Why a kids experience?
When asking ourselves “Why even create a kids experience?” We looked to data and research to help drive some of our decisions.
■ 35% of streaming came from kids titles
■ Competitive analysis proved that companies like Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network created immersive kids experiences as cornerstones for their networks
■ Parent advocacy groups called for safer and controlled streaming experiences
Adults vs. Kids
When working on the Kids experience for any of the platforms we often came to a crossroads. On the one hand, there was plenty we already knew about how adults used each of our different platforms. On the other hand, designing for children presented its own unique sets of use cases and challenges. Below are examples of each instance.
The web experience was the most fleshed out version of the four different platforms, so we continued to build on what we had as opposed to borrowing from the adult experience. It was also the most versatile for testing in that we could push releases without waiting on third party vendors. For that reason, we tested some of our more ambitious ideas, like adding a mascot and introducing auto play, on this platform. It was the perfect testing ground for us to fail fast and iterate for success.
For the kids phone design, the team took into consideration the different use cases in which kids would interact with Netflix on the phone. We decided to approach the UX from the context of a harried mom in a supermarket with a screaming child. Thus, the design called for large tappable images, familiar characters, and the ability to continue watching- allowing parents to access content as fast as possible in order to appease a child.
The iPad experience that I started to pull together towards the end of my time at Netflix was the platform that most closely mirrored the adult experience. Fortunately we were able to abide by many of the tenets that we developed for the kids experience and the design language translated over remarkably well.
The TV experience had the most constraints. From developing for different devices to limited directional navigation. We worked off of the original adult experience and added elements unique to the kids experience, such as the character row. In later iterations we introduced design elements that were more unique and tailored to the kids experience.
While some features that we developed over the course of the holistic project were very successful, like the character row, the walled garden profile and the introduction of Netflix Kids Originals, many of the designs were left on the cutting room floor. A few factors came into play.
■ Data indicated that certain kids experience didn’t increase streaming of kids titles over time.
■ Personalized content proved to drive engagement more than anything.
■ Presenting kids content on the adult experience, as long as it was a parent controlled environment with kid-friendly shows, could achieve similar results.
Despite what the data showed, the team still felt that the idea of creating a kids experience for Netflix was still viable for several reasons. The available data didn’t account for factors such as parents regulating screen time. And more so, designing for kids isn’t as cut and dry as it is for adults and a balance of data driven decisions, design intuition and considerations for child behavior is the best formula for success. With that in mind, we developed the Netflix Kids Design Tenets over the course of the project.
Netflix Kids Design Tenets
■ “A Netflix for me”- Design an experience that a kid can call his/her own
■ The right experience for the right age
■ Design for delight
■ Cinematic- Bring the cinematic design language of Netflix into Kids