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Beary is an AR picture book mobile application that helps parents improve the quality of their involvement in children's picture book reading process, meanwhile motivating children to be more engaged in reading and improving their learning effectiveness.


Problem Framing
Concept Development
Learning Experience Design
Piloting ideas


Oct. 2021 - Dec. 2021

My Role

Instructional Design
Product Design


Literacy skills matter as they significantly affect the development of children in their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical growth. Nevertheless, there exist literacy disparities in young children from different families. Two main factors cause the disparities-- social-economic statuses and parental involvement. One approach to this challenge is to provide a new tool that enables parents with different backgrounds to participate in and support children's literacy development. The new tool will:

- Improve education equity

- Empower parental involvement




Designing a digital application (low cost and large scale) that enables parents to involve in children's reading activities and help children engage in reading and acquire literacy skills effectively.


  • Research children's developmental trajectary to identify target children's age group

  • Choose an effective learning medium, learning theories, and learning methods to imply design

  • Understand children's literacy learning characteristics and needs

  • Identify parents' barriers and challenges in involving children's learning process

  • Empower parents with different backgrounds and abilities to support children's literacy development


90% of users were satisfied with the app

Presented the prototype and concept to 35 people worked in education industry, 90% of them were in favor of Beary idea and were willing to use it with their children and students (from survey).

Increased 75% of parents' confidence and willingness of reading for children

Conducted usability test for 8 parents, 6 of them felt more confident in reading picture books to children and were willing to interact with them (from pre and post parent survey).


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Which age group's children should we intervene?

According to Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory, the preoperational stage (2-7 years old) is the key period for children's literacy development. Research shows that socioeconomic status and home environment are two main factors that cause children's literacy gap.

Socioeconomic status is stable in short term, nevertheless, the home environment can be changed through changes in parent-child interaction. Specifically, parent-child preschool (3-5 years old) activities at home greatly contribute to the development of literacy skills. To utilize the effectiveness of parent-child interaction, this project will focus on preschool children aged from 3 to 5.


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Which learning medium will be effective

Picture books

Among different types of parent-child interactions, co-reading is one of the most effective ways for children to acquire literal skills. As a literacy carrier, picture books have unique advantages:

- Develop and practice phonological awareness through texts

- Identify the sequence and improve comprehension through pictures and stories

- Spark a love of reading


Apply digitalization and Augmented Reality (AR) technology

Printed picture books are not available for every family. However, 85% of adults in the US own smartphones. Digitalizing picture books on a mobile phone can make them accessible for families with lower incomes. In addition, applying digitalization and AR technology will bring several advantages:

- Digital content enhances the narrative function

- Human-computer enriches the sensory experience

- Multimedia integration improves the information transmission efficiency


What are preschool children's learning characteristics? 

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Which learning theories should be applied?

In this project, there are two main instructional goals: instructional efficiency and instructional transfer. Accordingly, behaviorism and cognitive constructivism can be applied to the design concept.


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Which pedagogical and interaction strategies could be used?

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Though there exist picture books applications with book collections or AR elements, they ignored involvement of parents in children's learning process. In addition, few learning theories and pedagogical methodologies are well applied in the product design to increase learning effectiveness.

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Interviewing 8 parents who have 3-5-year-old children, we identified 3 personas with different socio-economic statuses, educational backgrounds, and work conditions. Examining their pain points, needs, and attitudes concerning co-reading picture books with their children.

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Summarized key behavioral patterns of preschool children


Short and image memory


Short attention duration


Like to express


Motivated by interests


Stimulated by the outside world

Memory time is short and based on image

10-20 min of stable attention period

Like to express emotions with body language

Memorize without purpose and tend to remember things that are interesting

The outside world is attractive to preschool children


Analyzed the key traits from each user and identified what possible solutions are

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User Needs

  • Be able to find and access appropriate picture books for children

  • Adopt strategies that enables them interact with children strategically in reading process

  • Be able to understand children's learning situation and help them learn happily 

  • Be able to communicate with other parents

User Goals

  • Have quality time for co-reading with children

  • Apply interaction strategies to better involve in children's learning process

  • Arouse children's learning interests, improve learning effectiveness, and evaluate outcomes

  • Build connection with other parents and share with each other

Creating a more interactive literacy acquiring process for you and your children


Information Architecture

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User Flow

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Home Page and Recommended Books

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Assessment for Personalized Content

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Personalized Books and Weekly Reading Plan

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Picture Book Page and Reading Strategy

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Parent-Child Interaction Support Guidance and Voice Assistance

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AR Contextual Learning and Reading Activities

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Review, Forum, and Download

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