Youtube Kids App DesignYoutube Parents Community and Youtube Kids
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Timeline

2 Week Sprint

Role

1 of 3 UX Designers

CONTRIBUTION

Research, Design, Prototyping, Usability Testing

TOOLS

Figma, Zoom, Slack, Miro, Whimsical, Trello, Procreate

Figma Prototype
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Youtube Cartoon Image from Google LLC

"The YouTube Kids app has popular children's videos and diverse new content, delivered in a way that's easy to use for children. You can decide what YouTube experience is best for your family." -Google LLC

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overview

The Youtube Kids app is made for children and it exists separately from the main Youtube app.

In collaboration with two other team members, we explored several avenues to enhance the YTK app's experience for both parents and children. We interviewed adults and kids, researched competition, and came across an absurd amount of vulgar Peppa Pig content.
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Problem

Users are reluctant to allow their children to use the main YouTube app due to concerns about inappropriate content, yet children express a desire to access a wider range of approved content.

What if a child wanted to watch videos that aren't available on their app? A video a woman feeding pigeons or ancient Egyptian mummies seems appropriate but are not deemed suitable for children. Should an adult let kids use their personal YouTube accounts to find this content...? Only to clutter their personal algorithm with kids content? Or worse, the child may stumble upon a seemingly innocent cartoon that's actually voiced over with foul language - a parent's nightmare!
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SOLUTION

We merged Youtube Kids with Youtube, to allow for content curated that introduces a users to a global community of parents

1. Combining the Youtube Kids app with main Youtube app to allow streamlined access for both parties

2 . Create a "community of parents" to get adults involved in discovering new trends and have a new way to explore video content

3. Easily accessible parental controls with the ability to block channels, accounts, and content

4. The ability to choose videos and playlists from Youtube to send to their kids' YTK accounts and let parents decide what is suitable for their children
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The new features at a glance

1. Create a Youtube Kids profile within the main Youtube app

Creating a YouTube profile for your child simplifies content management for parents, facilitating easy oversight of their children's online activities.
Create a profile

2. A way for parents to get engaged in their kids' content

Parents can effortlessly browse through a curated selection of content approved by fellow parents for children. Additionally, they have the power to manage and customize the videos that their children can access.
Blocking content and Parental Controls

3. Send playlists and videos straight to your child's profile

Each child is unique, and parents can leverage YouTube's vast library to discover precisely what their kids desire to watch.
Adding approved content
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Interviews

Insights from real parents about streaming behavior and frustrations about videos and content

2 star speech bubble
"We've tried using YT Kids but it didn't have content that my son wanted to watch."
Parents often resort to using the regular Youtube app to find videos to keep their kids happy.

"There's content I think should be available on Youtube Kids but aren't because it wasn’t specifically made for kids."
Parents are open to their children watching other content that they deem suitable but won't find on YT Kids.
"I'm a busy parent and I  don't have time to stand over their shoulders."
Parents can't always be there to monitor kids and assure they're only watching appropriate content.

"It's a lot of work to find new stuff for my daughter to watch."
It's difficult to keep up with video trends to find suitable content that their kids will enjoy.
3 star speech bubble
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Personas

2 types of parents that represent our target audience

Gemma — "The Busy Parent"

Left feeling helpless and embarrassed about being unable to keep a close eye on her child, this parent seeks an app that will only provide suitable content to entertain her son.
persona for youtube kids named Gemmaline break divider
Eric — "The Stay at Home Parent"

This parent faces difficulty in keeping up with the latest video trends for children and frequently resorts to using his personal Youtube account to find suitable content for his daughter.
persona for youtube kids named eric
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prospective journey maps

An enjoyable experience comes with the ability to send videos from Youtube to Kids and manage accounts

Gemma — Creating playlists to send to her child

Thanks to the option of handpicking YouTube content and crafting customized playlists for her child, a busy parent can now trust that her son is viewing appropriate content and feel comfortable stepping away.

journey map for gemma youtube kidsline break divider
Eric — Managing and exploring new content

With the power to block undesired channels and explore trendy videos endorsed by other parents in the community, this parent now has greater command over the content that his daughter watches.

journey map for eric youtube kids
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comp analysis

Insights from streaming competitors and managing content

Other platforms allow for parents to control content.

These platforms have simple, easy-to-use user interfaces with large touch points that are suitable for young children. We also found that movies and TV shows are rated based on official TV guide rating standards.
Disney+, Netflix, PBS Kids, Apple TVline break divider
Apps outside the video streaming space allow users to block unwanted content.

Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer users the ability to control their feeds through options presented in meatball menus, such as the ability to block posts.
Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
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180P to 360P to 1080P

Keeping the Youtube UI in place to avoid confusion

1. Sketch sessions with the team to quickly draw ideas
2. Wireframes to set the framework
3. Hi-Fidelity to improve user testing
Sketch, wireframe, Hi Fidelity Mock up
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usability testing

Suprisingly, our users were unable to understand Youtube's current UI during usability testing. Thus, we made some changes.

Changed Youtube's categories icon from a compass to a list for better comprehension
uncorrected screen of youtubecorrected screen of youtube kids
Changed 'Don't recommend channel' to 'Block this Channel' to be more direct
uncorrected youtube screencorrected youtube screen
Included it in the sidebar menu for easier access to managing parental controls
uncorrected youtube screencorrected youtube screen
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suprising news

In the midst of our project, Youtube independently announced some new changes that reflect our design decisions

We received an email from YouTube announcing an exciting update to the YouTube Kids experience. They have introduced several enhancements, including the addition of a toggle switch between kids and adult profiles, the ability to block parental channels, and a convenient feature allowing content to be shared from the YouTube app directly to a child's YouTube Kids account.

Seeing these similarities really validated our ideas even though we are not working directly for Youtube.
email from youtube about youtube kids changesyoutube kids user guide about customizing youtube kids expereinceyoutube kids guide about sharing content
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Conclusion + Finals Thoughts

As a team, we discovered problems with a widely used platform, created solutions, and were rewarded with validation from new implements by Youtube.



This was my first group project and here are a few things I would do differently next time:
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1. Encourage my team to sketch out as many ideas as possible despite restraints.
We scheduled some time to sketch and brainstorm, but I noticed we were restricting ourselves to the current YouTube UI, which prevented us from exploring new possibilities. In the future, I plan to do a more thorough evaluation of the current platform to identify areas for improvement. This showed us that even successful platforms can still be improved.

2. Focus on simpler user task flows.
Our task flows were too long and it made it difficult for our users during testing. To avoid this in the future, I want to create several shorter and simpler task flows instead of one big flow. This will help us better convey our design ideas. Going forward, I'll aim to simplify not only the user experience but also remember to diversify my approach.
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***bonus design***