I wanted students to really believe that app was theirs, so each of their good ideas had to be included. The fastest way for them to achieve this was for students to design icons for each navigation item.
It took a while to get this idea to the students – that their hand-drawing of an icon can actually be used in the app. I tried several methods – have them draw icons at home, draw in class on paper, come up to the board – with few unique or interesting results. Each of their icons resembled something they’ve already seen on a mobile device or PC.
While that shows how computer savvy the kids already are – they’ve become accustomed to the user design frameworks promoted by Apple, Microsoft and Google, I was hoping that kid-created icons would give a more kid-friendly appeal to the app.
Since the kids couldn’t come up with anything new, I purchased a set of hundreds of mobile device icons, and proposed alternatives for each navigation item. We needed about 25 icons for the app; the kids selected the same icon as my first choice, but selected something much more “kid-oriented” for the other half of the icons.
This blog describes how 5th-8th grade students helped build the free iPhone/iPad/iPod app WishToList; info at WishToList.com