Final Project — Siemens Playground

Alexandre Mauro
8 min readAug 7, 2019

The week before we started the final project, Siemens came to Ironhack Berlin and gave us the challenge to design an app for iPad, which had to have two games for kids from four to eight years old. These games should help parents to explain to their children what Siemens is providing to society and how they are a part of it collaborating with their work. This app would be installed on iPads in Siemens Offices and it would be available to kids to play with them while their parents work.

Me and Gemma Benitez took the challenge. Our first task was to organize our Trello board for the next 2 weeks. We had exactly 12 days to deliver our project.


Our goal was to create two games focused on Siemens Mobility, so we started to study their portfolio and analyze their products. As a quick overview, we saw that they are making transport more efficient and developing new intelligent mobility solutions for rails and roads.

Images: Siemens

We then started to dig information about children and their characteristics. We read about Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, which classifies the difference from the behavior of children in age ranges. We also used two articles from the Nielsen Norman Group about UX for kids: “Design for Kids Based on Their Stage of Physical Development” and “Designing for Kids: Cognitive Considerations”. We found also an interview with Debra Levin Gelman, who wrote the book “Design for Kids: Digital Products for Playing and Learning”. All these articles helped us to understand the tasks our users would be able to complete physically and mentally.

We also took a look at companies that make games focused on these ages, for example, Toca Boca, Sago Mini, Tinybop and Lego. From them, we were able to visualize better what we were researching once they were following the same principles. It was also an opportunity to have the first “look and feel” of the games and see how they communicate with kids. Since we were working with city mobility, we also took a look at SimCity. We also went to an IKEA to study their play area for kids. They have a really simple digital puzzle where kids can assemble pieces of furniture.

Images: Toca Boca, Sago Mini, SimCity, and Lego/ Photo: IKEA Tempelhof, Berlin


Based on the researches, we discovered that the 4–8 years old range was too wide for the kids. According to Nielsen Norman Group, the ideal would be to differentiate them between one age range from 4–5 and a second one from 6–8. To visualize better their differences, we created two personas:


The next step was to do our affinity diagram and from it, we got to some conclusions:

  1. The game was supposed to have the minimum text as possible, as kids at this age can not read really fast or read at all. Also solving everything using only visual elements would make the game more dynamic.
  2. It would be also a “grab and play” game, it should be really simple to them to play alone and not create doubts about how to complete tasks.
  3. Since it was supposed to be installed on a shared iPad at the office and kids at this age can not properly write, it would be hard to create a login, therefore we decided that the game should not have levels but actually, have a non-ending path.
  4. According to our research, navigability is complicated to this age range, the best would be to have only back buttons that always takes the user to the last screen, no menus or breadcrumbs would be welcomed from them.
  5. It should, of course, be educational and fun.
Affinity diagram


After narrowing our discoveries, we started to ideate and draw some ideas. We thought about how to put together trains, distribution, connected cities, renewable energy in one game for kids. After discussing and mixing up our ideas we came up with two games: Smart City and Shared Car.

First roughs

Smart City game

This game was thought to the children between 6–8 years old. The user would be able to design a city to exercise his/her creativity and at the same time learn about how mobility works, so for example, if he/she puts a crossroads without a traffic light, the cars would start to get stuck and pedestrians wouldn’t be able to cross the street. According to our research, the game should give visual hints on how to solve these problems.

We did the first round of tests with grown-ups to see other people’s point of view and from that, we could already iterate some usability issues on the action menu sidebar, we had some hidden scrollable buttons that we rearranged on the top menu, making everything more visible. Before testing with kids, we also watched this video to gather some information about it. The video explains how to start talking with them and how to proceed with the tasks. The main thing is not to expect to get a lot of logical answers from them on why they took a decision or clicked on something, it’s more about watching how they interact with the prototype and take insights from their acts. After that, we went to 2 Kitas (german kinder garden) to test our paper prototype.

Testing at a Kita

We got some nice insights from the kids, for example, they could really well explain why do we need roads and traffic lights, we observed that they thought that some icons were misleading, and though they couldn’t understand pretty much why we were doing this game with them, they seemed to have fun creating their own city. We also felt that they missed a quick explanation of the goal of the game, that's why we wrote the tip "Make mobility safer, faster, more convenient — and fun", a phrase we got from Siemens, as a description of their work. We also showed them some other games that were similar to our idea to watch them play, and what we realized was that we should do a more hi-fi prototype for them to interact if we wanted more specific feedbacks.

We didn't have the chance to test this hi-fi prototype, but that's how it would look like:

Hi-fi prototype from the game for older children

Shared Car game

The second idea was a game for the 4–5 age range, which depending on what the user chooses and/or mixes, it would have a different result. This one was also supposed to talk about emotions, because, according to our research, children are starting to understand their own feelings and from other people around them.

We narrowed our story and decided that that game would happen inside a self-driving electric shared car. The children could pick the characters that would be riding together and depending on who is inside, they would have different behaviors. The kid could also play with the controllers of the car, so they could turn on and off the air conditionate or the radio for example, and the characters then would have different reactions to those actions.

For the second test, we jumped from the initials draw to the hi-fi prototype because we wanted to engage the kid to play more and interact more with our ideas. We used the Siemens colors from their brand guide to create all the figures, then we animated and created the interactions of our prototype on Principle application.

Time to test it with a 7-year-old child, this time at Siemens office. We took our prototype there and this time we just gave it to him to play. Even though we explained that it was not the finished game, he was a little confused and also disappointed because not all the CTAs were working, but then when he understood what he had to do he just played over and over again.

We tried to be creative and create characters with different skin colors, but for him that was misleading. For him the blue character was cold and the green one sick. He also thought that the heating button, that had a flame as an icon, was supposed to put fire on the car. He gave also some creative ideas like for example if the character is with the air-conditioned on for too long they should become snowmen, with this we thought that it would be nice to exercise the patient of the kid, so they would have to wait to see what happen after an interaction and discover more things.

Here is the before and the after the testing:

And here is the final video of the prototype:

Next steps

It would be also nice to do one more round of testing to validate the last iteration. Then would be nice to talk to developers to see what it's possible and define the MVP. Working on sound design would be mandatory for the first release.


It was a great opportunity to work on this project and get the chance to talk and test our prototypes with kids, it was the first time I worked on a project that had this age range as a focus. For me was also nice to use my hobby as an illustrator to create a game. Working with Gemma was a great pleasure and we had super smooth communication, which helped us a lot to keep the pace and have good time management.




Alexandre Mauro

more than 5 years of experience working with UX/UI designing apps, features, and microsites, for smartphones, tablet, desktop, and smart TVs.