An augmented reality app for mental wellbeing for First Nations teens.

Client: Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School

Timeframe: Oct-Nov 2017 (2 months)

Role: Product design, game design, UI design


For my game design course at the University of Waterloo, the assignment was to use game design methods to address the mental health crisis at Dennis Franklin Cromarty (DFC), a First Nations high school in Thunder Bay. I worked with a partner to prototype an augmented reality game for mobile that we called Waabang, which means “tomorrow” in Ojibwe. We researched the problem and did the product design together. My individual work consisted of designing the flow, interface, and interactions of the app.

‣ Discover

We were given a 1-page project brief that outlined the problem at DFC and gave some background on the situation. The majority of students at DFC fly in from remote First Nations reserves and live with a host family. Many teens have problems with excessive drinking, drugs, gambling, and other harmful activities. Compared to other schools, there is a large percentage of students who have mental health issues. There have been seven student suicides since 2000.


To investigate the problem, we did a phone interview with Sheila Wahsquonaikezhik, program coordinator at DFC. We wanted to know more about the experience of living with a host family. Through our conversation, we discovered that many students experience homesickness and isolation because they are away from their families. They also struggle with boredom and a lack of belongingness. Because of these struggles, many teens turn to alcohol and drugs.

We identified the root of the problem. Rather than focus on discouraging alcohol and drug use, we must tackle the underlying issues that lead to these behaviours.

‣ Define


First Nation students at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.


Beat boredom, make friends, feel happier, and satisfy the need to belong.


Improve the mental health and well-being of students at DFC.

‣ Design


Click through the prototype and try Waabang!