. Photo by Juliett Moon.

Lara Render and Oula Airiola pitched our idea to the visitors, alumni, faculty, and fellow students. Photo by Juliett Moon.

Founded in 2015, StartSOLE's mission is to make SOLE (Self-Organised Learning Environment) accessible around the world. The StartSOLE team consists of teachers, experts, developers, and students. They're based in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Team StartSOLE
Jeff McClellan, Founder & CEO
Justin Duffy, Director of Technology
Shaun Yoder, Managing Partner
Steffen Jakob, Software Engineer
Frans Bouwmeester, Software Engineer
Team StartSOLE/Aalto University
Sofia Nissilä, Design & Illustration, Workshop Facilitation
Nicole Hußmann, Research, UX/UI Design & Client Management
Lara Render, Research & Product Development
Oula Airiola, Research & Product Development

Our team (and an extra member on the far left). The photo was taken at Campus International in Cleveland, Ohio.

Want to know more about this project?
Contact Sofia Nissilä, sofia.j.nissila@aalto.fi
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