I’ve recently heard some complaints about some of the VINCI buttons. A couple of parents with very young toddlers who love the VINCI content did not like that their toddlers screamed when they pressed the exit button. They don’t think it’s a good idea to have buttons there at all.
As a product designer who really listens to feedback, I started to think about whether we should consider changing the buttons’ locations.
Android-based phones or tablets usually have 3 buttons: Home, Menu and Back. The most popular tablets offer haptic keys – buttons that react through touch. We took great pains to change haptic buttons to physical buttons, which won’t react until they are pressed with hard pressure. The problem mainly lies in the touch panel design which determines the cost and physical strength of the device. With haptic keys, the touch panel can be a single panel of glass, which is easier to produce. With physical buttons, we had to drill 3 holes on the touch panel and we were obligated to choose a stronger type of glass and pay a higher price due to the drilling and yield cost.
What’s the trade-off? Well, the buttons are supposed to help achieve a learning purpose. Haptic keys may cause an accidental or unintentional exit. Physical buttons link a child’s behavior, and in this case, pressing a button results in termination of the game. To help the child learn cause and effect, I’d recommend for parents to take the time to show their children what happens when the Exit button is pressed and help them stay in play mode by avoiding pressing the button. This is similar to parents praising a child by saying, “good job!” which focuses the child’s attention on the result, but does not force the child to reflect on what she has done correctly. Rather than saying “good job,” parents can say, “Wow! You figured it out all by yourself!”or “It’s great that you put all your toys away.” Essentially the parent needs to summarize this process so the child has the time to think and recognize her own effort.
Should we hide the buttons so children can’t access them?Or do we leave them there for learning purposes?
My own daughter played iPad, Samsung Galaxy, HTC, Blackberry and VINCI. It took her less than a week to figure out which button is meant to do what function before she was 24 months. For my child, I would leave the buttons there as part of the “rules” she needs to follow. Let’s ask parents to vote. If the majority want these buttons to go, we’ll change them.
Creator of VINCI, mother to 2 daughters, expert in fiber optic communications, entrepreneur/investor with a few startups, Dr. Yang is one of Forbes "Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs/Mompreneurs to Watch". More details on Dr. Yang can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_D._Yang.