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Alain Hufkens Wee Taps Wee Rockets

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  • Paddy & Alain, designer and developer of Wee Rockets, iOS app for young kids for both iPad and iPhone.Where they can build their own rockets and launch them into space to rescue aliens and avoid asteroids.We’d like to show you a video.
  • I am Alain, developer of the Wee Rockets app and also Dad of 2 wonderful boys. Without them the app probably would never have been made. Before Wee Rockets I worked on the Studio 100 iOS games like Bumba and Piet Piraat. I loved the fact that I make stuff that can be enjoyed by my own kids. So I decided that I wanted to create my own app.
  • The idea started with this little wooden rocket toy, that I bought for my son. You can take it apart and build it again..
  • These pictures were made in the classroom of my oldest son. He was in the first kindergarden and I talked about what Dad did for work. I let them play with a very early build of the app and got some interesting test results. There were kids that never used an iPad before.
  • The target group would be kids between 2 and 6 years old.And my own kids which are now 2 and 4 years old, are right inside that target group.You can see them here after they built their own space ship. Why 2 – 6 years old? Kids over 6 years old already start playing with real games.
  • And they even have their own character in the game.After working out the idea on paper, I teamed up with Paddy because I needed an Illustrator to bring my idea to life.And he also had a thing for rockets apparently.  
  • When we started out, we established some key goals for our app.Firstly, some things we explicitly didn’t want in the app.
  • It’s for kids, wanted it to be an immersive experience with no distractions.Kids accidentally tapping on ads and breaking the game.
  • Decided to make a more premium app and charge for it, rather than make it free and fill it with ads and in-app purchasing.Kids don’t want that.Parents don’t want that and it’s a surefire way of being deleted off the iPad.
  • Part of the UX challenge for designing for kids, was to make sure there was no text instructions.Really young kids who couldn’t read yet.No text means it is language independent so kids of any nationality can play.
  • Made sure that kids were never stuck in the app.Once you complete a level, you loop back around to the build scene.
  • Didn’t want them to be stuck on a ‘play’ screen when the app starts up.A little story that plays automatically, draws them in.Straight into the build scene.
  • Our target age group are really young kids.So no punishments if they crash.More about building than competing.
  • Positive goals for the app.When designing for kids, it has to be even more intuitive.Tappable items have to bounce and jiggle.
  • The aims during the gameplay had to be super simple.Build.Launch.Fly and collect aliens.Keep the whole app trim. Do one thing and do it well, rather than end up with a bloated mess full of features.Launch it, gets kids using it, get feedback and iterate, improve and add to it.
  • Kids love to create, and rather than make a racing game, we focused on the build part.Countless combinations for the rockets.Make crazy ones or complete rockets.
  • Wanted visuals to be at a certain quality level.
  • No punishments for our young audience, only encouragement.
  • Lastly, we wanted to create a world for our apps.Astronauts, aliens, rockets, illustration style all belonged together.Future apps we’re building can build upon and live within this world, same characters and style.
  • Do have a long list of features, but very careful not to make this simple, kid friendly app too bloated with features.With each update we add more rocket pieces, astronauts and aliens.We’re currently working on our second app which will live in the same universe.
  • These are some tweets we got after releasing the app.
  • We are Wee Taps!We are currently working on something new.We can’t show anything yet, but there is a small hint hidden in the current game.
  • So that was it! I hope you like our app.And I almost forgot, we have some promo codes to give away. So come talk to us later on if you have any questions.
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