Please tell us about your experience for children, and help us understand what makes it noteworthy or exceptional.:
LumiKids is a digital collection of intuitive and adaptive play-based activities for young children created by child development experts. From the creators of Lumosity, LumiKids is designed to challenge cognitive, motor and social-emotional skills in young children two years and above. LumiKids is kidSAFE+ certified, has won the 2015 Kids at Play Interactive Award for Best App for Younger Children, National Parenting Publications Awards GOLD award winner, and Editor's Choice Award for Excellence in Design from the Children's Technology Review. LumiKids is available on iPad in English, French, Japanese, German and Spanish.
The first app of the series, LumiKids Park, is an interactive digital playground filled with surprises for children to play and explore. It offers three adaptive activities including:
- Sorting: Sort squirmy little water critters into their correct water puddles based on color, shape and size, using cognitive flexibility as the sorting rules periodically change.
- Visual-motor coordination: While feeding the flying “nom nom” critters, combine the use of several visual-motor coordination skills such as visual processing, motor planning and motor control.
- Attention: While playing hide and seek, keep track of multiple darting critters as they hide, in order to find them - requiring a specific type of attention called divided attention.
What can others learn from the successes and failures of how you crafted your product experience for children? :
Before we built anything, we spent hours observing children aged 2-5 using iPads by themselves and along with their parents.
Then, we started prototyping ideas that incorporated these principles and immediately began testing these ideas with any kids in the 2-5 age range. In order to improve on the prototypes or decide which we’d take on to build into full activities, we looked at all the qualitative and quantitative data we’d collected through user testing to inform our decisions.
Our biggest suggestion to others would be to never assume you know how a kid is likely going to respond or engage – kids think differently (in a good way) and you can only know what will work for them through testing.
Please describe any research, data, and other information about the needs of your young users that was used in the design of your product and how it significantly affected the thought process and final outcome.:
The LumiKids team reviews findings from the fields of child psychology, developmental neuroscience, and education to determine the most suitable content for the activities. These findings help provide inspiration for the design of the interactive activities, while also considering what is fun and engaging for young children. Controlled scientific research needs to be conducted to examine the impact of these digital activities in children. The LumiKids team is currently partnering with academic researchers to conduct these studies. These research and development efforts aim to advance the field’s understanding of the interactions among children’s developing skills and the power of play to nurture these skills.
In what ways did the specific needs of and constraints inherent to children affect the design of the product?:
The LumiKids series is not intended to be brain training for kids, but instead aims to be a digital playspace that challenges cognitive, motor and social-emotional skills through intuitive and adaptive activities. The apps put kids in control of their experience with no text or voice-over instructions and celebrate a child’s effort and accomplishment, helping encourage a sense of agency by rewarding their effort. While kids play, parents learn through weekly email updates about their child’s activity in the app, skills used, milestones achieved and tips on how to continue practicing these skills with their child outside of the digital environment.
How did you test your product designs and prototypes with children, and how did that testing affect the designs or how you thought about the product’s requirements?:
We conduct both in-person testing (at our offices and other locations around the Bay Area) as well as remote testing via TestFlight, including over 500 kids in testing process with each app.
Early in our product development we focus more on in-person testing, where we give little to no instruction to observe the natural interaction of a child with our app – observing where they are delighted and noting where they are frustrated so we can improve upon that aspect of the app. That day, the entire team will have a sense of what is and isn’t working and will begin building the next iteration to test within a few days time.
Once our product is in a state to be used independently (without us having to explain any major hurdles of getting set up), we recruit users to test the app remotely via TestFlight. We then provide frequent surveys and collect data from the analytics of our app to look at where users may be getting stuck and how our activities are performing in terms of adaptive leveling. We continue to refine our builds using this information.
Please share any quantitative, qualitative, and/or anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of your designs for children and/or of the impact your product has on its users.:
“LumiKids Beach is progressing nicely! My granddaughter chooses this program over others. She is able to activate and use independently now (26 months). She loves to build the sandcastles. She is now understanding the sharing activities and enjoys coloring the fish. She keeps shying away from the turtle activity. Not sure as she enjoys music but seems very disinterested in demonstrations of this activity. We love seeing the objects like seagulls do things. Would like a more interaction like this.”
“This app has really helped my 19 month old daughter with her colors, shapes, and motor skills.”
“Hello LumiKids Park creators, my name is Nicole. I wanted to inform you that my daughter, Riley, loves LumiKids Park! She tells me that your app is, "The best game ever!" Thank you very much for creating a helpful learning game for children around the world.”
Web address of any files and materials supporting your answers to the category questions.: