We worked with the BBC to explore the potential of an app that puts kids in charge of their digital world. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tested a later version of the app on live TV.
Designing an app that supports children’s wellbeing online
How can we support the mental health of children online?
In 2017, the BBC launched Own It, a website full of fun and empowering tips, insight, stories and advice to help 8-12-year-olds get the most out of their time online.
As one of the BBC’s roster agencies, we were invited to explore the potential of an app based on the premise of Own It – one that encourages kids to check into how they’re interacting online and ultimately take charge of their digital world.
We started with three design sprints, each one tailored to tackle a specific challenge.
Sprint one aimed to answer the question ‘How might we create an app that supports children’s emotional wellbeing online and helps them develop key skills to build resilience?’. Through a set of exercises designed to unpack the question, identify key challenges and generate ideas, we started to form an app based on self-reporting and self-reflection, all through fun and intuitive interactions.
Sprint two was aimed at exploring the look and feel of the app further.
Regular user testing sessions with our target age group of 8-12-year olds helped us gain valuable insights and evolve the design. Off the back of this, we put together a detailed document that outlined how the design had been considered from an accessibility point of view, and what actions had been taken to make the app usable for as many people as possible. The idea is that this document can be used by any future partners working on developing the app further.
We applied the BBC ‘Own It’ brand across key screens, developing a style guide full of components that could be used to create future screens when needed. To accompany this, we also created a style guide document that outlined the core principles of applying the brand to an app.
In the final design sprint, we created a high-fidelity prototype that looked and felt like a real app. Showcasing the fun features we’d designed, the prototype aimed to show off the full potential and was used to demonstrate our ideas to key senior stakeholders who would give the project the go ahead.
It asks simple questions and poses challenges aimed at making user think about how they are feeling and why, and whether it might be related to their online behaviour.
The app also monitors what schoolchildren type in messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat and prompt them with warnings if they are about to send personal information or comments that could be deemed hateful.