How Carpet Testing Increased Our Educational Apps Downloads By 19%

How We Improved Our Educational Apps  

Coming from a traditional teachers’ background you tend to guide, demonstrate, question, and some kids might say “interrogate”! But teachers also know that the best way of teaching most often is to simply listen and observe. Kids are curious creatures and if you listen hard enough, they will tell you what they need to learn most.

So… after many hours of sitting on my hands (remember no showing them how!), the carpet dwellers, clustered around scattered tablets, gave me some expert tips on how to improve my educational apps.

Here is what they said:

  1. I live way faster than you – my heart even beats twice as fast as yours! Make your animations super-fast or else they are boring!
  2. Give me control! If I can't choose what to play it is not playing.
  3. Absolutely give me loads of feedback when I accomplish something.
  4. I care! Show me the bigger picture. I want to know where I am in the game.
  5. Do tell me how to fix things if I got something wrong, otherwise I will lose interest.
  6. I am an expert at playing and I will notice even the tiniest bug. Fix it or I will move on. (See point 1!)

The following changes seem miniscule, but it makes a big difference in our conversion rate. Most important of all, our retention rate is that much higher, which means that more kids are learning and that is a HUGE win for all of us!

You will notWeMadeTransitionsFaster believe what made the difference:

1) We made transitions faster.
Whether they flipped cards, flashed words, flew bugs, exploded stuff – kids needed to do it FAST! We asked our coders to double the speed of e-ve-ry-thing.

WeKeepGrownUpStuffSeperate

2) We kept the teacher/parent stuff separate.
Grown-ups will remember the hours spent around the kitchen table with the weekly 10 spelling words that had to be memorized, digested, and used in sentences. And they remember Moms increasing level of distressed as it got closer to FRIDAY SPELLING TEST. With our app words can be added, so that kids can play with their words instead of repeating history. Moms and teachers enjoy this feature, but kids DO NOT want to click an icon and see a form instead of a game. So we kept this icon in a separate color.

WeGiveStellarFeedback

3) We added more responses for correct answers.
Sparkles for little ones and cool sounds for the big kids.

4) We make a point of showing the game map (progress) and a single spot to see all the scores.
You'll be surprised at the big smiles a score board elicits.

editorial.4

5) We offered feedback.
Ok, so, as teachers we thought that kids did not want to be reminded when they made a mistake in a diagnostic test, but they insisted in knowing what they spelled incorrectly and how to fix it; even if the game took a little longer. I was really surprised to learn this after (little sigh) 15 year is education…

6) We had to be incredibly polished.
Kids would often say this needs to move here or change that. My favorite: A kid uttered “This firebug flies wonky, there's something wrong with him” and then promptly handed me my fancy professional tablet with a look on his face that clearly resembled disappointment or possible something foul smelling.

To learn how to market our educational apps for kids, we have to ask the hard questions. I love carpet testing and will keep doing it as long as I design apps.

Please let me know what testing your product taught you, or let me know if there is something we can help follow developers with. Because if you are not having fun, you are not learning!

You can reach Charine on Facebook or Twitter.

Close