Project spotlight: My Brain, Me and FASD

 

Project spotlight: My Brain, Me and FASD

March 15, 2021

We work with charities for a reason. They are having a positive impact on the world, and we want to be part of that. We have supported charities by creating modules that have big impacts. We have helped to improve humanitarian efforts, diagnosis, support better care for animals, and safeguard vulnerable people. The small part we play means a lot to us and continues to drive our team to offer the best solutions we can.

In this article, we will put the spotlight on a project that means a lot to us. This charity, The National Organisation for FASD, is making a difference in the lives of children who have a lot on their plate. They are dedicated to supporting people affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and their families. They also play an important role in educating professional and raising public awareness.

We first met Sandy Butcher, their Chief Executive, at the end of 2019 and was instantly touched by the work they were doing. Sandy has a teen with FASD, so she often uses examples and stories to bring the facts about FASD to life. During that meeting, we discussed several projects and ways LMP could support them on a limited budget. This included a discussion on selecting a LMS and how to plan the potential structure of a new programme they were creating.

 

My Brain, Me and FASD

Jump forward to the start of 2020, and Sandy had successfully applied for grant funding from the Department of Health and Social Care in partnership with Seashell Trust. Their aim, was to create a dedicated website that would include help, advice and resources for children. This included a budget to develop an interactive version of a book Sandy had written. This book was designed to help children understand how FASD affects their brain. It provides practical methodologies they can use, particularly at school. This resource has been used across the world, was the first of its kind and children loved it. So, no pressure!

Our challenges when building the module was to:

  • Not lose the elements that made the book successful.
  • Make something fun and engaging for an audience that often struggles with concentration.
  • Make something easy to use while not talking down to our audience.
  • Build something rich and interactive that could be useful on smartphones.
  • Build something that allows users to print resources for reference or to give to teachers and carers.

The resulting resource My Brain, Me and FASD was built in Articulate Storyline 360 and published for upload to the project website. The site was created by Web Developer, James Craker from Crackerjac. James integrated some of the graphics we created in the design of the website to ensure a cohesive look between the website and the resource. The team also used the brain character we created on merchandise they have for sale on the site.

We have used an app/game inspired user interface that includes the selection of a profile picture and personalisation. A brain character guides you through the different sections of the module. It is full of colour, sound effects, movement and interactions. It also includes the voice of a young person called Rossi, who spent the day in a recording studio, where he created 80 voiceover clips. These clips give users the option to read the text or click to hear Rossi’s brilliant narration.

 

Key outcomes for LMP

  • We really enjoyed building this module for children.
  • Even though we stuck to the overall design of the original book, it was great fun to have the creative freedom we are given.
  • We learnt a lot about FASD and the effects of alcohol on a child’s developing brain in the womb.
  • We had the opportunity to try out a range of different ways to communicate what users should do that didn’t involve written instructions.

 

Feedback from the National Organisation for FASD

There are some days when you know you meet a ‘kindred spirit’ and the first time I sat down with Gill Chester I knew that she was an incredibly talented person who could help our charity at a key stage of our development. She and her team have been wonderful to work with – their creativity, flexibility and their expertise have critical to our project. The results are getting national and international attention. But there’s more – anyone who looks at our interactive comic can see that Little Man Project brought ‘heart’ to the project too. They have gone the extra mile and then some. They made navigating what could be a scary set of knowledge fun for young people with FASD. This matters greatly because FASD is a lifelong, brain-based disability and this knowledge is critical for their futures.

Sandra Butcher, Chief Executive.

That a look

The full resource is available on the My Brain, Me and FASD website if you fancy having a go.

Build Information

For those of you interesting in Articulate Storyline development technical…read on. We will now share two technical challenges and the solutions we developed.

Creating a usable print functionality

If you’ve ever tried to print using Storyline, you’ll already be aware that this is troublesome as there isn’t an effective print trigger. The only way to achieve this is to use JavaScript. We needed to print the outcome of the learner’s actions. This meant it needed to be a screenshot of the resulting slide. However, we also needed to hide some of the elements that weren’t needed, for example, the instruction text and print button.

This was achieved by creating a layer that was shown when the print button was pressed. We used the timeline of this layer to sequence a specific order of events, starting by hiding everything we didn’t want visible at the start of the timeline and then execute the JavaScript. This would resize the content and perform the print function. After printing, the slide returns to its previous state to allow the learner to continue.

Consistent experience

Another challenge we faced was making sure that the module offered the best experience for everyone. This meant ensuring that certain interactions that were not accessible using a keyboard had an accessible alternative. This is typically drag and drop interactions that require the use of a mouse.

Rather than remove these interactions, we designed an alternative version using JavaScript that detects when particular keys are used. This indicates when an individual is using their keyboard to navigate. These keys would set a true/false variable in Storyline that showed an ‘Accessibility Layer’. This allowed the user the option to continue with the drag and drop or to proceed with the accessible version of the interaction. This ensures a seamless and good experience for all.

Have a fun project you think we can help you with? Get in touch.