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Stick Together


Stick Together

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Effective to Great Education is an advanced startup venture paving the way towards positive impactful student discipline through social emotional learning integration.

The non-profit had previously developed a tool for K-12 students, initially focused around grades 3–5 to track and manage social emotional skills. As research has shown, there is a direct correlation between performance in school and emotional and mental health.

As a followup to the original product, Effective to Great was looking to identify ways that we can bridge the gap between the progress being made with student learning and their parents.

With that in mind, through research and development, I created a mobile app that will empower and engage parents with their children as they explore SEL.


Competitive Analysis

Why: I conducted a competitive analysis of the space because I was curious what tools were already available to parents, and hence to see what holes there were in the market

Process: I focused my attention on mobile apps exclusively because I wanted to narrow my search. I was unable to find an app that included both the parents and the children. Rather, most of these products were meant for children to use.

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Market Research

Why: I didn’t know much about Social Emotional Learning before coming into this project, and so I wanted to be sure that I knew the ins and outs in order to create the most helpful tool for parents.

Process: I created an affinity map connecting all of the different aspects of SEL, particularly what role it plays in parent and child interactions. I wanted to know what moments felt most natural for parents and children, so that the tool felt more like an asset rather than a challenge.

Left, Dr. Eric Surrey; Right, Dr. Mark Surrey

Left, Dr. Eric Surrey; Right, Dr. Mark Surrey

User Interviews

Why: I wanted to get some insight on how parents talked with their children about SEL, specifically how they start their conversations, and how solutions are made.

Process: I went to the street with a curated list of questions about how parents talk to their kids about social emotional learning. While it wasn’t always easy, approaching strangers on the street made gave me a lot of insight.


Research Analysis & Thesis

Why: To make a more effective and user friendly mobile app, we wanted to hear from the type of women who would be using it on a regular basis.

Process: First we sent out a screener survey to ensure that we would be speaking to women between the ages of 25-50 struggling with infertility. We released the screener on numerous social media sites, slack channels, and reddit forums. We received a low number of results, and ultimately interviewed 3 users. Our questions focused on their interactions with mobile apps, what they struggle with when gathering information, and what their pain points were.



Why: I wanted to create a way to combine all the information we had gathered, and make sure everything, whether liked or disliked, was addressed in our final features, layout and user flows.

Process: With my teammates, we first made lists of who our competition was, what users liked and disliked about the apps, our clients wants, and the pain points of users and experts. Working off of that, we started building out our 4 main features, and the layout of each. Once we had it finalized, we went back and made sure that every pain point listed out before was addressed, everything our client wanted was included, and things users liked in the competition was also included. We narrowed the app into 4 sections: Dashboard, Education, Community & Account.


Research Analysis & Thesis: Part II

Problems: Looking through my research again, I noticed three common pain points parents were having.

  1. If a parent has more than one child, finding the best way to address an issue with each child. A solution may work for one child, but not another.

  2. Finding tools that can help them, while spending what limited time they have together and away from screens.

  3. Communicating effectively with a child about something as complicated as emotional learning can be difficult, especially getting a child to retain that information.

Looking at these issues, I focused on created a tool that helped parents communicate with their children about SEL, while addressing the above issues and making sure the tool didn’t feel redundant (after all, the best way for a parent to communicate with their child is to talk to them).

Solution: A mobile app that recommends screen free activities, generated for specific emotions/feelings, and created by experts in the field as well as parents.


Key Features & User Flow

Why: Once I narrowed down on my focus for the mobile app, I thought about the main features that I wanted the app to include, and then created my user flows around those.

Process: I assigned myself certain tasks, such as create a new activity, and create user flows around each task.

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Why: To finalize my design ideas before laying them out in Balsamiq.

Process: My priority with this app was that it felt moveable and navigable. I wanted to incorporate a lot of the movements users were used to with apps; swiping left and right, pulling menus down or up, etc.


Paper Prototypes & User Testings

Why: I wanted to conduct user testing with something more tangible for users, so that I could witness their more natural interactions with a mobile app.

Process: I downloaded a iPhone 8 template, and started making high fidelity drawings on each one. I created each main feature, and asked users to interact with the paper prototypes as if if was a physical mobile app. Whenever users would make a swiping or pulling motion, I would replace the paper screen in front of them with a new one.



As a brand new product, I wanted to create a new identity for this mobile app. As I was worked on storylines, I kept drawing stick figures of families. I became drawn to the idea of children drawing pictures of their families, and came up with the name “Stick Together”. I created a logo (visible at the top of this page), and a new title shown on the left.

Final Clickable Product

Below is a clickthrough of the final prototype. It was created in Sketch by our visual designer, and I animated the latest version in Principle.


Watch a full run through of the product with narration

Learn more about the client, product and design process with my case study