Designing for Kids – Panel at ustwoThinks

Panel Designing for Kids ustwoTHINKS

On December 7th I was invited to ustwo Nordic’s studio in Malmö for an ustwoTHINKS session named “Designing for Kids”. A summary and video has now been posted and I really recommend viewing it if this is a topic that interests you, as there was some pretty awesome sharing going around with smart people sharing different perspectives of their design practise.

The panel was moderated by Marit Kile Hartshorn (ustwo) and in it Emma Nordung(ustwo), Daniel Spikol (Malmö University), Jais Holm Christensen (LEGO) and me representing Toca Boca. It was a pure pleasure and really lovely to be in such great company and as soon as we started prepping for the panel the discussions and sharing started to flow. We really had to stop ourselves not to talk to much before actual panel.

The video starts with all of the panelists presenting themselves and a project they worked with recently for about 5 minutes. Mine starts at about 3:20. The discussions then go on for 1,5 hours and finishes with 30 minutes of great audience questions.

Read the full summary at: ustwo THINKS: Designing for kids 

Brutal honesty is also one of the challenges, and perks, when working with children. They will discard your app if something looks strange or if there’s something that disrupts the play environment, quickly changing to another app or even just pushing the test device away. Understand what want to test before you start and play together with them, understand what’s happening and try to follow their train of thought.


Allowing for kids to try do things that aren’t expected and testing the boundaries of the app will cater to their natural curiosity. They will want to do “bad things” like playing with poo and do things that doesn’t necessarily make any sense for adults. They will challenge social norms and we should try to create worlds that aren’t controlled so it’s possible to do just that. As adults we might be uncomfortable with changing rules and things are supposed to be in a certain way, kids won’t have those same restrictions.


Apps are new to society, they’re new to us, to kids and to parents all alike. Together we have to make sure that we’re nurturing a behaviour that makes our kids thrive. What kind of apps we want our kids to spend time with and which values we want to pass on to them.

I’m really happy about the panel, the shared learnings, great engaged feedback from the audience and wonderful hosting by usttwo. 10/10 would do again.

Also finally the toilets at ustwo were amazing, inviting the user to draw on the walls (because adults also need to play).

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AMAZING toilets at ustwo in Malmö.

A post shared by Petter Karlsson (@petterkarlsson) on

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