It’s a unique educational resource designed for children who have a parent, sibling or loved one with cancer. The app contains a host of age appropriate information that demystifies the medical terminology of cancer. It also features animations where we hear the children tell their own stories about living with a friend, parent or sibling suffering from cancer.
The project was motivated by research carried out by the Camp Quality team which identified a critical gap worldwide in the availability of cancer resources for kids.
Camp Quality’s Program Manager Genevieve Antill summed it the purpose of the app like this: “Cancer is a very adult issue; this app makes it child-friendly.”
The biggest challenge for 2and2 was to design an app that accommodated a large amount of serious factual information but at the same time engaged 9 – 13 year old kids. We set about doing this using a highly visual approach that utilised Camp Quality’s vibrant branding colours.
In order to directly connect with kids the 2and2 team created a series of characters to guide users through the app. At the beginning of their journey kids encounter two guide characters who introduce them to the ‘What is Cancer?’ section of the app. The stylised characters are bright and friendly and kids can tap on them and discover a series of humorous animations.
As they progress through the app kids learn more about medicines and hospitals and the different types of doctors, nurses and support staff they may encounter along the way. We used a similar character design approach to illustrate these people making sure they appeared open, friendly and accessible. This was a good way to visually represent the range of players involved in cancer treatment and explain the ways they can help.
It was also important to provide more information to kids about the range of medical equipment and procedures they may encounter in hospitals. It was important to introduce this information in a way that was not threatening or scary. Our design team used the same bright illustrative style to show things like blood cells, cancer cells, cannulas, scans, medicines and chemotherapy. While our character designs were very stylised, it was important that our illustrations of medical equipment were scientifically accurate as well as visually appealing. This sketch shows early concepts for the medicines and hospitals illustrations showing the visual direction for this section of the app.
In early planning we decided with the client that a game was not the right direction to take for this resource. However, we were keen to make the touch screen experience of the app playful and compelling. We treated the app almost like a digital book scattered with great information, fun characters and animations. No screen is dull and every section of the app has a clear purpose.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences of our team was to take part in user testing of the app where we could observe it being used by its intended audience. Many kids skipped quickly to the Our Stories animations first before exploring the informational aspects of the app in more detail. We had strong positive feedback from families and kids who had had their lives impacted by cancer. One of the best things to hear from this group was that they wished the app had been available earlier.
This is a video that Camp Quality produced for the launch featuring James, Nik and Peter from the 2and2 team. A big shout should also go out to illustrator Miguel Gonzalez, animators Asteria Setiono and Chris Sunderland and developers Jacob Wang, Chris Davies and Cynthia Chen.