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Osmo Creative Board

Industrial Design, User Research & Testing, Strategy

Osmo Creative Board


Osmo, known for its innovative educational iPad games, sought to expand its offerings with a new game called Monster, targeting children aged 4-9. Monster allows children to unleash their imagination while drawing props for Mo’s magic show that are captured and expressed into the digital gameplay. The game required a reusable drawing surface that seamlessly integrates with Osmo's tangible play platform. The challenge was to design a board, markers, and eraser that were child-friendly, optimized for computer vision technology, and fostered creativity.


Working with the CTO, interaction designers and game developers we embarked on an 8-month iterative design process. Key activities included:

  • Materials Exploration: Rigorous testing of various board surfaces and writing tools to find the optimal combination for computer vision capture and eraseability.

  • Child-Centered Research: Regular playtesting sessions with children to gather feedback and observe how they interacted with the prototype board and markers.

  • Iterative Refinement: Constant prototyping and refinement based on research insights and technical constraints.


  • Surface Matters: A matte finish was preferred for computer vision, but it posed staining challenges. A compromise was found with an enamel-coated steel board.

  • Mark Making and Erasing: The ideal writing tool needed to create marks easily captured by the software, yet be erasable without leaving residue.

  • The Joy of Creation: Playtesting revealed that children derived the most joy from spending time on each drawing, rather than rushing through multiple drawings.

  • Develop(er) Empathy for Emerging Motor Skills: We created an exercise wherein developers used their non-dominant hand during their testing sessions as a way to develop empathy with their users developing motor skills.

Impact and Outcome:

  • Enhanced Gameplay: The final design included a reusable whiteboard with durable enamel coating, Yoobi chalk markers optimized for computer vision, and a fun pouch for the markers that doubles as an effective eraser.

  • Shift in Focus: The insights from child-centered research prompted a shift in the game's design, emphasizing creative expression over speed and completion. This also led to prioritizing metrics such as time spent per drawing task over total tasks completed as proxies for engagement. 

  • Award Winning Launch: The new creative board and markers launched successfully alongside Osmo's Monster game, providing children with a fun and engaging way to learn and express themselves. It received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award in 2016!




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