When designing digital experiences, we attempt to learn as much about the users as possible. What type of smart devices do they own? What social media applications do they share in? How comfortable are they with technology?
We don’t often discuss that digital experiences designed for an adult would be understandable and usable by a toddler. But we need to start. We’ve seen a rise in recent years of applications introducing children to coding and behavior pattern design. The recent announcement of Fisher-Price’s Code-a-Pillar is a great example of what today’s children are playing with to prepare for tomorrow’s technology-driven world.
What makes me excited about toys like the Code-a-Pillar are the conversations adults will have with children about technology. Toys and games just don’t have to be opened and consumed. They can be manipulated, customized, broken and rebuilt. Younger audiences are introduced to these concepts, and it’s up to us to understand how they interact and push back with these tools and concepts.
At this point on the Internet of Things (IoT) continuum, designers are processing a lot of questions. What can we learn from this? How could we teach similar concepts to different demographics? How will this exposure to “writing code” and customizing digital experiences evolve as IoT and this generation grow in parallel?
Having the ability to customize and create a digital experience isn’t a barrier anymore. These educational toys will encourage children to explore and push the limits of what is offered to them. We have the responsibility to make sure we don’t just design for the current mature market. We should learn from the output of the “Code-a-Pillar” as much as the children are.