We started with identifying what would truly motivate our audience, which we identified through several rounds of contextual interviews in participants’ homes, early prototypes, and concept tests, real-time data analytics, and even visits to multiple dentist offices, to ensure professional feedback was incorporated into the product’s value proposition. This led to a very powerful insight: while most kids turn brushing into a battle, they don’t actually dislike it. In fact, the feeling of a clean mouth is extremely motivating to them. They simply don’t like to stop what they are doing, or don’t want to do what follows brushing teeth (going to bed, for example), so it became a stall tactic.
With this in mind, it was clear the connected experience needed to be more than just a glorified toothbrush timer or a game. We needed kids to feel empowered to brush on their own, while still providing significant education around how and why to brush. This led to the creation of an original character Sparkly, a cute fur-ball in desperate need of brushing help. Sparkly was designed to trigger care and nurturing impulses in kids, which sparks a strong emotional connection with the character. Because Sparkly has tiny arms, it can’t properly care for its teeth. The only way to help him is to follow along with the guidance on-screen twice a day. The application showcases the desired movement of the toothbrush, providing real-time coaching for proper technique, as instructed by dental professionals. When they finish, kids receive a present from Sparkly. This variable reward completes the engagement loop (a critical component of Motivational UX™) when they finish a full 2 minutes of brushing and triggers the desire to return again.
We heavily measured and analyzed user engagement, which informed the design of features like the Parent Dashboard that follow strict COPPA guidelines. It allowed us to incorporate motivational factors that kids resonated best with, based on hard data, not general self-reporting which can be unreliable.