OMBI is an iPad application that allows toddlers to create polychromatic particles and explore different types of particle dynamics. Toddlers can also create new circles or simply tilt the iPad to watch them tumble. They can watch the particles collide or fall in different gravitational directions. 

Group Project: research, ideation, design, prototyping, user testing

My Role: Interaction Design (research, interaction design, motion graphic design, user testing)

Timeline: 2010.09-2010.12


In order to better understand the problem space, we examined existing apps and we found few apps were designed to support toddlers in learning knowledge of physics. 

We set out to design an app that uses intuitive and easy-to-learn interaction to teach children simple knowledge of physics.


We aimed to design easy-to learn gestures of interaction for toddlers. We used sketches for exploring different solutions for interface and interaction design.


We then selected the most important features that we wanted to implement before the project deadline.

OMBI includes the following features:

  • scaling: the particles can be scaled up by pressing.
  • physics: we included the gravitational system so that different sizes of particles (different weights) will fall down in different speed.
  • colour blending: there will be colour blending effects when multiple coloured particles are overlapped.
  • collision: there will be collision effects when multiple particles hit together.
  • multi-touch interaction: we included simple multi-touch interaction for controlling the movements of particles.
  • shaking: when shaking the tablet, all particles will be removed from the screen.

User Testing

We conducted a preliminary user testing with 2-4 year-old toddlers. We asked them to play along, played with their pairs, and played with their parents. The results of the testing showed that children could quickly learn how to play with our app and they enjoyed playing with it their friends.

The testing results also suggested some further issues to consider for. For example, several children felt it was too long to make a big particle, which suggested that we could increase the speed for scaling up particles. Two parents also brought up the concerns for using digital devices too long time for toddlers. We considered to set up a time reminder during the play.

Lessons Learned

1. How to design interaction for toddlers

2. How the potential ethic issues could influence  the interaction design for toddlers


Trevor Smale: Project Manager

Lance Fu: Developer

Min Fan: Interaction Designer, Motion Graphic Designer

Tzeyi Pang: Interaction Designer

Mengxi Liu: Developer