As recently announced, we now also have our first iOS app in the wild.
It’s called “Kids’Player“, and I’d like to take a moment and explain the reasoning behind this app. Because I’ve already gotten a phone call in which the caller accused our app of being unusable… well, whaddayaknow?
Kids’Player has been in private beta testing for the last couple of months, with the test subjects being 2- to 4-year olds. It’s all good, these were private tests and no kids were harmed during the making of this app.
So why make an MP3 player for kids? Simply put, kids love music, they love touch devices, and they love to listen to music on touch devices. However, standard MP3 players are built for people who can read and — more importantly — can keep their hands off the screen for a couple of minutes.
If you ever watched toddlers “using” the Music app on an iPhone or iPod touch, you’ll have noticed how they never listen to one song for very long, and how they constantly manage to wind up in the stranges possible playlist regions you could imagine.
The same kids are perfectly capable of listening to a full album in a CD player, of course.
Now say hello to Kids’Player! It’s a stripped down MP3 player, bare-bones to the fullest, right down to being unforgivingly strict and modal. You can change albums, press play, skip songs, that’s it.
You have to stop a song playing in order to switch albums, and you’re only shown the albums of one particular, pre-defined playlist. There’s no sorting, no search, nothing.
Also, every tap on the screen has a direct audible result — songs play, skip, stop. Compare this to any other player which lets you navigate playlists and whatnot while listening to music. Again, this is for small kids, 3-year olds or so, who can’t even read. They can’t differentiate between playlists and songs, folders and playlists, artists’ names and album titles. It’s no wonder they can’t keep a songs playing: how would they know which tap just moves the screen around and which tap would change the music?
We had a first, very rough prototype ready late last year and refined it ever since. Most kids just need 30 seconds of instruction, one minute of tinkering around, and if the music’s right, they’ll keep it playing.
It’s nothing spectacular, nothing earth-shattering, just a small app to help kids listen to their favorite tunes. It works great in hand, mobile, and it works great in docking stations.
You can grab it on the iTunes App Store.