CREATIVE & Product
Creative director of the NickWatch project, Nickelodeon’s first smartwatch for kids.
NickWatch was created by WatchinU, a JV between ‘Beta - Paramount Backed Incubator’ and Trackimo.
For the branding & marketing design for the project, see the NickWatch Branding page.
Designing the NickWatch, Nickelodeon’s smartwatch for kids aged 5-9, both as a platform and as a play device.
Our target was to aid parents in nurturing independence and responsibility, while inspiring creativity in children.
Inspired by physical games and child role-play experiences, we created the NickWatch not just as a communication device but as a play device based on motion, haptics and sound design, with visuals as a secondary output.
In a joint design effort with Paramount and Teague, our design consultant firm, we’ve completed a user research that helped establish the ground rules for our design philosophy.
We ideated together on methods of implementation and possible play patterns that will promote different types of play while encouraging user retention.
It’s Not a Screen, it’s a Stick!
The main pillar of our design ideation was treating the device not like another screen but as an object that can be acted upon and can assist in play.
We’ve developed not only games for the watch, but open-ended play experiences in which the watch uses sounds, colors and haptics to help the kids imagine it is something else - from a guitar to a magic wand. It’s not another screen, it’s an open-ended object, much like how a stick can become a sword with an imaginative mindset.
SpongeBob as a Colleague
Working with some of the best brands in the world, our team had a chance to design games that expanded on the amazing content worlds of Spongebob, TMNT, the Loud House and more.
Managing this kind of work presents unique challenges - how much can the brand flex, and where is it rigid? More an art than a science, we really got a chance to push the envelope with the amazing team from Nickelodeon.
Smartwatch navigation is clanky and uncomfortable. Part of our design research and effort went into reconfiguring the menu navigation for smartwatches.
We’ve incorporated the round dial to match the device shape and make the navigation more playful, and solved unique UX issues with playful solutions like the icon “pancake stack” for menus with too many items.
We’ve conducted over 20 playtests with kids in the relevant age groups to measure their responses to the device and how they interacted with it.
When creating a new sort of play experience, the only way to know if it works is to play with it until it becomes intuitive not only to you but to a 6 years old.
Part of our design mission was to streamline the parent app. With the initial foundations set up by our design partner, Teague, we’ve created the “Family Ring” that enables safe, close-quarters communication between trusted members and parent device management.