Tool for children to learn letters using basic shapes


Shaper is a tool for kids to help them learn letters using basic shapes. For children, the first step in understanding letters is an ability to know the difference between the basic shapes. Recognition of letters can be taught by encouraging children to distinguish shapes. Shaper helps children recognize, distinguish and match shapes that form letters.

Tablet application, Puzzle
Classroom project
April - May 2018


I realized the need for a tool like Shaper when I got to closely observe my 3-year-old nephew using random basic shaped objects to create letters and other objects around him.

The challenge

How might we create an engaging experience for kids to help them learn, recognize and differentiate letters using basic shapes



Learning through play

Learning doesn’t have to be all serious and boring. Especially when it comes to kids, kids learn better through play. Therefore, encouraging creative activities that help develop shape-recognition skills required for learning letters.


Minimum number of basic shapes, endless possibilities

Keeping the number of basic shapes minimum to offer the simplicity of use while allowing children to create letters, numbers and other objects using those basic shapes.


Parents as indirect users and demonstrators

Even though the primary target user is 3-5-year-old children, parents have an important role to play in the learning experience. As parents are the decision-makers, demonstrators, social partners and therefore the indirect users, the design needs to address parents’ needs and expectations.


Initial concept


8 Basic Shapes

that can be used to create letters, numbers, faces and other fun shapes

Design Components

Concept testing

I tested the initial concept with 7 children from age group 2.5-5 and interviewed their parents to get their feedback and inputs on the concept.

 Austin Public Library, TX


“Learning letters is not only about knowing which shapes create the letter but also knowing what the letter looks like, what it sounds like and what it stands for or is associated with.”

John Walker
Father of a 3-year-old


Secondary Research

Redefined design brief

Helping children learn to recognize the visual form, name, and sound associated with the letters

Refined Concept

Based on the feedback and secondary research, I decided to translate the initial concept into a digital application that offers comprehensive and multi-sensorial letter-learning experience.


How it works

Choose what you would like to create

Reinforcing the development of shape recognition skills required for letter-learning by allowing children to create numbers, other shapes, and objects around them. After all, learning doesn’t have to be all serious, it needs to be fun too!

drag snd drop shapes

Drag & drop Shapes

A short tutorial shows children how to create letters by dragging the shapes into the appropriate spots of the letter-puzzle.

Learn more about the letter

Learn about the name of the completed letter, the sound that corresponds to that letter and the associations with the letter.

Key design considerations

Guidance and handholding

At this age, children can’t read. Therefore, providing visual instructions in the form of short animated tutorials to provide them guidance for creating the letter.

Meaningful Feedback

When a child drags a shape and brings it near the appropriate spot on the letter-puzzle, the shape auto-rotates suggesting that it would fit perfectly in that spot. therefore providing feedback to the child.

Less text, more visual

The text is used only where it is required, especially for the features to be used by parents. Call-to-action buttons are icon-based to communicate the intended action visually for kids.

Auditory instructions and feedback

Auditory instructions and feedback keeps children engaged & motivated. The audio also helps children learn the name & sound of the letter.


What I learned

Designing for kids

Designing for kids is way more challenging and different than designing for adults

Translating user behavior into meaningful experiences

For designing engaging and meaningful experiences for children, it is crucial to observe them while playing and interacting with digital devices.

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