March 28, 2021
Skapa is an iOS and Android app built to help families with neurodiverse children manage daily routines.
In January 2020, I joined the Crocker Fellowship, a one-year innovation program where teams of students from various majors research, design, and develop a product.
The program loosely follows the double diamond approach to design.
Starting the year, we decided as a team to build for people with autism because of personal connections to autism from several of my team members.
We began by interviewing over 50 families and individuals with autism.
Over 80% of those families mentioned issues with sleep and we felt like measurably improving sleep quality would be meaningful for the families we were working with.
Existing research and best practices showed us that establishing daily routines, especially night time routines, can improve sleep quality. Rewards, based on a coin economy, has also been shown to be effective. This was heavily supported by the experiences shared by the families we interviewed.
I led the design and development of a mobile app using React Native with Firebase as a backend to help automate and support establishing daily routines.
Here's how it works:
- Parents create routines and rewards for each family member
- Skapa guides each user through the routine with visual cues (color + icons)
- Users earn coins for each routine completed
- Users redeem coins for personalized rewards set by the parents or caretakers
Below are the main screens for the caretaker interface.
The child interface features a simpler, more playful style. During our research, we noticed that many families relied on visual cues like color and images to help their children understand things. We incorporated this into the application and tried to emphasize those cues over text in this interface.
The app is available to download for free on the Apple app store and Google Play Store. Using React Native was an integral part in being able to launch the app on both platforms. About 75% of our users were on iOS and 25% were on Android.
In the 3 months after launching on the app stores, we had over 150 families who had used the app.
We also began testing Skapa in high schools to be used by students and aides.
Our team was fortunate enough to compete in several technology and entrepreneurship competitions at BYU and in the state of Utah. Notably, we earned 2nd at BYU's annual app competition and 3rd at BYU's Student Innovator of the Year competition.