Toy Lab


As part of IDEO, a human-centered design and innovation firm, the Toy Lab believes that design needs to stem from real people, real needs, and real desires. Because of this, we constantly talk to kids and parents, keeping our eyes open for what’s new and important in their lives.

In 2008, we couldn’t help but notice a new phenomenon in play: the iPhone. We found it compelling that adults weren’t the only ones loving this new toy and decided to explore the apps for kids space.

While kids were interacting with a number of different iPhone apps every day, surprisingly few of these applications were designed with this precocious demographic in mind. We put together a team consisting of child development experts, veteran toy designers, and interaction designers to uncover the real potential of iPhone apps for the preschool set, ages 2 through 6. Through interviews and observations, we discovered compelling insights that left little doubt that there was fun to be had in this field.

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  • Brendan Boyle

    Brendan Boyle

    Brendan, a Partner at IDEO, passionately promotes entrepreneurial thinking and doing at all of our locations worldwide.

  • Adam Skaates

    Adam Skaates

    Adam Skaates is a Senior Designer and business lead at IDEO. Adam’s a toy inventor at heart, leading a team that has licensed over a…

  • Michelle Lee

    Michelle Lee

    Michelle Lee is tasked with Mobile App Strategy and Design at IDEO, growing and marketing the play-centric iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and Android apps developed in the…