NatureCollection’s main goal is to support children’s outdoor activities and at the same time tackle a major societal problem – habitat loss.
Kids are spending far less time outdoors which poses a real threat to nature conservation. Professor Josh Lawler and Katie Davies were awarded a UW Innovation Award to develop an app for elementary school children (grades 3-5) that encourages them to go outside and connect with nature. The app aims to engage children in an exploration of the natural world by allowing them to build, curate, and share nature photo collections.
The researchers were looking for a partner who would incorporate their design work, develop the mobile app, and support backend development.
Leapfrog built components including the mobile apps for kids, researchers, and teachers. The app has gamification elements to engage kids and facilitate learning. These elements include avatars, photo challenges, photo classification, and badges as rewards. During the four-week sprints, Leapfrog designed high fidelity mockups shared through Invision, and retained documentation with tools such as Confluence and Google Docs. Leapfrog also researched COPPA requirements as any app for kids under the age of 13 has to abide by COPPA. Leapfrog engineers developed the working prototype in development sprints providing the NatureCollection team with a weekly demo over join.me. Leapfrog shared app builds which let the researchers test features themselves. The feedback from the app demo was incorporated in a subsequent release.
NatureCollection is on track for its first release. The app will be a part of the beta research program for university kids.