Zen Home

Connecting with Cultures Through a Social Simulation Game

Senior Capstone Project - 2020


Responsibilities: User research, conceptual design, user processes, persona development, wireframing, information architecture, visual design, character design, prototype design, user testing, and incorporating user feedback into design iterations
Role: UX/UI Designer, Illustrator, and Character Designer.
Concept: Mobile Game Application
Duration: 9 weeks
Tools: Adobe XD,  Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Miro


Zen Home allows users to understand new things from different cultures successfully through the game, and it also helps people to find the aha moment. It will provide the user with an exciting environment to learn new things from a culture.

01. The Problem

  • People feel anxious and loneliness with a culture shock 
  • People are struggling with a new culture while they don’t know how to adapt to it
  • People don’t have enough preparation to be adaptable and flexible in a new culture

02. Quantitative Success Metrics

03. Qualitative Success Metrics

04. The Opportunity

Design a new platform that provides a better learning experience for users while they are playing the game.

05. Design Challenge

This challenge is to design a new platform that provides a better learning experience for users while they are playing the game.

06. Solutions 

Create a mobile game application for a online learning experience that allows the user to learn more about a new country easier. 

An Online Card Game That Allows Users To Play And Learn At The Same Time

The illustration will increase the user's motivation to learn a new culture, and it also brings an exciting environment and challenge concept. It will illustrate every subjects and event that reflect different cultures. 

Save your moments

This tool allows the user to save any moments while they are playing the game. It will help users to memorize their experiences and things that they find interesting from different cultures. 

Allow users to connect to different cultures  

This mobile game will provide the best gaming experience by allowing users to explore each culture by learning the history and traditional dresses. This concept will make the learning process more effective because users can gain more knowledge through images and illustrations. Moreover, users will be able to change and create custom outfits for their character, and it would bring a joyful experience to users.

07. User Persona

I interviewed two participants about their experience of studying abroad. It helped me to understand more about how long each person changed and adapted to a new environment. I also found that nobody told them about the cost of living, food, and culture when they move to a new country. After the interview, I found that they moved to a new country for education and a better future. They had a hard time adapting to a new culture, and they were homesick during their first year in America. My interviewees missed the food, the community, and the people in their home country.

08. Research

I analyzed all the information and broke down the ideas for exploration. I created a sort of card for each person by creating a list of the keyword on sticky notes. Then, I asked my interviewees rated all the words based on what were the most important things to my interviewees during their first year in America, and they gave "education," "heath," "family," "financial," and "adapt" as first places in the list. I found that living in a new culture can create both an exciting adventure and a challenging process. My interviewees had to deal with different things to balance their life in the first year. But, it is common for all international students to go through a cultural adjustment.

What were user's top concerns?

09. Pain Points

10. Journey Map & User Walkthrough

I created a journey map to depict how the user learn and discover a new culture. I also included the touchpoint, and I found that people always feel anxious when they are living alone in a new country. Memories are a great thing to comfort them, but they also make people feel homesick.

11. Storyboard 

I focused on user flow on my game application for my storyboard, and it helped me to think about the user experience with culture shock. I wanted empathetic users, so I could create a better place for users to adapt. I found that learning and playing are the best ways to help people adjust to the new culture faster and easier. This storyboard has created better storytelling and flows for the user to enjoy the game.

12. Early Sketches

I started sketching and created paper prototypes for user testings. One of the steps helped define what kinds of game environments I wanted to provide for users. 

13. Logo Ideation

The mission of this game is how to make people happy and stay positive. So, I decided to name my mobile game "ZenHome" because it means a state of calm attentiveness in which one's actions are guiding by intuition rather than by conscious effort. I'm also an immigrant, and I understand the struggle and anxiety when I first moved to America. I tended to stay at home all the time and felt lonely. So, I think "Zen Home" is a mobile game application that would help users stay calm and inform while they can learn a new culture at home. 

14. Logo Process

15. Visual Design

I chose yellow, light gray, and blue as the primary colors while adding red and pink colors to the palette. Yellow is the color of happiness, and it will bring positive vibes to users. This color palette also would make users feel excited and enjoyed the game. 

16. Early Version

Here is the early version of Zen Home, and it was completely different than the final product. At first, I tried to incorporate and mix different styles because I thought Zen Home would look awesome and dynamic. Then, I received a couple of feedbacks from my classmates that the element designs aren't connected, and the game doesn't give enough exciting vibe. Then, I started to redesign and brainstormed more ideas to bring a happy movement into the game.

17. High-fidelity Prototype

18. Final Product

19. Characters

It is one of my favorite parts of the process, and I had a fun time designing characters for Zen Home. I love the idea that brings different cultures into one place together by showing traditional dresses in the game. The user will pickup knowledge better by learning from visuals.

20. Proposed Outcome

Zen Home will provide an interesting environment by using illustrations of certain relevant countries. Therefore, the user will understand and have more confidence in their origins. This project will change the traditional way of preparation when they are moving to a new country. It allows the user to learn and adapt better to a new environment. 

When the users are playing the game, they have to guess the subject from a different culture. The reward is hearts, so the users can use them to purchase items in the store from the game. The user can discover the same subject in between two cultures, then they will see the differences or similarities between them.

21. Reflection

Some feedback from my classmates is that the visual effect is fun, and the game is very interesting. However, this fact is only the first step in getting the game on track and continuing to build the road to success. Also, I want to make this game more sustainable by adding more features and creating more traditional costumes for different ethnicities. And, I want the users to have more options and feel comfortable to play the game. 

22. Interactive Prototype