Design Features of Learning Apps for Mobile Gamification

Graphic Designers Use Co-design to Prompt Young Children to Speak


  • Caroline Tjung
  • Simone Taffe
  • Simon Jackson
  • Emily Wright


co-design, graphic design, mobile gamification learning, speech learning, design methods


This study sought to understand the design features of learning apps required for mobile gamification learning applications. In our study, 10 par-ents, two speech pathologists, and two childcare workers iteratively co-de-signed an app that is meant to assist parents to prompt young children with speech difficulties to speak. The co-designed app, Koko the Talking Koala, drew on current knowledge of mobile gamification theory. We identified six key design features of learning apps for app design, and propose that the following be included when designing apps: 1) include life-related scenarios in the storyline and the narrative; 2) use animation to prompt engagement, maintain attention, and invite participation; 3) use clear navigational instruc-tions; 4) use rhymes and repetition with audio rewards; 5) focus on parent–child interaction; and 6) use visual elements to express emotion.

Author Biographies

  • Caroline Tjung

    Dr Caroline Tjung is a Melbourne-based Visual Communicator. She works as an Academic Specialist (Research Translation) at the University of Melbourne. There she is in charge of managing the communication and translation within the ALIVE National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation. Caroline researched on developing a technol-ogy-based speech learning app using a co-design method with parents of young children as part of her PhD. Her expertise includes co-design, brand-ing, communication design, and designing for children, and she lectures in the areas of design portfolio and participatory design.

    Caroline has a background in communication design having completed a PhD in Design and Master of Design (Communication) at Swinburne University.

  • Simone Taffe

    Simone Taffe is Professor in Communication Design in the School of Design. Simone worked as a graphic designer for 15 years before joining Swinburne.

    Simone has won several Australia-wide teaching awards for the innovative use of problem-based learning in the classroom. Simone is a member of Swinburne’s Centre for Transformative Media Technologies, a theme leader for Urban Decision Making in the Smart Cities Research Institute and a leader of the Grant Writing program for Swinburne Women’s Academic Network (SWAN).

  • Simon Jackson

    Dr Simon Jackson is a Senior Lecturer, teach-ing Design History and Design Theory classes at Swinburne University of Technology. His articles have appeared in Design Issues, Journal of Design History, and Journal of Design Research.

  • Emily Wright

    Emily Wright is the Course Director of the Bachelor of Design at Swinburne University of Technology. She lectures in commu-nication design and design strategy. Her research focuses on packaging design, co-creation and design education. Her design practice career spans over 25 years with work in branding, packaging, publishing, and web design in the US, the UK, Mexico and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters as well as a PhD from Swinburne University.






Journal Article