Hi all, today I’m going to talk about the Fingerprint approach to designing mobile experiences that bring kids and grown-ups together.
Just a little about me. I’m Nancy MacIntyre, CEO and Founder of Fingerprint.. I’ve spent my entire career working at the intersection of gaming for kids and parents. At Broderbund, I experienced the magic of Carmen Sandiego, Hasbro Interactive – saw millions of families playing Monopoly, Candyland, and Scrabble, at LucasFilm saw the merging of two perfect play experiences – Lego and Starwars to launch LegoStarwars and then LeapFrog with the first connecting play experience – actually showing parents what kids were learning. This is all leads up to FP. We’re the first mobile learning and play network for kids AND their grown-ups. Let’s talk about how we approach building experiences that parents and kids can share.
When I think family gaming, I think Monopoly. Perfectly simple interface, few simple rules, easily understandable by the youngest kids, but enjoyable for parents, too.The same philosophy should apply for mobile experiences for families.
Unfortunately, the rules are different for mobile. Here are two great examples of fantastic family mobile games. The first is Words with Friends. The second is Draw Something. The biggest issue is safety. As you see on the right, this child has shared personal information – in fact his address. Not safe for the child audience.The second issue is finding someone to play with. Most of these games use facebook connect to match players or email. Most kids don’t have either. The third is communication. Messaging between players be unsafe and very difficult for kids.
We’ve spent the last year challenging thinking around making the first kid-safe social gaming platform that would support multi-player apps.As gamers, we had a lot of pre-conceived notions about what would work, but there were a lot of learnings along the way that informed what we ultimately did.
In fact,, it’s been quite a journey.By the numbers – the core team consisted of a designer, teacher, and artist. They worked hand in hand with a UI designer and 3 engineers and 50 Moms, and 200 kids, and ultimately 1500 Canadians playing the first game and platform.
Here’s just a small sample of the number of screen changes!
So let’s take a quick look at what we did. - THIS IS THE FULL PRODUCT DEMO INCLUDING ALPHABETINIS
Here’s a little bit about our process, what we learned, and what might be helpful to you.
Let’s start with look and feel. We thought that graphics should be child-like and clearly designed for kids.What kids really wanted was to feel grown – up – play real games., for big kids.We developed grown-up graphics with whimsy – that appealed to both kids and parents.
We were challenged by getting the right balance of features for the platform – enough to make it useful, yet not complicated.We thought that having a list of games and messaging would be enough for this audience – after all we’d seen it work with Words with Friends!We discovered that kids wanted fun everywhere - and parents really wanted to see kids engaged.So we created a series of features that really got parents and kids engaged around the play – new avatar maker, a rewards system, and ways to share with friends and families.But kids were super clear – everything needed to be fun – we needed to Gamify every feature. So over time, we added customizable avatars, a shared reward system called coin-o-copia that crossed a pinball and slot machine, and sharing functions.
The next big area was making it safe. Our initial process was to use real names after parent permissionIn testing most kids elected for a crazy name – like Feather Skywalker, for example. Parents were clear about desiring anonymity – not wanting any real names in use. We created a nickname engine, that’s super fun in itself. – so that names are Safe and Just for the child
We also new that finding people to play with would be tough for this audience.We assumed that kids and parents wanted to play with family – infact we were so sure of that we code named the project “games with family” in the beginning.Surprisingly kids will play with anoyone – they just want more games faster. And parents were fine with anonymous player matching.We developed a random match feature that starts play immediately – this served twofold – parents were off the hook for having to play and there was always a game ready. Everyone wins!
Lastly, I want to talk about parent features. Our plan was to develop a parent analytics dashboard that would show what detailed play data and learning progress. What we discovered was that few parents wanted reports – or thought they would have time to review them. They mostly wanted to know what to buy next.We focused on developing a USA Today style parent feature, that creates engagement opportunities – a parent can see how many sessions kids have played, what ames they are playing, and then start a new game with them, or be recommended a new game based on play insights.
Developing a dual targeted learning product is unique – kids have different motivations than parents – around play and the intrinsic benefits of games. Our platform has been a labor of love.
Our platform has been a labor of love. You can try it today by downloading The Flying Alphabetinis …. Or in the near future, new apps based on some great new properties like Franklin & Friends, VeggieTales, Caillou, and Kids Learn Mandarin.
THANK YOU!IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN PARTNERING WITH FINGERPRINT- SEE ME AFTERWARDS OR EMAIL ME HERE.
Digital Kids Conference 2013: Nancy MacIntyre Fingerprint
Shared Devices,Shared ExperiencesMobile Gaming for Kids and Parents Together
Some Insights Look & Feel Feature Set Family SafeFinding Game Playmates Parent Insights
Just for Me Real Games Grown-up Graphics +Graphics should be Kids wanted to feel Whimsychild-like grown-up Aged up the look for kids 6-10
Functionality FFFFFFFUN! Gamify EverythingSimple game list and Fun in all features Add engagement formessages would get was key—give kids parents and kids likekids to the platform reason to Avatars, Coin-o- play, parents a way Copia, and to see it Shareability
Real Names With Anonymity Safe and Just for MePermission Kids preferred funny Created a nicknameReal names with names and parents engine that got lots ofparent registration wanted safety support from kids and parents
Games With Family More Games Faster Parents Off theKids and Parents Kids will play Hook, Always a Gamewanted to play with anyone! Parents like Readypersonal friends and anonymous player ―Random match‖ startsrelatives matching play immediately
Play Data and What to Buy Next Play Me! Show Me!Learning Progress Few parent Create engagementShow parents expectations around opportunities forprogress about reports – want parents and kidslearning insights