New Challenge Winner: Beyond ABC

2015 New Challenge Winner
Kate Wallace & Danny Dang, Design & Technology, Parsons
Ker Thao, Transdisciplinary Design, Parsons

BeyondABC is a mobile game that teaches at-risk youth in rural India safety lessons, so they know their rights and can protect themselves from exploitative situations, such as human trafficking. This mobile app focuses on preventive measures by sharing resources dedicated to promoting the rights of children. While it is being used, the game collects data that can be used by anti-trafficking organizations to determine the information needs of children in different regions.

Since last Spring, BeyondABC has developed a prototype of the app, which they tested while traveling to India in August of 2015. While there, they gained feedback from visits to a partner NGO and school for underprivileged children. This trip resulted in several new insights into the specific needs of their target population. As a result, they are now re-designing the game and planning to include voiceovers, since the kids are not able to read English or Hindi. They have also been meeting with engineers from DataWind to receive technical assistance integrating the app into low-cost tablets and learning more about this company.

BeyondABC is now working to expand their network of mentors and bring more people onto the team to focus on research, visual design and C# development. Ker Thao, a Transdiciplinary Design student, is a new member of the team, He is applying for an India China Research Fellowship so he can go to India next summer to continue working with their contacts and test a new round of prototypes.

Next fall, BeyondABC plans to build the app as part of an independent study. They hope to recruit a team of 5 to 8 people to work on code, assets, concept developement and research, with the goal of returning to India in December for a final round of user testing. Kate changed her major to Game Design and was profiled in an article, HerCampus, which wrote about inspirational young woman on college campuses.

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