One of the main objectives of being in London for Woogie was meeting English speaking children and get a better understanding of the UK families. This short story is about taking Woogie outside of the StartupBootcamp IoT Connected Devices Lab to meet the real English world. This is what happens when aliens leave the building.
Startup life makes us go to sleep no earlier than 1 AM, and in that morning the alarm clock got us up at 6 AM. It was a Monday morning and we arrived earlier than expected.
Woogie was visiting a school in the South - East of London, where he got invited by the awesome teacher Dorothy Hickey, a friend of the nicest female mentor Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino.
We were preparing 2 weeks in advance the plan, the children's kit, the 3D models, the everything for the first user interview workshop. Everything was set, but I was so nervous that I could barely take that 5 hours sleep. I was literally afraid of children, their questions & reactions. I was seriously doubting my facilitation skills and my confidence of speaking in English. As a parent, Bogdan was far more relaxed than me, so we managed to get the right ways and trains that took us to The Elmgreen School with 30 minutes in advance.
This gave us the chance to see how a community college receives their students each morning. With discipline - asking them to get jackets off so they enter school in their uniforms; with teachers that give them a respectful good morning and a big smile with confidence that they're in the right place in order to conquer the world. “We look after ourselves, our school, our community and each other” was written at the entrance’s walls. This school has strong roots in the community as it was a parents' collective effort to contribute to the creation of this school.
"IT'S A FRIEND! AND ASKS YOU QUESTIONS!"
Woogie's class accommodated 5 students aged 11-12. They knew nothing about Woogie and very little about us. Dorothy introduced us as "designers" which reminded me of my purpose there and gave me instant confidence that I do want the children's opinions: tough feedback, kid's cruel honesty - I'm ready for you all.
"I like the idea of having an alien in my room. not many people can say that!"
Our session was about Woogie's product design and had 3 clear goals:
- the design choice on the first impression
- how intuitive the product design was
- insights on the story behind Woogie
The session gave us so much more than this, which made us feel grateful and confident that Woogie is on the right track. Next steps for us is to continue interviewing the group at The Elmgreen School and give each kid a Woogie for 2 weeks to test it at home.
Here are some findings from the user interview session:
- children think that Woogie should first play music, audiobooks and know about artists; then tell stories, jokes and play games; but of course help as well with homework or school related things that they find it difficult
- children think Woogie should know how to answer the most difficult math question, play as well as a light, and tell time, calendar and have a funny alarm clock
- children think Woogie should be fun, but not distracting, have a stop button or a vocal possibility to turn it off
Some things that we missed and we should consider next time:
- an equal number of boys and girls in the group
- music during the creative parts of the session
- record audio the entire session
"I think is a kind of Siri with personality."
This quote just made our day and gave us confidence that we're on the right track!