#EdTech: How we designed a new login system for kids

If you are a parent, teacher, or have any interaction with kids, you will definitely agree with the following:

Kids have an incredible power when it comes to remember difficult unnecessary things, and everything goes away when they need to remember easy important things.

Why?

When we launched the first version of our educational platform and we started to have kids using it, one of the first feedback was:

The kids love it but it can take up to 15 minutes for everyone to log in…

We actually thought we built something easy to use, the login page was only an username and a password, it was very easy for everyone… Except for the kids.

Once we realized we had to change it, we started to ask our users, both teachers and kids, what was the problem.

There was only one answer:

“They can’t remember their username or their password…”

And there was only one explanation:

“The only things kids remember easily are the one they have an emotional link with.”

The real problem was that kids were not able to imagine a username and a password to which they were emotionally linked.

Imagination needs to be triggered and framed, specially with kids.

What?

Our goal was to build a login system so kids could not write something as if they were one of their classmates, their progress and writings must be tracked individually.

We tried to find some inspirations from other authentication systems, old and new that could help us to improve the system.

The Pincode

Everyone knows what a pincode is, only 4 digits to access your phone’s network.

Advantages :

  • Easy to remember because it’s a fixed length and you can only use numbers

Drawbacks:

  • Easy to find, often birth year and kids in the same class were born the same year…

Android shape lockscreen

You’ve probably seen one of your friends unlocking his phone by drawing a complex pattern on the screen, it’s one of the latest Android lockscreen feature.

Advantages:

  • Graphic-based password
  • Very personnal / Easy to remember
  • Hard to find
  • Fast

Drawbacks:

  • Not adapted for computers
  • Works well only with tech savvy people

Windows 8 picture password

If you’re running Windows 8, you can now unlock your computer by drawing shapes (circle, lines and dots) on a picture with your mouse/finger.

Advantages:

  • Very easy to use and to remember (my grandma use it, no kidding)
  • Emotionnal link is very strong with the picture

Drawbacks:

  • Set up needs too much time and requires a picture for each kid
  • Hard to make it work flawlessly across every devices/screens

Our solution

With all this inspirations we extracted some knowledge:

  • Short/fixed length passwords are easier to remember
  • Less “symbols” are also easier (only numbers for example)
  • Images, shapes and colors allows people to be emotionnally/subconsciously linked to their password.
We took all this knowledge, put it into our magic shaker, and our new login system was born!

Here is the first draft of it:

The password is made of only four symbols that are small images with a background color. You can choose between 8 different symbols and combine them as you wish!

How?

As you can imagine, we can’t simply replace the old password system with the new one because it’s too easy to find for any hacker, there are less than 1000 possibilities.

Our goal was to create a new password system that is easier to remember and hard enough for other kids to find. And we did it!

It’s not secured enough to be exposed publicly, so we decided to incorporate the kid login inside the teacher’s session, which is a secured session.

Once we decided to authenticate the kid inside the teacher session, we were able to display the teachers groups, the kid’s name so the new login system was really simpler for kids:

Tadaaaaa! *Magic happend*

What you read was the story of one of our best contribution in EdTech, don’t hesitate to share it so other people and startups can take inspiration from it ;)

Of course this new login system has its own strenghts and weaknesses, we are currently working on a whole new version of it, we’ll write an article about it soon so be sure to follow us on Medium, Facebook or Twitter !❤


Hi, I’m Nicolas, CTO and co-founder of Peetch and author of this article! I’m a web developer, entrepreneur and a child of Internet… You can learn more about me on Twitter ;)
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