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Building an engaging avatar creator feature

Da Vinci Kids, one of Macadamia's two brands, is a global subscription service for award-winning educational TV shows and games. They provide ad-free, age-appropriate content in 21 languages, to 60 million kids and families, in over 190 countries. Their service is available as a Mobile App, TV App, and linear TV channel.

My Role

Competitor Research, Wireframing and Prototyping.

The Challenge

Macademia were looking to improve engagement and retention metrics for their flagship product, the Da Vinci Kids mobile app. The challenge was to design and implement new and engaging gamification style features. The first step to achieving this was by integrating a new avatar builder feature, one that had the potential to be expanded into a wider gameplay loop.


The Solution

Past research suggested that child users love creating their own personalised characters. Therefore, a brand new avatar creator feature was commissioned to be designed into the app. The first version of this feature was to be a simple, character 'dress up' feature, however, the scope to expand this feature further was also on the roadmap.



Analysing competitor products

To gain an understanding of what made a user-friendly, maintainable, and scalable avatar creator feature, I had to explore this feature in other apps. Not only did I explore this feature in close competitors, but also highly rated versions of avatar creators in apps that were not necessarily considered a competitor. This process enabled me to note down their strengths, weaknesses, and any potential opportunities for the Da Vinci kids app version.


Initial design concepts and wireframing

The vision amongst the team was clear. I needed to design a simple interface for young users. This interface had to allow the user to first select a category (e.g a hat), and then select an individual item from the grid below (e.g. a cowboy hat). After a few rounds of concepts and prototyping using Figma, a final design was signed off for the UI design phase.


Bringing the avatar to life

Based on the results of the competitor analysis, the avatar creators that stood out as being the most exciting were the ones that had animation. My team were fortunate enough to be able to work with incredible animators who really helped us bring the experience to life. An example of where animation is used is when a user changes their avatar's clothes.

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