Amazon and our fine furry friends at Sesame Street approached RAIN to help launch Alexa for Kids, an entirely new way for children to interact with technology using voice. Instead of barking orders to your “assistant” (“Alexa! weather!! NOW!!!”), Alexa for Kids reinforces polite interactions so we don’t raise a generation of entitled jerks. Srsly.
Working directly with early childhood professionals, our Skill balanced critical variables like repetition, grammar and language to ensure age-appropriate interactions. Within the experience, kids spoke directly to Elmo and the gang where they chose from a series of games, quizzes and activities. They were informed. They were entertained. That’s right. They were infotained. Take that, kids.
Kids love Alexa. We found that kids anthropomorphize voice technology. Instead of simply seeing Elmo as a canned voice, they often asked if he was hungry,
what his favorite color is, and lots of questions about poop. Lots. Building from this insight, we’ve since updated the experience to better facilitate freeform play and improvisational interactions.
Whereas “screen time” breeds isolation, voice makes tech communal, inviting participation from the whole family. These facts have profound implications when designing for kids.
Amazon Alexa Blogs
For nearly 50 years, Sesame Street has brightened the world and brought critical early learning to children of all ages. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has a mission: to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder...
RAIN is a digital consultancy with offices in New York, Utah and Nicaragua and was one of the earliest developers on the Alexa platform. Greg Hedges is RAIN’s Vice President of Emerging Experiences and has spent 12 years focused on what he calls audience engagement ecosystems. One of those ecosystems where RAIN has considerable experience is Amazon Alexa.