Designing Software for Physical Spaces: Codeverse Learning Studios
5 Introspective Questions for Priya Mathew, SVP of Product from Codeverse (Full Version)
1. What was the hardest part of designing software to coincide with your physical space?
All of our studios are designed to be interactive and allow kids to be in charge and write code to control the lights, speakers, TV, etc. So the biggest challenge is making that feel seamless and easy while in the background we are integrating our software with hardware providers and dealing with network and electrical configurations.
With longer lead times for the studios vs software, we had to think through the entire process to understand the technical and physical dependencies. The key was building a strong plan. Since we never underestimate kids, we want to create an experience for kids or instructors to be leaders without forcing an experience like a classroom. This might mean allowing kids to use software to have a dance party or seamless walk around the room with their ipads.
2. If you could design one thing differently, what would it be and why?
Increasing interactivity between software and physical space to allow kids to have more control over their environment. What if they could code the walls or floor to interact with them? We never underestimate kids and put them in control. The possibilities are endless.
With more time, anything that can be touched can be controlled like a robot or drone, We’ve learned that physical space matters to how kids learn. With that, we can design more crawl spaces (we call them pods) to create a comfortable experience compared to standard classroom. With time, we will be able to add more features like to push the boundaries.
3. Your mission is to teach a billion kids to code, how does your team plan on achieving it and by what year?
It is less about when and more about how we won’t stop until we achieve it. As a legacy company Americademy, we plan to roll out 40 studios nationwide, expand internationally, offer licenses and much more.
Connecting with scholarship organizations like Girls & Boys Club and existing schools at low or no cost for thousands of teachers to use our curriculum. In terms of coding, the US is behind learning unlike countries like England that require this learning from kindergarten to twelfth grade.
4. Did you change your research methods for the physical space compared to software?
We use our studios to our advantage because we can physically observe kids in action, iterate and understand the “why” from the data faster.
Being new to Codeverse, the existing team has produced incredible work. They teamed up with lots of diverse advisors as well as surveyed tons of parents and teachers for a strong subscriber network. Our SVP of Design Kyle McConnell brilliantly designed a consistency within our color story and branding so that whether you are in the studio or using our software it all feels the same.
5. What’s your advice to software companies looking to design physical spaces?
Put your corporate office near the physical space, identify ways you can create unique experiences by uniting the space and tech, and design a consistent look and feel for a more cohesive user experience.
Know your competitive advantage. For us, we know our competitive advantage is having both software and physical space so we try to promote this as much as possible in our experience. For example, when parents check kids in they are not allowed inside and the first introduction for the kid is an ipad glowing with their name on it. By staying on top of industry trends, we keep thinking how we can incorporate this into our space to wave into the fabric of our product?