A mobile application concept that provides kids of ages 6–12 an avenue to stream videos and learn. It provides a customized experience for every user and allows parents to define how their kids watch videos.
A mobile application design where children ages 6–12 can stream their favorite tv and movie contents at any given time. The application incorporates all the vital components that meet the needs of both children and parents, this allows parents to choose content and/or create custom viewing experience for their kids. Vital components include onboarding flow, security measures, parental control of the content, usage and educational contents between videos.
There are a good number of video streaming applications that provide contents for kids, people have tried some of them, including me. Kids for sure, are very important to their parents. And, taking into consideration how important a child’s upbringing is, it’s necessary to make sure that every content they consume is appropriate for them. This is a problem that a majority of the applications out there fail to solve.
During the course of this project, I discovered that most parents have difficulties switching their kids between watching videos and studying. One of my research respondents complained that she always has to seize her phone from her child every time she wants him to study.
Another respondent complained that he had to stop his kids from watching videos for a while after it became obvious that it’s a hassle every time he tries to get them to study.
Another problem was designing a product that parents/guardians who hardly have time to keep an eye on their kids/wards can adopt, set up an account and get their kids watching and learning in no time.
I was the only designer on this project. With regards to that, I handled all aspects of design which includes information architecture, user flows, visual design, interaction design, product development, and prototyping.
I also handled the user research by meeting with and interviewing parents in person. I also got to talk to a few kids to find out what they’d like to see in an application like this. This made it easy to pinpoint user and behavioral attitudes.
There are two user groups for the Kidsdom application; parents who are looking for an application that will provide kids contents for their children while enabling them to learn at the same time.
And children between the ages of 6 -12 who are looking for “cool” video contents that also allows them to choose what type of contents they want to watch.
Having been a guardian and been opportune to have spoken to a few guardians and parents during the course of this project, I know how difficult it can be to get the right content for kids. Most times, a lot of time is spent trying to find the right content than the kids actually spend watching them.
In order to identify if this project was worth embarking on, as well as what it needed to accomplish, I started out by speaking to parents and children. After putting together their feature requests, I was able to identify their pain points. Parents wanted to be able to control and manage what their children watched. Not having to struggle with their wards to have them stop watching and go study. The children wanted to be able to stream interesting contents.
They wanted to be able to choose what kind of videos to watch from a collection of different genres of contents. I took these things into consideration and designed the kidsdom app to meet the primary user’s basic needs.
During the research phase of this project and while interviewing parents to find out what their primary concerns were with regards to this project, I found out the following things;
- Mobile phones instead of tablets
- One place for everything
- Security/Trust is of essence
- Issues with sensitive and inappropriate contents
- What are they watching?
1. Mobile phones instead of tablets
The project was initially intended to be an application designed for tablets. But, during the research, we found out that most parents used mobile phones instead of tablets. And even those of them that had tablets don’t use ’em often.
When asked why; two of the respondents said that they’d rather just give their phones to their kids than trying to find where they left their tablet or having to purchase another device just for the kids. Another parent said she likes to be able to keep an eye on her child and she thinks she won’t be able to do that if he had a tablet ’cause she’ll likely forget to check on him.
2. One place for everything
While the app was designed for kids to learn as much as they get entertained, I found out during the research that parents were tired of having to remind their kids to go study. Switching them from seeing a video to reading their books. They wanted their children to be able to these things in one place.
3. Security/Trust is of essence
One other thing I learned during the research was that parents would rather have their children watch cable TV than something they’re not sure of or can’t validate its trustworthiness.
4. Issues with sensitive and inappropriate contents
One of the top reasons why parents seek a kids video app is to have peace of mind with regards to the type of contents they consume. And this one was no different. I was asked if it’d be possible to report inappropriate contents. And what happens when they report them.
5. What are they watching?
Being able to report inappropriate contents was one thing, but, what happens if I’m not around or busy when the “inappropriate” content comes up? How do I know? It became clear parents want to be able to see what their children spent time on. How long they spent watching. What they were watching and what educational contents they were shown.
I also did competitive research. This was to find out what the current products in the markets were doing right, and what their shortcomings are.
The onboarding was designed to be simple, easy and straight forward. I figured out that most parents don’t want to go through the stress of having to fill long forms. They’d rather have their kids watch the cable Tv than spend time filling a long sign up form.
I also made use of the simple and straight forward approach for the kid’s profile setup. Knowing that account signup is just one step of the process, it only made sense to strip off anything that was not necessary. At least for first-time users.
Videos / Home Screen
This part of the app was designed with the kids in mind. Fun. Simple. And easy to use.
This is one of the important features of the app. During the account setup, the parents set how long they want their children to watch videos before showing them educational contents/challenges.
So, when the child watches that amount of content, they’ll be required to complete a challenge before they can continue watching.
When a child approaches the end of their watch time, they get a timer countdown on the Top-left of the screen. And once they exhaust their watch time for the day, they will be locked out. And if they choose to continue, they will have to enter their parent/guardian’s authorization password.
I know parents would like to be able to see what their children spend time on. Whether they are spending more or less time, and on what contents.
Video / Protoype
Results from User testing of the prototype
I tested the Flinto prototype with four parents after the design, and;
- Three of them were excited to see the actual app.
- The four of them were really impressed with how the information I collected during the research were put into use.
- One of them had concerns about the color choice for the app.
- Two of them wanted a smartwatch app to alert them when their children try accessing the app outside of their viewing time and to be notified when inappropriate contents come up.
It was interesting working on this project, getting directly involved with designing for both parents and children. It was my first time designing for kids and I learned a lot. And getting to sit and interview parents personally opened up how people treat their personal lives and that of their loved ones. And helped me learn to approach designs/projects that involve privacy and family with extra care and attention.
If I can;
- I’ll add a feature to make the app identity videos that are similar to reported videos and not show them.
- Modifying and improving a child’s viewing preferences as they grow.
- I’ll improve the watching time/schedule feature to allow parents to set the exact time of the day they prefer their kids to watch videos.