Fiona Jacques

An app controlled smart companion for children, with an original reward system.

The challenge


The brief was set by Wieden and Kennedy to promote positive parenting through the creation of an original reward system embracing technology in the home without the addiction to a screen.

From the get go

Getting to the core of parents and children's emotions and views towards technology was a challenge but key to the projects success. Completing varied research: ethnography, field trips and surveys, we were able to highlight key areas parents reward and the current interactions with technology in the home. Highlighting an issue with existing home automation systems: not encouraging children to use manners.

A clever companion

Jibba Jabba is a clever companion that means parents lead by example, pairing with existing in home devices and only responding to polite questions. The Jibba Jabba aims to become a companion to the child; playing games, supporting routine and answering questions when asked politely.

The Jibba Jabba is inspired by children's drawings yet designed to suit the modern home and spark the child’s imagination. We challenged ourselves to create a prototype using Arduino that responds to correctly spoken phrases, after a lot of experimentation, patience and cups of tea we were delighted with the outcome.

Giving the parents the reins

The aim was to create a companion not another parent, so we ensured the control was still in the parents hands. Using card sorts and prototype testing to ensure the parent app was efficient, easy to adjust and data accessed in limited taps, suiting the busy nature of the family home environment.

Building the bond

The childs app includes a FaceTime concept, embracing the technology in smart phones to allow the child to call their Jibba Jabba to ask a question, or play a game from anywhere, strengthening the connection with the Jibba Jabba without becoming addictive.

Adding a touch of magic

Rewarding the children for correct practise and completing activities was an important aspect of the brief, however from our research we didn’t want to condition the child’s behaviour based on getting a reward. So opted to enhance the magic of the Jibba Jabba with a unique system set by parents but delivered by Jibba Jabba, and the help of Royal Mail.