Date: 2001

Simon SIO addresses the educational needs of a wide range of students, from reluctant readers to ESL adults to children with disabilities. Students learn the sounds that letters and groups of letters make, gradually increasing their ability to recognize and sound out words. At the program’s core is a very complex system that evaluates student progress and adjusts the lessons accordingly. Students are presented with very structured, timed lessons that offer ongoing guidance and limit the frustration that can arise from learning difficulties. Students with physical handicaps can access the program through scanning mode. Teachers are provided with access to all student records and can monitor student progress and adjust assignments as needed.

Creating visuals for this group of users poses unique challenges. While ESL students can interpret complex visuals, reluctant readers and those with learning disabilities oftern require visuals that can not be misinterpretted, yet are not so simplified that they lose their intrinsic visual appeal. The need for this balance informs both interface and content visuals decisions heavily.