A three year old – especially if she is your own daughter – is definitely sweet. What else could a parent say? However, if it comes to particular activities, the explosive mixture of will, stubbornness and underdeveloped motor skills can be a true nightmare. Take baking, and especially cracking the eggs, as an example. Every kid wants to do it, none is good at it, and you end up with a lot of eggshell in the batter. What is needed is a way for three year olds to crack eggs in an experiential way. In a student project on experience design, Luisa Dursun and Annabell Meierkordt, devised a tool – Eggsplat – which is supposed to make cracking eggs fun. It does so by fulfilling universal psychological needs: The child feels competent and autonomous. Through this, Eggsplat may make the child a more equal partner in the baking activity, which in turn may reflect upon the child-parent relationship – their feelings of relatedness and closeness.
This movie shows cracking eggs without and with Eggsplat. (Note that all recordings are spontaneous.) In the first episode the child is hesitant; cracking the eggs is awkward, she is afraid of dropping eggshell into the batter. She even asks her father for not being mad at her – he tries to assure her that this won’t be the case (but may be not as convincingly as possible). With Eggsplat the child just enjoys cracking the eggs. She actually demands more, another one, daddy, another one. This pleasure is not induced by shallow amusement or effects, but through a deep understanding of what matters to the child and how to enable according activities. This is the core principle of experience design. It is not about efficiency, but about inducing and shaping meaningful experiences. For more on Experience Design take a look at my book.