As part of our ongoing series of interviews with people making a difference in the education and technology fields, we spoke to Jose Maria Martinez, Marketing Manager and Co-Founder of DADA Company, about the I Learn With Transportation app and designing educational apps for kids.
DADA Company specializes in digital publishing and designing content for young audiences. Find out more at dadacompany.com.
SMATOOS: So many apps for kids are full of the same brash graphics and loud noises. But the first thing everyone notices about your app is the beautiful drawings. Do you think that very young children can appreciate these, or are they just for the parents’ benefit?
Jose Maria Martinez (JM): For DADA Company it is very important that the graphics in particular and final product quality in general have to be the best. Of course, children, and adults also, appreciate the quality of our products. There is a difference in the experience of enjoying a product that is made with love, this is not being overly demanding. It is trying to do things at their best. It is also important because this new medium will create experiences for kids that remain with them as they grow.
Moreover, from the business point of view, we think the only way to get attention and have a minimum of visibility in a market so saturated is to make the best possible product.
SMATOOS: Why did you choose transportation as the theme for this app?
JM: Transportation in general always attracts attention to the smallest ones. Cars, bikes, trucks, etc. are part of their lives and are magical items that arouse their attention.
We think it’s a good subject to be used for introducing the child to several fields of knowledge. A fun way to entertain and educate at the same time.
SMATOOS: Tell us about your team. Did you have any teachers or education specialists contributing to the development of the app?
JM: DADA Company is founded by four partners, three of us are parents. The team is formed by experts in the production of digital content: enthusiasts of the arts, communication, technology and education, with a big inner child and broad experience with work geared to children. This is a team that sets its effort on the digital interactive book as the format that provides new functionality and services, offering children a rich, dynamic, and flexible multimedia experience. Dada Company also has the external advice of two psycopedagogists that review our work at different stages, in the educative field.
SMATOOS: What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when creating an app for kids?
JM: Here, at DADA, we try to work with the best illustrator specialized in children illustration. We want to add beauty and soul to the world of children.
We also try to use the amazing potential of this new media. We want to use the interaction, video, camera, etc., and all these magical features that the smartphones and tablets bring to the user.
SMATOOS: Is it difficult for designers and developers to create educational apps for children? Why or why not?
JM: It´s difficult to create high quality kids apps. You must have several points in mind in order to create a good product: trying to be original, innovative, funny, educative, intuitive, authentic, etc. All of this at the same time. Yes, it´s difficult.
The different nature of the members of DADA Company is a perfect example of how to combine the efforts of our mixed team for creating our apps. It´s very important for us to join the points of view of programmers, designers, illustrators and psychopedadogists. We try not to repeat the existent type of educative apps (learn to count, learn to write, learn the letters, etc.) or the existent books (258 different versions of Little Red Riding Hood, DADA Company is not going to cover that story). Creating new stories for new people is important for us. The kids are not the same as they were 30 years ago, so the stories also have to change. New stories must be told to mirror the currently circumstances of kids.
SMATOOS: What other educational apps (not developed by you) do you think are fantastic?
JM: Dada Company members love the apps created by Shape Minds, Night and Day studios and Nosy Crow. We think they are great professionals with huge creative minds and amazing apps.
SMATOOS: What advice would you give to other developers who are thinking about creating educational apps?
JM: Try to be honest with kids. Doing the best is one way to reach this goal.
SMATOOS: As a company, what’s your end goal?
JM: Dada Company would like to be the Pixar of interactive apps for kids.
Images from dadacompany.com