How to keep a children's website safe and exciting? (SpangaS’ new website)

  • Digital Experiences
  • Innovation by Design

SpangaS is one of the most popular children’s tv shows in The Netherlands and has already been sold to several countries. The series recently celebrated its 2000th episode and still attracts some 300,000 viewers a day. The television series revolves around the lives of a group of students at Spangalis College. They do an internship, help with the food bank, fall in love, argue, are insecure, come out of the closet and try to make the best of it.

Characteristic for SpangaS is that taboo-breaking themes are made discussable again and again. In recent years it was about homosexuality, suicide, quiet poverty, and dealing with cancer.

Broadcasting Agency KRO-NCRV asked GRRR to create a website that fans love and that suits their age and experience.

How to keep it safe as well as exciting?

The most popular youth series deserves a popular website. But you also want to keep it safe. After all, it concerns children from 9 to 13 years old. And now you also have to deal with the stricter privacy laws around AVG / GDPR.

SpangaS is close to the experiences of children, also online. Logically so to bet on Instagram and YouTube. But these tech companies have proven to be unreliable in terms of privacy, and still do little to protect children.

As a public broadcaster, with a program for children, this is a difficult dilemma. Naomi van Stelten of GRRR: “children want social media because the cool content is there. But in addition to content, there is also a lot of noise and you have privacy rules.”

As KRO-NCRV, we have gathered a lot of knowledge about the target group of SpangaS in recent years. GRRR combined this knowledge with their own research and knowledge of digital interaction. The result is an online platform that is really of this time, works smoothly and fits in well with the target group
Femke Hesemans, KRO-NCRV

Interviews, psychology, data crunching and intensive collaboration

“Research and collaboration are the key to top result” wrote the great philosopher Dave de Boulanger once in his memoirs. Just kidding. Dave de Bakker is our UX strategist. But that does not make it any less true.

So research. We believe that intensive collaboration yields the best result. That is why we worked together as one team, one at Grrr in Amsterdam, the other at the KRO-NCRV in Hilversum.

We have combined interviews, psychological insights and hard data into a journey map: What does the week of this target group look like? What is she doing on Sunday morning? Monday afternoon quarter to 3? Thursday evening half 8? This helps us to tailor each piece of content to the user.

Populair, privacyproof en programmatic

Kids use the internet mainly on mobile, so of course the new SpangaS site is mobile first. The interactive timeline is central: a place for all channels such as TV episodes, Instagram updates and Youtube videos. You want to make stories easily available, but officially you can not use Instagram or YouTube under 13 years. And you soon come across unsuitable films.

Dave de Bakker, UX strategist at GRRR: ‘The new site is a balance between popular and privacy proof. We also connect well with the situation of the fans. Do they just have a break? Or are they free for an afternoon? The programmatic content system ensures that kids get exactly the content that fits the moment. ‘

It is too early to fully test. But the first analyses show that the site is used more intensively and that interactive elements are appreciated by the fans.

The programmatic content system ensures that kids get exactly the content that fits the moment.
Dave de Bakker, UX strategist at GRRR