Testing our new app ‘Fonemi’ in local preschools!
We are currently working on an educational app for toddlers in their last year of preschool: Fonemi is a fun tool that trains preschoolers’ phonemic awareness, helping them learn how to read and write in primary school. Our job is to make sure that toddlers can use this tool independently, at their own level.
As we all know, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That’s why we decided to test our app in several different kindergartens before the official launch!
What is Fonemi?
Fonemi is an educational app that helps preschoolers develop their sense of phonemic awareness. By means of playful exercises, they practice the isolation, analysis, manipulation and combination of phonemes. The goal? To ensure all children in Flanders are optimally prepared for their first year in primary school.
The main advantages of the new app
At the moment, the best way for most preschool teachers to practice phonemes is by doing this on paper with their pupils. This is an immensely time-consuming activity, even without the added challenges of there simply not being enough time to take each individual child’s different level of comprehension into account. This is particularly problematic in schools were not all toddlers speak Dutch as their first language.
So what’s the solution? A digital tool with an intuitive and adaptive user interface, developed by the team at Bits of Love.
Thanks to this user-friendly app, toddlers no longer require instructions from their teachers, as the interface speaks for itself, but that’s not the only advantage.
The app also adapts to the level of each individual child. Children who need some extra practice will be given additional exercises, and toddlers with a more advanced understanding will automatically jump up to an exercise that is more complex.
In the near future, the goal is that Fonemi won’t only be used in schools, but also at home and during sessions with speech therapists. Being able to use the app independently is therefore a crucial requirement for a great learning experience.
Testing the app in local preschools
We tested the app thoroughly in different nurseries around Flanders. This week, Jessica Kellner (Managing Partner at Bits of Love) visited a local preschool to test the app herself. She wanted to see if toddlers were capable of using the app independently, or if they needed more guidance.
Her conclusion? The children really liked it, but it was a challenge to keep them focused for longer periods of time because of their short attention spans. The team has already taken this into account during the initial development phase for the app, but will now further adapt the interface design.
Thanks to our experience with designing user interfaces for children, we’re familiar with some of the most effective ways of doing this effectively. UI for children is fundamentally different than UI for adults. For example: you can’t use the same symbols, because toddlers aren’t familiar with all of the icons that seem self-evident to adults.
Why is testing so important?
At Bits of Love, we always test our prototypes with our target audiences. That way, we can check if the app or tool is effective in real-life environments. It’s during these testing moments that we detect where improvements need to be made. For us, real world testing is the only way to develop the best tools for our clients!