Playmobil New Concept Prototype Testing With Children and Parents Case Study

 

Overview

 

  • Producer of the internationally award-winning PLAYMOBIL® had developed a new concept and wanted to test the reactions of children and parents, to decide whether to further invest in the product
  • We tested a minimum viable product with 10 children and collected feedback from parents in the UK, including co-creation with children and video-recorded play sessions that the client could use as evidence of the product’s appeal
  • Our feedback gave the client the confidence they needed to continue developing the product, which we look forward to helping test again in the future

Brief & Background

German-based company and producer of the internationally award-winning PLAYMOBIL® have sold over 3.5 billion mini figures since launching in 1974. Keen to stay on top of trends and exciting innovations, they had developed a new concept and wanted to test the reactions of children and parents to a minimum viable product. The client needed strong evidence to present to their team to support further investment.

The client was referred to us by their business partner Mojo Nation, a company that supports inventors of all backgrounds, experience and skill-sets and who we are delighted to work with on a regular basis. Along with the personal recommendation, the client chose to work with us due to our straightforward approach, the right understanding and competent contacts who were able to help quickly.

Encouraging Natural Behaviour

As part of the client’s testing across Europe, we tested the prototype along with supporting materials with 10 children in the UK. In particular, the client asked for co-creation with the children, to understand what they would like to see in future and what kind of features would be possible in their eyes for the prototype. Using the client’s resources and a bit of creativity we were able to encourage the children to produce some great ideas and understand what was appealing about them.

The client commented on how great the findings were because of the “cool kids” who took part. We like to think this is because of the effort we make to put children at ease with familiar settings and a child-focused approach from our experienced moderators, to encourage natural behaviour.

 

“Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide increased the quality with their questions and ability to work with kids. We gained good knowledge through the Good Play Guide, which was neatly documented.”

- Frank Müller, Head of Business Development for Horst Brandstätter Group 

 

How We Adapted to COVID-19 Restrictions

The research was carried out while the COVID-19 restrictions were in place, which presented some challenges we hadn’t come across before. To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 we worked with one of our play club partners, as this allowed us to work within existing bubbles. This meant that the children who took part were already coming into contact with one another.  

We were also required to follow additional measures, such as getting a rapid flow test, wearing masks throughout the sessions, and sanitising the toys in between sessions. 

The process needed to be as similar as possible to the other testing groups, so we communicated with the client throughout to adapt their research plan as needed. This helped ensure they got the feedback required while keeping the children, parents, and our researchers safe.

The Confidence to Move Forward

The overall positive feedback meant that the client was confident to take the idea forward. We provided videos of the testing that allowed the client to share with their team the enjoyment and excitement that children showed when playing with the prototype. The team will also be able to use the videos as reference and inspiration for future development, as they can see for themselves how children played with the toy.

 

“We received good feedback across the board and will continue on a more developed prototype. I am pretty sure that this will be tested again and we would be very happy to work with you again!”

- Frank Müller, Head of Business Development for Horst Brandstätter Group 

Work With an Experienced Team

When testing a prototype the research can go in many different directions. It’s important to know that you are working with a team who are experienced in working with children and know when questions need to be reworded, or can spot when a child has said something that might be of interest to you that needs to be explored further with ad-hoc questions.

You also need a team who is dedicated and can adapt to challenging circumstances to get you the feedback you need. Working around the COVID-19 restrictions is just one of the ways our researchers have been flexible in their approach, but you never know what’s around the corner. Communication between you and your research provider is key when faced with unexpected problems.

If you are looking to carry out research across multiple countries, it can be easier to use a research team based in each country. When doing this you need to be confident that the research teams you work with will carry out the research in the way you want them to, to ensure that feedback is consistent and comparable between countries. 

Email research@goodplayguide.com to find out more about our play testing with children, whatever stage of development your product is currently in.

 

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