Designing UNICEF Kid Power for Families

We aimed for the impossible; create an experience that would take the excess of calories in the West and send them where they’re truly needed.

The Big Idea

Kid Power for Families is “empowering kids to get active while helping kids around the world” with the Kid Power Band and companion iOS & Android apps. The Kid Power Band tracks physical activity and converts it into theraputic food packets (RUTF) which are sent to kids suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). UNICEF Kid Power has saved over 40,000 lives, and counting.

Designing the Core Experiences

Kid Power’s effectiveness can be measured in physical activity converted to RUTF packets. We knew that designing the ‘stickiest’ app possible wasn’t the answer for Kid Power. Every active moment outside the app is a #win. The sole goal is to get and keep kids active.

Kid Power Bands

With no suitable activity trackers on the market designed for kids, we knew we had to make our own. Ammunition (Beats by Dre.) stepped in and created a beautiful hardware experience that allowed Kid Power to come in at a very low price point of $39 USD, but also enabled us to supply “mission credits” with the purchase of each Band.

Kid Power App

We wanted app interactions to be social, quick and inspire more physical activity. We created “Missions” that correspond to real-world locations where RUTF would be sent. If you’re doing the Uganda with Meryl Davis Mission, the RUTF you unlock is actually sent to Uganda.

Postcard designs in Sketch

Testing Prototypes

We designed prototypes using Sketch and Figma, then built them with InVision and Prott in order to test iOS, Android and Apple Watch apps. We identified both power users and newcomers to participate in Interaction and A/B tests with, LookBack and frequent Guerrilla testing.

Sketching changed the Game

While acting as a small startup with limited resources, our agile team needed to be more nimble; to ideate, prototype and test features at an incredible pace. Sketch and Figma helped a lot, but we needed to design even faster. I began using sketches on an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and the Paper by 53 app to rapidly prototype new concepts, and it changed the game for us.

Administrator’s Dashboard

To enable our Support team to more easily help our users, I worked with the team to develop an Information Architecture and Business Requirements. Then, I designed a re-usable web-app framework that would let us scale the design, layout and responsiveness to other back-end admin dashboards. We ended up using the design twice more, for the UNICEF Kid Power Classroom Administrator’s Dashboard, and then the same program’s Teacher’s Dashboard to manage their students. The dashboard web-app was designed for fast use and extensibility. I worked within our developer environment to code the front-end prototype using HTML5, CSS3 and a little bit of jQuery.

The Team

The team building UNICEF Kid Power is an incredible bunch of brains. It’s been my pleasure to work with them over the years. Meet them on Twitter:

Some of my favorite Kid Power stories are on YouTube:

Media & Awards

Follow UNICEF Kid Power

Principal Product Designer @eHealth // Previously: @appirio @unicef @cxpartners

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