After 2 years of researching and co-designing alongside children, my team at Viacom has finally launched the Nick app for iPad. It is by far the the most complicated project I’ve ever worked on and definitely the most ‘high profile’. The business goal was to launch the first TV Everywhere application on iOS for Nickelodeon but Viacom executives were open enough to let us push the envelope and deliver something greater. In addition to allowing users to watch Nickelodeons full episode content it offers original short short-form video, games (both apps and free to play HTML 5), image galleries, social snippets, surprising interactive animations, and personalization features.
During the research phase we continually worked with kids to better understand the content offering they were seeking when using an iDevice in addition to taking into account the context in which they are used. One of the major discoveries was the way in which kids today experience entertainment; through discovery and exploration or on-demand content. As a result the iPads interface features a omnidirectional grid that encourages exploration and a more directed area where they can select from the newest episodes or games. We also learned that children prefer to use idevices for short moments and not necessarily for extended periods of time.
The product presented us with many challenges including how to communicate the value proposition of authenticating to a child, the difference between a download to own game and an HTML 5 game, as well as how to include fun, playful elements into a predominately video focused application. Some of the trickier tasks were maximizing the screen and completely removing standard ever present navigation and instead relying on gestures and invoking menus when needed. The application available as of today is only the first step in a larger plan to be where kids are (mobile phones, tablets, websites, and other emerging platforms) and shows a significant shift in the traditional big media model of promoting the on-air experience.