A mobile tool to help children learn complex math concepts.

The assignment:

In our world where big data seems to be getting exponentially bigger, data literacy has never been so important. That's why the SAS Institute created Project Daela: an initiative to raise the  standards of our collective data literacy.

Sponsored by the SAS Institute, we were tasked with creating a digital tool that helps middle school students learn about data concepts.

Each team was assigned an electronic device, a data concept, and a learning barrier we had to specifically address to guide our concepts. My team and I were assigned to address the relevancy of the information as it related to learning correlation with a smartphone as our device.

The process:

We kicked off the project by interviewing middle school teachers to help us create a persona and journey map for our prospective user.


Gen Z middle schoolers...

"like narratives and stories"
"want to know why they learn something"

"have little-to-no attention span"
"are completley self-obessed"
"enjoy friendly competition"
"love pop culture and trends"
"like working in teams"



Age: 13     Grade: 8th  

Challenges: Struggling with the real world application and connection of coursework-easily frustrated.

Motivations: Reassurances from peers and teachers, desire to perform and communicate with others.


We underwent serveral rounds of critque from the Project Daela team and pursued a concept that leveraged personal data and gamification to keep kids curious and engaged.


Using a working lo-fi prototype, we conducted user testing with actual middle schoolers.


Surprise! Here’s math”
“It doesn’t feel ‘teachy’, it’s fun
“Could be interesting
“I like the colors”
“I don’t like the colors”
“I would use this”
“It works well

The result:

The result of this process is Datmee, a mobile app that combines social media and gamification that piques curiosity and renforces classroom material learned. 


Cleverly designed to mimic social media, kids scroll through a curated feed of lesson plans with click-bait style headlines.


We worked with their short attention span instead of against it, and created mini lessons that could be completed in 90 seconds or less.


Using information stored locally on their device, they can explore their own patterns and data.

We were extremely proud of our result and it was a favorite among the kids who took part in our testing. We received special recognition from the Project Daela team because we were unique in our approach to leveraging the short attention spans to our advantage, and for utilizing all the affordances of a smart phone.


The final product was presented to the Daela Project team at the SAS Headquarters in Cary, NC.


Role: UI/UX design, animation
Branding + narration: Chris Bullock and Lauren Rapier
Special thanks: The SAS Institute and Centennial Middle School students and staff




© Max Ganch 2021
Graphic designer

Phone: 214.240.1675
Email: maxganch@gmail.com