A deep understanding of consumer trends and insights enables us to develop innovations that win in the marketplace. We recently unveiled our new KidsLab, a child-focused testing environment at our Kalamazoo, MI, Design Center.

Increased consumer interest in creative activities for children over the last several years inspired our team to create a space where children and their parents and caregivers, chosen from a database of volunteer participants, can interact with existing and prototyped products from our brands, including Elmer’s®, Graco®, NUK® and more.  

Designing products for children can be challenging because of their unique experiences and perceptions of the world. The Design Center KidsLab is a fun, interactive and brightly decorated space where children can interact naturally with Newell Brands products. User Experience Director Laura Vennie shared, “By dedicating a lab specifically for kids, we can ensure that products are designed with their specific needs and capabilities in mind. This focus on child-centric design can lead to more engaging, intuitive and age-appropriate experiences for young users.” 

The space is divided into three testing zones: a Focus Zone, for tasks that require thought and attention, such as writing and drawing; a Fun Zone, for getting messy with products like Elmer’s Gue; and a Flex Zone, which leverages tests with larger scale products and features a one-way observation mirror. The observation mirror and wall-mounted cameras allow the Research & Development team to observe the action without interrupting the participants.  

Product testing at the Design Center KidsLab just started, but our Research & Development and User Experience teams are already considering future implications for the space. “We have been exploring sensory and additional objective measurement tools like eye tracking glasses, EEG and virtual reality headsets,” Vennie shared. “Combining these technologies offers a multidimensional perspective on our users, integrating objective and subjective data to uncover deep insights into user behavior, emotions and cognitive processes. We can create better user-centered solutions by identifying explicit and implicit user needs.” 

Whether testers are trying out Elmer’s Squishies, Graco baby gear or the next big thing to hit shelves, the Design Center KidsLab will enable us to better understand our consumers’ needs and create market-leading innovation.