With more children than ever connected to the web, teaching kids about safe online practices has never been more important. The Cybersmart team approached fatfish to revitalise their cybersafety offering by designing and producing an online game to engage with children and help them learn about online safety. fatfish engineered Zippep’s Floating Circus from concept through to development. The game is now used in schools across Australia helping children (and sometimes the odd adult) stay safe online.
By initiating focus groups we identified a variety of challenges we would be faced with. Namely, designing a game that was not only easy to play, but challenging enough to keep children engaged. How would we make it fun, but still a deliver an educational message? How would parents and teachers get involved, and how would it be made accessible on a variety of platforms?
By designing the education plan path users would take to learn Cybersmart’s online safety tips as the first step in the project, emphasis on the learning experience became the focus. Once the primary objective of creating cybersafety awareness was addressed, we could begin on how it looked and how it played. After exploring a variety of visual styles and identifying a concept that was gender neutral, we enlisted one of Melbourne’s premier Illustrators, Caitlin Ziegler, to create beautiful characters and the world of the ‘Astro Circus’, an outer-space theme park run by ringmaster and game narrator, Zippep.
Through exhaustive testing and a series of workshops with adults and children alike, the team gained valuable feedback directly from the target market and adjustments made accordingly. Once the web project was completed our development team rolled out Zippep’s Astro Circus for the iPad, iPhone and Android smart phones.
By forming a genuine partnership mentality with our client, ACMA’s Cybersmart team and fatfish were able to create a powerful learning tool that children love playing. With further scope for additional game versions, we are looking forward to working together on our next project.