EE approached us with an idea to use the power of iconic Wembley Stadium to excite kids about coding. More specifically, EE asked Poke to use the stadium’s amazing light arch to develop an interactive experience that would inspire young kids (and adults) to engage with basic coding principles. We proposed and built ‘Light The Arch’ - an innovative web application that gives children (and adults) the opportunity to create their own customised light show on the 228 LED floodlights which make up the Wembley Arch.
EE’s partnership with the home of English football, Wembley Stadium, has been a source of inspiration for numerous projects at Poke. Last year, as part of The Wembley Cup program, we raised awareness of the innovation being built into the stadium by EE. This year, EE approached us with an idea to use the power of this iconic location to excite kids about coding. More specifically, EE asked Poke to use the stadium’s amazing light arch to develop an interactive experience that would inspire young kids (and adults) to engage with these basic coding principles.
We realized that we were talking to a potentially large audience with varying degrees of skill, but also that we were working for one of the most demanding demographics out there: kids. How could we create a fun and immersive branded experience that children with a wide range of computing abilities will want to play and engage with?
Working with the Apps For Good charity and using Ofcom data we were able gauge the learning abilities and requirements of each age group within the target audience. We also conducted expert audits of any existing educational tools, games and learning material and, more importantly, thoroughly analyzed the national curriculum on coding to understand what kids were being taught in school.
Armed with this understanding, we opted to build an online tool that would complement the existing curriculum and introduce children to the real life application of coding. Designing an engaging experience for children meant approaching the project from a different (and much younger) viewpoint – rigorously testing early prototypes with lots of school kids, designing a child-friendly website (think illustrations instead of photographs) and incorporating an ‘advanced mode’ for the more experienced child coders.
We proposed and built ‘Light The Arch’ - an innovative web application that gives children (and adults) the opportunity to create their own customised light show on the 228 LED floodlights which make up the Wembley Arch.
Using the application, kids can choose among 60 colours and eight base patterns such as clap, sweep, twinkle and rainbow to play with and create their own light sequence for the Wembley arch. The app also allows them to set the length & speed of each pattern. Finally, kids are encouraged to think about when they would like to run their light sequence on the arch, and the moments available include ‘Goal Scored’, ‘Red Card’ or even the intro sequence to any event, ‘Welcome to Wembley’.
To make this shareable, we made sure that everyone who creates a light sequence receives a personalised video download of their own unique light show playing on the Wembley arch to brag about to their family and friends.
But lighting up the iconic Wembley arch couldn’t just happen in principle online – it had to work for real too! To encourage children to use the application at launch, a selection of the sequences created online were chosen at random and programmed to appear for real on the Wembley Arch live at the England vs. Netherlands match at the stadium.
We also invited a selection of Mumsnet Bloggers and their children to the stadium for a special opportunity to create a light sequence on the application and then see it transformed into an amazing personalised light show right in front of them on the Wembley arch - complete with countdown and firework display.
The intuitive interface made the “coding” experience a real success.