I have been out gathering some feedback about our project (Programming for Kids) and thought I would share some of it with you. For those of you who need a quick reminder: We want to make kids interested in programming by making it easier and more fun with an app and easy-programmable hardware (make stuff happen in the real world, in other words).
How did you find these people?
I work as a salesman in a store that sells electronics and home appliances, and I’ve taken the opportunity to talk to a few customers that have bought Arduino-related products (Arduino is a small and cheap microprocessor).
Which feedback did you get from them?
All are generally positive to the cause, and acknowledge the issue and opportunity we’ve identified. We can split our product into two parts: hardware and software. The software comes in a form of an app, which parents seem willing to try since it would probably be a cheap and convenient way to try to get their kids more interested in programming. However, the hardware requires more devotion and a bigger cost, so they are less willing to try the product without the kids showing any interest on their own. One parent also commented on how hard it would be to develop a product that was borderline between a toy and an educational tool for our target age. That age is very sensitive, and you could end up trying to sell a product with a “lame”- status if you’re unlucky.
How do you think how you found these people and who they are influences the feedback you received?
I specifically asked people who bought Arduino-related products, so they were definitely into programming, electronics and mechatronics themselves, which influences their opinions on the cause. One parent actually worked with the Arduino together with his son, who was 12 years old. He says that his son is really interested in programming, but he probably wouldn’t have been if he didn’t have his dad that could help him, since the Arduino is more advanced than our product.
Will you change your idea based on their feedback, why, why not?
The issue is that “an app is just an app” as we concluded during our discussion with Serdar. Sure, you can get people to download it, but making money from it is much tougher. That’s why started thinking of “modular mechatronics” in order to be able to add to our offerings. In addition, our mission is to get the kids using our app excited about programming, and seeing something that they’ve programmed happen in the physical world would probably add to the excitement. This is why we think the hardware is an important complement to our product. However, it is also the most challenging and expensive part of the project. With all this in consideration, the hardware might be in a later release wave if we manage to establish and sustain a customer base for the software alone.