iPhone Applications for IDEO
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Designing quality software for young children and their families
As the iPhone’s popularity soars, parents are increasingly using the handset as a means to entertain and interact with their children. IDEO Toy Lab is an ongoing experiment in developing applications that will enrich this mobile experience for both adults and kids ages 2 to 6.
Although toddlers have been quick to embrace the iPhone, few developers are building apps with this precocious demographic in mind. As a part of IDEO, a human-centered design and innovation firm, Toy Lab operates from the premise that every product should meet the real needs and desires of end users. So we assembled a team of child-development experts, veteran toy designers, and interaction designers to determine how the iPhone could foster learning among the preschool set.
Through interviews and observations with youngsters, the team gleaned many insights into what might make a kid-friendly mobile software app—and went away with little doubt that there was fun to be had in the field.
The first two Toy Lab products — Party Whistle and Balloonimals — are available on iTunes and offer an intuitive and playful experience. Party Whistle is a simple, lively iPhone app that mimics a paper noisemaker whenever the user blows into the microphone. Balloonimals is a creative, entertaining app that lets users make inflatable creatures, from a crab to a dinosaur, by blowing in the mic and then shaking the handset. Both experiences end with a slight twist designed to surprise and delight the user!
Project date: 2009
Facts & Figures
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