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STEM game app for girls



Educational App Startup


App Design
Visual Design


Erika Nicks
Suzie Jaberg


Girls generally lose interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects starting at an early age. illume is a STEM-inspired game for girls ages 8-11 designed to encourage them in learning STEM subjects and allowing them to have fun while doing so. illume is an educational app that is collaborative, full of new experiences and a place for girls to play and be entertained. illume is a game where learning is done through discovery, where collaboration is a key goal, and where girls can work together and help one another.

Game Concept

My team members and I knew early on that we wanted to create a compelling game concept that focuses on the user's natural tendencies like nurturing, collaboration and strong decision making. The premise of our game is simple, earn points to move into new levels and lands. Our STEM app is unique in that it's a double reward system where both the player and the characters she interacts with are rewarded for the players correct answers in gameplay. Our research showed that girls in this age range have a strong inclination towards nurturing and building, so our game concept is based around helping characters by answering STEM-themed questions. Each land the player travels through has a different illustrated landscape and corresponding characters. Players can collaborate together through chat, bartering and inviting one another to work together in gameplay.

Video of illume as a clickable prototype that I created in InVision:



Research & Discovery

To understand the young girls of today and their disengagement in STEM, my team members and I began with extensive research.


Part of our research informed us on what motivates kids to learn and how best to teach within our game so that girls would stay engaged and goal-oriented.


We did a two part online survey: one surveying parents and another just for girls so we could understand what kind of game would be engaging for them. The results were exciting and inspiring!


"Science is not a boy's game, it's not a girl's game. It's everyone's game. It's about where we are and where we're going."

-Nichelle Nichols, former NASA Ambassador & actress


User Testing

Along with user research done through multiple surveys we also user tested in person with three girls in our target audience age range. Their valuable feedback helped to make the illume game what it became. A fun game built upon exploration and nurturing.


Whiteboarding & Prototyping

Beginning our game testing with multiple rounds of whiteboard sessions our team was able to create an enjoyable learning experience that is engaging and educational. We created many design iterations based on feedback from parents and their girls. Created to uplift the bright women of the future illume is all about illuminating your mind.


I created a customer journey map which followed both a young girl (Lucy) and her mother (Jenna) and their frustrations and emotions on Lucy's personal experience with STEM subjects in school.


Look & Feel

The illume brand was specifically designed for young girls between the ages of 8 and 11. These are girls that are just coming into their own in terms of friendships, education and style. We created a brand that was otherworldly and adventurous to match the spirit of STEM subjects. The app revolves around exploring different lands, interacting with animals and friends and nurturing the world around you. The visual style developed for illume is almost that of a fairy tale. It's a possibility and a glimpse of what the future can hold if you dream big.


Along with all the pieces we created to extend the illume game Erika built this beautiful teaser video in Adobe After Effects.



illume was a sprint project I created with Erika Nicks and Suzie Jaberg. Assigned to produce a game app to help young girls enjoy STEM subjects we researched, concepted and completely created every aspect of this game in just 3 weeks including branding, task flows, wireframing, user testing, screen design, UI/UX and video.