Transforming a familiar brand for the digital world


Simplifying a service offering

In 2016, Nickelodeon reached out to Handsome looking for help to transform their digital business model. Burdened by maintaining several apps, they were looking to simplify by creating one solution for multiple age groups that could also support current contract obligations with cable providers, as well as a paid subscription model and some free content. So they posed the question to us: “Can one experience deliver all this in a satisfying and usable way?”

Partner Since

Services Provided Strategy User Research Business Model Roadmapping Design Concept Validation Testing Usability Testing


The user is not like you

Through qualitative user research, we were able to wrap our heads around what would be usable to a 3-year-old and their parent, but also not alienate an 11-year-old who just wants to find that one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants that they watched 15 times last week.

We observed kids and parents interacting with the current Nickelodeon apps, as well as some competitors’ apps, in order to get a sense of what was working and where there might be opportunities for us heading into the design phase.


A flexible experience leads to a great experience

With a user base of kids aged 2-11, and their parents, we needed to create an experience that was flexible regardless of who was using it. We needed a structure that would enable kids to consume what they wanted as quickly as possible, while also allowing adults to customize the experience for their children by unlocking content or setting permissions.

  • Alex Smith
    2 years old
    Interface Ability & Acuity
  • Tracy Smith
    42 years old
    Interface Ability & Acuity
  • Creating a flexible onboarding experience was crucial to the success of first time user experience. We had to make sure it wasn't a roadblock for a toddler who just wants to see content without sacrificing the marketing opportunities we wanted parents to see.

  • We made the onboarding prompt easily collapsable and less obtrusive to deter children from interacting with it. These are two of several steps we took to preserve the benefits of onboarding, without sacrificing a less-than-delightful experience for both parent and child.

Facilitate engagement with kids and trust with parents

Design Value

An Experience that Immediately Learns Who You Are and What You Want

Design Value

We quickly realized that the simplest way to tailor an experience for each user was to let them define what was most relevant to them. By creating a contextual on-boarding process that reacts to a user's actions and choices, we were able to adjust the experience quickly and seamlessly.

  • Blake Cooper
    6 years old
    Interface Ability & Acuity
  • Jeremy Cooper
    38 years old
    Interface Ability & Acuity
  • Flexibility had to come in multiple forms. In this instance, we didn't want a piece of locked content to disrupt the experience for a child. So we simply gave them an opportunity to get a parent's help or move on.

  • Once a parent got hold of the experience, we made sure they could quickly move through it in as few steps as possible, while instilling a sense of confidence in the experience their child was about to have.


An experience designed just for you

Kids want their digital experience to feel personal; they want to hang with their favorite characters and nothing else. Unlike adults, their expectations aren’t influenced by an awareness of the technology. They immediately need to feel that Nickelodeon “knows me” and offers their favorite content upfront. This builds trust and drives value in the brand over time.

The design solution was clear: create a system that is constantly learning about what a user likes and is continually evolving with them. Support a user by always serving them what they want to watch.

  • Help me feel like my journey is unique and special to me.

    design value
  • Help me feel a sense of pride and ownership within the experience.

    design value
  • Help me go straight to MY shows and games quickly.

    design value
  • Create an experience that allows for growth and change in taste, without alienating any age group.

    design value

With a Complex Business Model, Several Questions Were Addressed:

  • Can the product support multiple business models in a satisfying and usable way?
  • How can we ensure that we are serving up age-appropriate content, while supporting vastly different audiences within one experience?
  • How do we aid discovery and selection in Nickelodeon’s full back-catalog, as more and more people ditch traditional cable TV service.

We focused on a strategy that looked towards the future and roadmapped out the steps to get there. In order to get where we need to go, the experience needed to evolve around three key factors:

  • 1. Fill the library with as much high-quality content as possible

  • 2. Renegotiate TV contracts to allow usage rights for all content

  • 3. Simplify the business model to enhance the user experience and attract customers


Delivering for success

We take pride in how we deliver our work. We go to great lengths to empathize with our stakeholders and to understand their culture. We do all we can to ensure that their team is engaged in the process and set up for success in the market. We focus on storytelling and practicality to clearly communicate our decisions. Our deliverables are portable, adoptable, and flexible, so the transition from our team to the client is smooth.

Final Deliverables

  • Research Synthesis

  • User Personas

  • Business Model Roadmap

  • Experience Brief

  • Asset Delivery

  • Interactive Prototype