Colorwill is my integrative project
in Instructional Technology and Media
at Columbia University, 2017.

Take A Tour
Free To Use

Colorwill is a free iPad app that provides daily pop-up color exercise.

Customizable Exercises

Teachers in school or online classes can utilize the app as a facilitator for a more structured learning approach

Learn By Practice

Learning by applying knowledge to real-life contexts will help designers and artists develop their own understanding and applicable skills on color theory.

Crowdsourcing Feedback

Sharing the assignment to an online community for showcase and feedback.


Existing Project Review

As the current demand for art and design on digital platforms increasing and overhauled those on traditional platforms, the requirement for artist and designer to have a strong foundation and sensitivity in color on digital platforms is a must. However, the current color learning and practicing on digital platforms is very limited. The only two color exercising apps based on color learning curriculum are the Interaction of Color by Josef Albers and the Intro to Colors, by Montessorium. The Interaction of Color is an academic practice with the requirement of long-time color mixing virtually on iPad.

There are some fields that the Interaction of Color app is missing. First, the app only includes the exercises that Albers designed, which are mainly focusing on how colors work with other colors. The exercises missed out the intentions of artist and designer creating the work and the impression that artist and designer want to make in real life contexts. Second, the app only allows users to share the work through emails, Facebook, and Twitter, which lack of a community giving crowdsourcing feedback for the work.


Open the app

The workflow of using this app has two routes: one is the user has not finished the exercise of the day, then the user will enter into the screen one, referred to figure 3. On this screen, the user will see today’s exercise, highlights of the important information, the estimated time of finishing the exercise, the number of days they have persisted, an artboard on the bottom, and a logo as a button to enter explore mode on the top. The highlights of the important information are helpful to students when skimming the exercise. The estimated time and the number of persisting days are encouragement for students to take this exercise. The viewable artboard on the bottom also serves as an encouragement as well as indication of swiping up for more. The logo is served as a hidden button for students to escape the exercise screen to explore tab. The hiding of the button is to encourage students to focus on and finish the exercise before browsing others.

Topics of the contents were chosen based on the chapter separation of two publications about the foundation of color theory in art-making and graphic design: The Art of Color by Johannes Itten and Interaction of Color by Josef Albers. The content were broken down to contrast of hue, contrast of value, cold warm contrast, complementary contrast, simultaneous contrast, contrast of saturation, contrast by extension, perception of color, and color theme.


Design Exercises

By swiping up, the user will see screen two of Colorwill. There are graphic creating tools on top and three additional tabs , theory review, inspirations, examples for users to refer to when users have difficulties in creating work on the bottom, so that teacher’s instructions can be eliminated in this step. During the creating process, the learners are self-directed and active problem-solvers in these exercises. After users finish the creating process, they can share their works to the online community.

Following is some examples of the design exercises: 1) Contrast of Hue: create a 12 square checkerboard of all these different colors plus white and black. After that,create an abstract painting by using only the 12 square checkerboard. 2) Cold and warm contrast: create six different colors in cold and warm colors. Then create a landscape where the cool colors are in the foreground, and the warm colors are in the background. 3) Complimentary contrast: make a portrait painting of a person in which the subject is the complimentary color to the background.


Inspired by Others

By press the button, share to Colorwill community, or after the user has finished the exercise for the day and open the app, the user will see the explore screen, referred to figure 5. In screen three, the user can see other users’ works in the explore tab, by filtering them through projects, most likes, and today. Through filtering, the user can view others’ works based on the project so that the user can compare selves’ work to others. In this case, the user is also improved his/her own ideas and skills through community rather than direct instruction.

There will be no grading from the instructor. Instead, the learner will see ratings for each exercise from the community. There is no teacher in the online community because every user can give advices and receive suggestions from others. However, teachers in school or online classes can utilize the app as a facilitator for a more structured learning approach. By utilizing the app, teachers can guide the self-learning process and promote an environment of inquiry and collaboration.


Giving and Receiving Feedback

After click into any work shown in screen three, the user enters screen four. The user can give constructive feedback based on the framework with rating criteria including the visual hierarchy, the first impressions, whether the crowd understands the communicative goals of the piece, and assessing the piece relative to design guidelines, e.g. Contrast, proximity and alignment. Through understanding the rating system, the user can review his/her own work through the same framework and make adjustments in future exercises.

On the bottom of screen three and four, there is a navigation bar that is not viewable in exercise mode, for better focus during exercise mode. In the navigation bar, the user can go back to the exercise, stay in explore mode, or go to personal dashboard or the “Me” tab in the app. On personal dashboard, the user can see his/her own the average rating and the rating trend on each criterion and the average rating and rating trend on the sum of all criteria. Through comparing the latest rating to the first rating, or view the trend of ratings, the user and/or the instructor can monitor and improvement of the student’s understanding and skill of color application.

How I utilized my specialties

UX Research

Interview artists and designers for their needs on color practice and their feedback on the functionalities and design.

IA & User Flow

List out a clear information architecture and user flows based on multiple persona.


Create a low-fidelity prototype and design a high-fidelity prototype based on it.

UI Design

Create a final UI design based on the prototype and constant user feedbacks.

Color Theory

Create exercises based on  The Art of Color by Johannes Itten and Interaction of Color by Josef Albers.


Design the whole branding, visual system, color scheme, promotional materials, etc.
Integrative project, august 2017

Thank you for going through the journey of my final project during my graduate study at Columbia University. If you are interested in this project, please find my research paper through the tab. If you are interested to see my other projects, please visit my website.