A Makeover for a Maker Community

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Design Squad home page
Design Squad home page

WGBH’s Emmy-winning Design Squad Nation website has picked up a clean, new design. Kids as young as eight years old can find games, videos, challenges and tools to inspire and grow engineering skills.

The Design Squad Nation website is an online community that grew out of the Design Squad television series that aired on PBS Kids. The goal of Design Squad is to give kids a stronger understanding of the design process, and the connection between engineering and the things we all use in everyday life.

Senior Producer Melissa Carlson says, “Extensive user testing conducted this spring helped us identify some exciting ways to make the site easier to use, and more mobile accessible.” And Executive Producer Marisa Wolsky notes, “I just want to add how impressed I was with the design process of the redesign. This shouldn’t be surprising since we are, after all, engineering educators! Melissa led the change: identifying a need, conducting great user testing, and being really strategic about what to redesign.”

The site extensively features designs from kids and offers the ability for them to add to each others’ designs as well as sticker ones they like. New HTML5 games are in production, including one that will let kids design and build a flood-resistant city for its adorable but hard-working mascots, the Fidgits.

For Design Squad, an engineer isn’t a lab coated nerd. She is a creative problem solver, an innovative thinker and a team player. The project’s own redesign paves the way for Design Squad Global, a massive undertaking just ramping up with partners in southern Africa. The global project will put kids together from all over the world to solve common problems and build a global understanding of each others’ lives, supported by boots-on-the-ground mentoring programs to connect classrooms.

Full disclosure: Bill Shribman is also an Executive Producer on this project.

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