Small team, tools, user test and metrics

An overview of a kids application and some relevant User Experience points

A new journay

On 2015 when I started the project, we were sent a survey, where the main problem raised was the need for parents and their children to be able to use the device safely, without disconnecting or leaving the application and deactivating the device. A safe yet fun area for children ages 3 to 5

My role was the team's design leader, and product definition. As a strategic part and active executor in visual creation, prototypes, games and game design. Using adobe suite softwares and creating animations in Unity.

The begin

The process began with sessions of ideation and survey of product hypotheses.

Sketchs

After this step, my team and I started the process of sketching flow, basic navigations, possible interactions, and the visual composition of some objects from the first version of the application

Validation

We assembled prototypes for validation of concepts with a small group of children, the children of company employees. The plan is to validate information for decisions and definition of a minimum and viable product. 

The MVP concept

We started creating a viable minimum product, with some initial functionality and mainly visual style definition. In addition, an in-depth study of structural possibilities for the parental area and sign out control of the application for children.

We also focused on retention, it was necessary to have attractive features for children, games that could become the return elements. We create two classes of interacting elements.

Two ways to get retention

Touch and response games, based on animation and sound and also casual games, where children could spend more time solving small playful problems.

Thoughts about product

"A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort."

Aplication strutucture

Initial and main scenario, where the games would be scattered for quick play and a place to connect the other sessions of the application

The playground

The character’s room would be the place for casual games, a secondary layer of navigation and interest, where the child could choose a game to play and also change the clothes of the main character

Apps manager

In the sky, the child would find the selection of applications that the parents have released for use. This selection would be made within the administration area of the application, made by the parents.  

The question blocker

When trying to sign out of the application, a lock screen with a question would be shown to the child to unblock the sign out. Only adults would be able to answer that question.

The question

Several ways have been developed to try to block children. Without a database to store passwords or key numbers. The only way out was to create a system of questions with difficulties where children within the age range of our product could not leave. Basic maths was out of the question for use in the application. It was not sufficiently difficult for the effectiveness of the sign out block.

The resolution

For this, I researched information and the contents of science and mathematics that a child of 3 to 5 years learns in school. And in addition, what children of older age ranges learn.

The new question

Using the classifications and nomenclatures of realms of living things was a good sign out to create blocking questions. In addition, more complex maths mixed with scientific information fit the difficulty we wanted to block the sign out from the application.

New user validation

With the functionalities and the blocking area, we applied a new round of validation tests with children. We tested X children, where we collected validations about usability, aiming to collect data about satisfaction, as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of everything.

The most important challenge

Time to launch, test and wait for the users answer

User tests, every time

We have been able to validate various navigation errors. Many of the chosen visual elements needed to gain more child-friendly aesthetics and simplicity of use. We also validate changes and withdrawals from games. 

Through behavioral observation, we could also have ideas for new games.

And the application managed to block the children from signing out.

The launch moment

We launched the application on Google Play and Galaxy apps and we began tracking the metrics regarding the number of downloads and other important data for the product.

Metrics

In this round, we had a backlog of new features to validate and implement, as well as information that usage numbers could show us. In addition to the store, we have created a channel for collecting user impressions, making it easier to communicate with customers.

The parents became a problem

One of the important and problematic points was that the locking screen, in addition to being effective with children, also became a blocker for parents. Usage data showed us that many parents, in a hurry, could not get out of the application quickly, getting stuck for a long time. The question was very difficult.

This is not only numbers and data research

In addition to the metrics, our email communication channel was also effective in confirming the blocking problem.

We managed to map out that the number of parents who really wanted to control the children in our application was a very low percentage, information that challenged the research data given to us.

Knowing the user

Our product front, began to study ways to address and solve the problem, before the product garnered a number of downloads. With this, we have adapted the blocking of children as an optional function for the parents, being activated only within the administration area of the application. The numbers showed us that there was a result from the change and the complaints by email stopped, increasing the number of organic downloads of the application.

Retention

In addition to this change, we implemented new games and features, based on tests with children that ran parallel to the sprints. We needed new features that would sustain a greater retention of children.With this, we created new games that used more resolution time, with the objective of increasing the retention in a time of more than 3 sessions.

Stickers

An award system was also created within the application, the more application items were used, the child would earn digital stickers to collect and fill the album inside the main character's room.

Fairy tales and dinosaurs

Through behavioral research, we mapped the infant elements that were most appealing to children of our age group being dinosaurs and fairy tales. All stickers were created using these visual elements.

Get better, listening the user

With more tests, we were able to adapt the look of the character for a visual identity. A simple visual change was made that could have a better connection to the public and easier implementation. With the tests, we also mapped the need to create more scenery themes, such as thematic and seasonal visual layers and characters fantasies.

With the number of users active daily on 10.000 and the retention goal being achieved, the product has become attractive for investment and partnerships with third-party brands. The next step was to partner with BBC and its entire portfolio of children's tvshow, called Ceebibies.

The project served as a lesson in several ways:

  • We have a small and senior team, creating and launching an application in 6 months.
  • It was possible to get technical knowledge very quickly to adapt to product changes.
  • We apply SCRUM in an adapted but functional way throughout the project.
  • The use of metrics and the application of tests with more than 50 children was fundamental to mapping the necessary changes of the product before an increased volume of downloads.
  • Quick response to changes and also very well planned.
  • Anxiety control over misleading numbers and metrics.
  • The focus on the user was fundamental and became the matrix for all upcoming projects.
  • The Know-how of studies focused on the behavior of children and the use of technology.

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