Thursdays are the toughest days for the Design Team at Kano. It’s the day we bring out our newest prototypes. And people from all ages get to break them.
We put our work in front of beginners and kids as young as 7. Because we want everything we do to be intuitive and simple enough to use - unguided.
This was the challenge. A year ago, we set out to build on the legacy of the Computer Kit - designing a new platform for beginners of all ages to make, learn and play with technology in a simple and fun way - like lego.
Kano’s DNA is clear. We take a creative tool that we use every day. We simplify. Show you what is inside. And let you take control of technology.
Our new kits are simple enough for kids to code and powerful enough to inspire the next generation of artists and creators.
But how do we help beginners create with software and hardware like they would with lego? Will this modular approach technology work? Can we overcome the usability, technical and commercial challenges?
Within a month of starting, we spent a weekend to bring in everyone’s thoughts and design the first version of the whole system. A few weeks after, it was machined out of plastic and our engineers made it work in a heroic effort with hardware and software.
Today, Kano’s new kits look nothing like this. We’re really happy they don’t.
The Design Team grew. We merged hardware, software, research, industrial design and UX design into a single team. And we teamed up with Map, London’s best creative agency.
They designed our Computer Kit and Screen kit. With Map onboard, we knew our team will balance strategy with aesthetics, usability and technical requirements.
We focused on creating the best experience for people to make, learn and play. We had to balance high-level strategy with an intense focus on details - always.
We didn’t iterate each kit independently. We re-designed the whole product system together for every iteration.
This is why we make a lot of prototypes very early on in the process. Partnering with our 3D printing friends at Formlabs meant we could print highly accurate prototypes on a daily basis, allowing us to iterate for manufacturing as well as responding to feedback from our researchers.
There was a lot at stake. We were building PCBs, shipping software, writing books and testing with users in parallel.
On a Thursday only a month ago, Martha, age 9, built a Camera. She brought it to life with code, placed a microscope lens and took a picture. It didn’t break. At this point, we’ve tested the kits with hundreds of people all over the world.
We knew this is going to be Kano’s second album.
Our work doesn’t stop. We are refining and testing our new kits even more on a weekly basis. If you live in London get in touch with us if you want to try out the new kits.