When Heroo Mobile reached out to us to ask us to design for them a mobile app for kids taking their first steps in the world of technology, we knew we had to do it. It was a big challenge as we were to design 2 apps (one for parents and one for children) in only 2 months. But let’s start from the beginning…
Case study Heroo Mobile
About our client
Heroo Mobile is the first mobile network for children. Their values are ensuring children’s security while giving them privacy. Heroo aims at protecting children from addiction to technology. They care about children’s safety by blocking +18 content at the level of the mobile network, ensuring there’s no way to disable blocking. They also allow to block specific incoming and outgoing calls, as well as offer GPS and network base station-based child location.
All in all, Heroo Mobile has a mission and we’ve loved it since our very first call.
It’s hard to talk about a single challenge with the Heroo project,
so here goes:
The Heroo app for children had to be interesting for children to reach for it and use it regularly.
At the same time, it shouldn’t be too engaging so that children don’t get addicted to it. Finding the right balance was our biggest challenge.
No crystalized idea. We received a vision of the project but we had to decide on the direction of design and create a development plan.
Technology limitations. It turned out the most recent versions of iOS and Android made it impossible to develop many of the functionalities we initially agreed upon.
We worked in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic so we didn’t have a slightest chance to conduct research with our key users – children.
Time pressure. We had 5 months to design and develop the apps.
We usually start each project with a workshop, after which we perform analyses. This time, we didn’t have time for that so we had to navigate several phone calls, brainstorming sessions, quick consultations with the Program Board and children psychologists. We couldn’t afford to waste a single minute.
To get to know the mechanics of children’s apps, we analyzed dozens of apps and games for children. We looked for inspiration in terms of distinguishing features and original mechanisms.
Our first month of work was summarized into a report presenting a product development strategy from a philosophy to specific mechanisms. We designed an award system, a system for setting and achieving goals, and educational mechanisms. At the same time, the Lune.xyz agency prepared 3D characters and virtual worlds, in which the application logic was set.
After the client accepted the direction of design, we started preparing mockups. We presented our vision on clickable mockups in Adobe XD. Thanks to our close cooperation with developers from itSilesia, we could quickly respond to their needs and adjust the project or explain how it should work.
The Heroo project was very close to our hearts. That’s why we’re happy to support it whenever we can. We support marketing campaigns and look for business opportunities. We had the pleasure to attend a press conference during which the Heroo mission was announced to the world. Our CEO, Sebastian Białas, took part in an expert panel during this amazing event.
How we worked:
SETTING BUSINESS GOALS AND PROJECT ASSUMPTIONS
Together with the client, we set business goals that the application was to support. We learned the client’s vision and analyzed its feasibility.
We started our work by researching current trends. We analyzed hundreds of websites with reports from studies on the use of smartphones by children and teenagers. We reviewed popular games and apps for children. We got inspiration from the philosophy of an app for adults focused on self-control, building habits, and wellbeing.
BRAINSTORMING AND CREATIVE SESSIONS
A well-prepared analysis helped us gather a lot of data and draw conclusions on how we wanted to build the app. We designed a vision for the Heroo world that focused on 5 areas: personal space, building healthy habits, education, social interaction and entertainment. These areas were placed into three imaginary worlds taking the child to a safe fantasy land. The child can set up their avatar and explore the worlds to develop different skills. Hirek is always there to care about the user’s comfort and sense of security, and assist the child along the way.
With a clear concept in place, we prepared a design strategy for Heroo Mobile. The first step was the MVP version which was to be completed in the next few months. The next stages assumed the creation of further versions of the app with new functionalities. The last stage was to design a solution that would involve a deep interference with smartphone software.
The last step was to create UX mockups. We created a set of designs for both the children’s and the parents’ app. Based on them, the lune.xyz agency developed the amazing graphic world of Heroo Mobile.
A Project Manager was involved in the design process so that he could keep in touch with the client.
His main responsibility was continuous and transparent communication.
The design team consisted of 3 people. Two researchers/designers were responsible for desk research and benchmarking. The app for children was designed by a UX designer, while the app for parents by our designer. Many other people with various skills and competences were also involved in the project.
We were supported by the so-called Program Board – a group of people working in the children development area. Thanks to that, we had a chance to consult our ideas with children’s psychologists and educators.
The Heroo Mobile apps were a great challenge. Designing for kids requires a completely different approach.
We had to assume that our users have no experience in technology. We took a lot of time to adapt the interface and the content to children being at different stages of cognitive development. We also had to keep in mind that we wanted to engage children but not make them addicted to the app.
The result is a children’s app presenting a few virtual worlds.
A child can create their own avatar with personalized features and characteristics.
We also created a 3D Heroo Mobile mascot Hirek, who guides kids through the world of technology and building healthy habits. Hirek encourages children to take up challenges, which can then be transformed into real-world activities.
App for parents
The app allows parents to take care of their children’s safety. It uses control based on trust and ensures respect for privacy. The aim is to strengthen bonds, keep parents up-to-date with their child’s achievements, and encourage them to support kids in the real world.
Did we succeed? Ask the kids :)
Check out the world of Heroo
Because we were working on the project during the pandemic, the Heroo Mobile apps were our first fully remote project. We learned a lot about how to communicate effectively without in-person meetings, as well as how to conduct remote workshops.
Even though we were pressed for time, the topic of children’s safety and development inspired a lot of creativity in us. We had to be disciplined and communicate with our client on a regular basis. We had a lot of calls to exchange ideas and we had to make quick decisions.
Thanks to the trust that the Board of Heroo Mobile put in us, we were able to get to know the business side of the project and engage in the future vision for the product. In our opinion, the key to success was prioritization and the ability to give and receive constructive feedback.
I recommend working with the Push Buttons team. It's a reliable Partner we can always count on when we need support in the field of User Experience.