Experience design that motivates kids to stay active




Program design, digital UX, digital UI

Design lead

What is the challenge?
In the U.S., one in four kids is sedentary. Globally, one in four kids is malnourished.

Who are the users?
Kids (ages 7-13) in the United States and their parents.

See more project background…

Kid Power is a wearable band and partner that translates your physical activity into a real donation of food for a malnourished child. Our goal was to create an experience that inspired sustained behavior change in sedentary kids.

Severe malnutrition requires urgent medical treatment. One of the treatments is to feed malnourished kids and babies Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). With the Kid Power program, physical activity by kids in the United States “unlocks” therapeutic food packets delivered by UNICEF to kids in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Can a wearable experience catalyze behavior change?

The core focus of this project was getting kids in the U.S. to be more active. Our main challenge and goal was to design a program that could elicit behavior change.

We had two driving insights:

  1. Kids are actively seeking reinforcement of their belonging and significance in their family and in the world.
  2. Parents continually seek ways to fulfill the need above in the form of wholesome, enjoyable activities.

Using these insights as a starting point, we worked collaboratively with the client to define the rules of the system, the details of the subscription model, and the concept of a passport for the app experience.

Storyboards, visualizations, user flow diagrams, and many shared Google docs were our tools for this phase.

What matters to kids, and what motivates them?

Our first round of user testing helped us validate the passport concept before committing too many resources.

We created a paper prototype to keep users focused on the elements of the concept that we wanted to test and put it in front of kids ages 8–13 and their parents.

The passport concept did indeed resonate, as long as the app-based content stayed focused on the people receiving the packets of therapeutic food.

The digital experience included game features that enabled kids to level up, earn badges, and share socially, but we learned the most powerful game dynamic was tapping into a sense of higher purpose.

Transparency and confirmation that their impact was real were also so important for both kids and parents.

We streamlined the experience to put more emphasis on the connection between physical activity and food unlocked and focused the badge content on stories of the lives of individuals.

Badges are cool, but they don’t really help anyone. I would rather earn more food for other kids.
– Anna, 10

I want to see how many people I helped. I want to know when an actual packet of food goes to that country.
– Darius, 9

What does a kid-friendly digital experience need?

Our second round of building and testing was focussed on the navigation and structure of the digital experience.

Is the connection between the band and app clear?

Is the app easy to navigate?

Round two showed us that we were making too many assumptions about what are “common” app interactions and icons. These kids, as savvy as they were, were still kids and we were being too subtle. Our original swipe based architecture quickly moved to a tap based layout with a clear navigation bar always visible.

We also learned that the connection between the app and the band needed to be even more clear. We increased emphasis on the process of syncing your band in the app and more clearly communicated progress towards unlocking a packet of food.

At the end of testing we iterated based on our learnings one last time and handed off a set of wireframes, user flows, click-through prototypes, key screens with visual design applied, and visual design guidelines.


Kid Power launched nationwide online and in Target stores in November 2015.

As of today, more than 10 million packets of RUTF have been unlocked through the Kid Power program.

Voted one of the 25 best inventions of 2016 by Time Magazine.

The Daylight team’s contribution to the Kid Power Family experience has set us up for incredible success.

– Caryl Stern, President and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Daylight’s deep understanding of motivation and behavior has been an invaluable asset throughout the development process. Their work on the UNICEF Kid Power App has yielded a uniquely engaging experience that combines discovery and impact and resonates with both kids and parents.

– Rajesh Anandan, SVP, UNICEF Ventures