The Kids Want Mobile 2017 – Conference Summary

It was a great pleasure to speak at The Kids Want Mobile this week. As always it was an insightful conference full of big names in the kids mobile gaming world. I sat on a panel alongside, Morwenna Ellis, (Fundamentally Children – Modertor), Maurice Wheeler (The Little Big Partnership), Lind Kruse (The Good Evil) and Robby Yung (Animo Brands) titled: “Child development, marketing apps and user play testing” – a pretty hefty range of topics for a half hour slot! However, hopefully we communicated how important it is to take account of child development and in fact the child and parent perspective in general throughout development through involving audience experts (like myself) or user testing, as well as some key tips on marketing children’s apps.

Here are some of the highlights of the day for me:

  • Seeing this year’s stats on the mobile device/app usage by children in Germany presented by Verena Pausder, Fox & Sheep. Some interesting trends, not least the growth of Android.
  • Jason Krogh sharing Sago Mini‘s experiences as they diversified into toys and all the many challenges along the way. Fascinating, and I will watch with interest to see how their toys fair around the world and how their new owner Spin Master steers their future.
  • Don Meadows reminding us that we don’t know what we’re doing but yet have probably done it all before! With great insights into LEGO‘s approach to creating fabulous digital games.
  • Raul’s talk is always a reliable TKWM highlight! Raul A. Gutierrez from Tinybop did not disappoint this year. It was great to hear him talk more about the story behind their wonderful and growing range of educational apps. Both their ‘Digital Toy’ range (encouraging children to tell stories about what they’ve created) and their Explorer’s range (encouraging children’s curiosity and questioning) are such amazing tools for children. It’s wonderful to see some of them in Google Play as well as iOS and I will watch their journey towards web based apps / subscription services with interest.
  • The tool Explain Everything was introduced by Bartosz Gonczarek & Piotr Sliwinski making me immediately want to get my hands on it and have a go! It looks like an invaluable tool for schools and creative, visual thinkers alike. Teachers take note…
  • Growth in Android was a hot topic this year and Per Haglund‘s (App Family AB) practical advice was invaluable whether you are choosing the right keywords or selecting the perfect icon (don’t forget the unicorn effect!).
  • Being on our fabulous panel and getting the opportunity to meet and share insights with my fellow panellists!
  • Attending two of the workshops. I chose Megan Shellenbarger‘s LEGO workshop – a great opportunity reminisce about the games of our youth and practice our creative skills, and Valérie Touze‘s workshop on ‘The challenges of publishing global educational apps for children’ which was illuminating. The emergence of brands trialling subscription models for apps was clear, and one I have been anticipating, it will be interesting to see how this works for Edoki Academy.
  • The highlight of Anders Rauff-Nielsen‘s (Funday Factory) talk just has to be watching him and a colleague trying the Bounden dance app on stage – such fun, next year maybe it should be compulsory at the pre and post parties!
  • Timo Dries‘s (Fox & Sheep) closing keynote was as fascinating as it was last year. Particularly for me as a UX specialist, it was a great discussion of the fine balance I’m so familiar with between informing parents and ensuring they feel comfortable that a game is purposeful whilst allowing children the chance for the open-ended exploration.

Well, and of course the ice-cream and cookies mid-afternoon snack, that was definitely a highlight!

Photo Credit (for any not taken by me) to The Kids Want Mobile photographer – thanks for sharing.


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