Kids Discover
Kids Discover

changing the face of education

In two decades, Kids Discover became well known for providing high-quality non-fiction content for children in grades 3-8. With more than 200 magazine titles, each with 20 pages, Kids Discover was a treasure trove of iconic photographs, original illustrations, timelines and kid-friendly facts on hundreds of science and social studies topics. That’s an incredible trove to work with.
Services
  • event marketing
  • brand experience
  • illustration
Teacher in a classroom
what was the broken reality with Kids Discover?

In a word, magazines. None of the content was digital — it was all print. Kids Discover saw that the way to expand reach was through online subscriptions and content syndication. For obvious reasons, the current format was not going to support these growth opportunities. Kids Discover needed a partner to do a heavy lift — take all this offline content, organize it, architect both front- and back-end platforms and design user-friendly interfaces and then build it to support new business models in a scalable way. Easy peasy.

Not really. But we love a good challenge.
Teacher in a classroom
Research
okay, so how did andculture tackle the problem?
Research

To dig into the education space, we held two teacher roundtable discussions, attended industry-related conferences, interviewed educational consultants and surveyed teachers across the country. We focus this qualitative and quantitative research on current and future states of education, access to technology in the modern classroom and other educational trends.

Once business needs were defined, we kicked off a second phase of research in 10 schools throughout the Northeastern U.S. Through observations and interviews, we learned how supplemental content is applied in the classroom and how students and teachers used and interacted with technology. With all of these findings, we were able to make informed product recommendations and start to write rules (e.g., “must make reading an active process”).

Phone
Teacher and students
Phone
Teacher in a classroom
Takeaway
students needed to be at the center.
Takeaway

We found that student research is a pillar in the modern classroom, and teachers were the gatekeepers in terms of accessing the K-12 market. The way teachers secured technology resources — both devices and software — varied greatly by school, but, clearly, teachers were the drivers. We needed to figure out how to target teachers individually and support them in sourcing and paying for our product, in order to drive adoption. Additionally, we needed to support a growing homeschooling population. We had to confirm that a student-centric version made sense to address both teachers and homeschoolers, in terms of user acquisition, value proposition and pricing.

Homepage feed
Tablet and pencil
Tablet and pencil
Homepage feed
Synthesis
turning data into a plan
Synthesis

We collected and visualized all of our research findings (also known as “the fun part”). Drawing on this consolidated data, we wireframed VIP screens of the platform and worked out user flows for each audience.

Collage of maps
Whiteboard sketches
Collage of mapsWhiteboard sketches
design & development
bringing magazines — and learning — to life
design & development

At last, we were ready to design and develop the Kids Discover Online product from the ground up. In order to design a product that stayed true to Kids Discover print experience, we converted each magazine into a “unit” and each magazine spread into a “topic.” Using a custom (and super intuitive, of course) content management system, Kids Discover is able to create pages using its print content and assets. The back-end is configured to allow for three Lexile® levels for each content block, in an effort to meet kids where they are.

Dot grid
Student doing homework
Multiple feeds
Discover map
the discover map encouraged exploration

This engaging interactive map lets users dig into subject areas to discover related units and topics within the Kids Discover library. When a unit or topic is added to the CMS, it is assigned to related content and weighted based on relevancy. This back-end process determines where that particular unit or topic appears on the map.

To optimize the experience for teachers, we added classrooms and desks. Accessible by teachers and students, “classrooms” serve as shared folders that teachers can curated for students. “Desks” act as personal folders for teachers to store content for later use.

deployment & testing
time for final exams
deployment & testing

As soon as the beta product was ready, we took it to classrooms to test. We collected feedback from students and teachers, which helped us make final product adjustments and enhancements before going to market.

Cube doodle
Triangle doodle
Editor screens
checking back in

Soon after launch, we began a new engagement with Kids Discover to improve the platform based on user feedback. Some items on the road map included:

  • Creating a frictionless onboarding experience
  • Getting personal with notifications and targeted messages
  • Overhauling payment processing, reminders and renewals
  • Adding ability for teachers to create assessments and for students to take them
  • Updating the payment structure to align with user expectations
Homepage
Hackerone

hacking for good

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