Bringing information and sources to youth in government care
AgedOut.com is for young adults who are, or were, in government care in BC. It's an up-to-date warehouse of information on resources and services available to young adults and a learning tool to help people feel empowered as they leave care.
The Adoptive Families Association of BC and Agentic Digital Media did an extraordinary job at gathering research with former youth in care all over BC to learn about the thoughts and challenges they went through when they "aged out". On their 19th birthday, these young people are legally considered adults and no longer receive any financial or personal support from the government, foster parents, or social workers.
When Agentic approached us, they already had most of the site's Information Architecture done and they had started with the development of the site. Given that the amount of content and information was very large, they were interested in designing a gameplay strategy that helped in achieving the project's learning objectives without making it look like a "test".
Designing a journey for a life out of care
Early in our discussions, it became clear that our main focus was to help users navigate through all the content by giving them short chunks of information. It was important to design an experience that didn't overwhelm or confuse them, while giving a sense of progression and achievement.
Next, you can read about the game mechanics and features we used to pull it off.
JOURNEY AND QUESTS
From the beginning of the project, Agentic provided us the architecture of all the learning topics and objectives in the project, as well as a clear idea of who the users are and the voice that was going to be used in the website.
One of the things that kept coming up in our early conversations with the team, was that these kids are about to start on a journey with several challenges along the way. We brainstormed around those ideas and decided to make the journey the core narrative behind our game design.
We organized the learning topics into playable quests with smaller tasks that users had to complete – this allows users to consume the content or complete different activities with clear cues of progression. It also communicates that the experience can be paused and completed in different sessions, which helped decrease the pressure to consume it all in one sitting.
Then, I created Information Architecture, Interaction diagrams, and concept wireframes, that helped our developers and Agentic's developers to understand the relationship between the website's main architecture and the points of interaction that were going to use game features in Picnic, Pug Pharm's game engine.
As the users completed different tasks and quests, they get cards to put in their profile.
Users have 3 different collections to complete: community, stressbusters, and lifestyle. Every card has useful tips and information that reinforce learning objectives.
BADGES AND REWARDS
In addition to the cards, when users complete certain tasks and quests, they receive digital badges that are displayed in their profile. When they reach a certain number of cards in their collections, users can also get a real-world reward, like a gift card.
Aged Out launched in summer 2015 and it keeps providing youth with a variety of resources, life skills, and information in a language that speaks to them so they can learn about their next steps as they leave government care.
Client: Agentic Digital Media.
Project type: Gameplay, Information Architecture, and UX/UI design.
Target Devices: Web, desktop.