++ Nominees Announced ➜ 18 July ++ Register profile for upcoming Awards ➜ How to Enter

++ Nominees Announced ➜ 18 July ++ Register profile for upcoming Awards ➜ How to Enter


Mengqiu Hu






United States

Three questions to the project team

What was the particular challenge of the project from a UX point of view?
The biggest challenge with this project was navigating the unique environmental and social context of the target audience. Addressing the specific needs of left-behind children in rural areas, where conventional communication tools often fall short, required a thoughtful and culturally sensitive approach. Additionally, the integration of physical, voice, and digital interactivity added a layer of complexity, requiring careful consideration to ensure the product effectively addressed the emotional needs of the users in a tangible and engaging manner. Balancing these interaction modals to create a cohesive and user-friendly experience was pivotal to the success of the project.

What was your personal highlight in the development process? Was there an aha!-moment, was there a low point?
The aha!-moment came when I discovered through research that children weren't seeking merely a communication tool; they longed for a profound connection. They expressed a genuine desire for a safe environment to share their feelings and receive the care and support of their parents. This revelation inspired me to incorporate emotional design principles in the design process. The design goal is to create more than a device; it's about crafting a comforting space that nurtures a profound emotional bond between parents and their children grappling with the challenges of geographical separation. This emphasis on emotional well-being has become the driving force behind the development of Shroom.

Where do you see yourself and the project in the next five years?
In the next five years, I envision Shroom as a widely embraced and transformative solution for families dealing with geographical separation. The project would likely expand its reach to cater to diverse demographics facing similar challenges globally. I foresee continuous iterations and enhancements based on user feedback, incorporating additional features, or even diversifying into related areas, making Shroom even more intuitive and effective. Ideally, Shroom would be recognized not only as a product but as a symbol of emotional connection and support, contributing to the well-being of families worldwide.