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  SXSW 2008 Notes:  What Teens Want  
 
 
Posted 2008-03-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Liveblogged from SXSW... rough notes...

7 tweens and teens on the panel, Goodstein moderated.

-- 12 yo: "goodreads.com" social networking and book reviews. "Purevolume.com" signed and unsigned bands.
-- MySpace, Facebook, "you can create your own layout," "customize your own designs," "communicate with friends and family after school"
-- MySpace, Facebook, prefers FB because of the add-ons "if everyone from my school wasn't there, I wouldn't be there", Digg.com, favorite game is Counterstrike Source
-- MySpace, "high five," helps her keep in touch with friends, "can't live without music," meet new people, talk a lot, make new friends. 12 yo in real life, 16 yo on MySpace
-- MySpace, "Mix Matters" music site, and "DATpif" (?) mix tape web site, keeps him up to date on recording artists. A gamer, plays sports games, plays Halo 3
-- 17.com for hair and makeup tips, Hipster.com for playlists and new artist discovery
-- MySpace, Runescape online roleplaying game, likes to make new friends with people around the world, 12yo in real life, 99yo on MySpace.

What turns you off about a web site?
-- advertisements (12yo) are distracting
-- advertisements slow down the computer and video
-- viruses and malware
-- pre-roll and interstitial ads (must click through before getting content)
-- ads with audio
-- “I know there’s a lot of stuff on web sites… but when it takes six thousand years to load [because of all the crap]… it could be fixed”

What kind of ads?
-- I like to go to NBA.com, but there are ads for Miller (beer) between all the videos.

Site usage:
-- all MySpace
-- Some Facebook
-- MySpace hasn’t changed for me, I check it periodically.  With Facebook I use it more because of add ons and “things my friends can get into”
-- When I first used MySpace I checked every minute, constantly went to people’s pages, but then there was nothing else to do
-- One thing that’s gotten duller about MySpace is that they keep trying to update it to make it better, but they really don’t need to.  It’s not my life.  If it is your life, it’s “really exciting for you” (sarcasm).

It sounds like MySpace for you guys is like email:
-- general agreement
-- I created my email account just to get on MySpace, now I use it to get on other sites as well, to keep registrations private from my parents
-- I use email to contact family, teachers
-- Our school has an email system, we use it for school stuff.  I created a “professional” type email address to contact potential employers, interview subjects.  I think it’s really important to learn how to write an email, chatspeak really degenerates our writing skills.

Does everyone use IM?
-- not many

Phones:  What kind of phone you had, was it the kind of phone you wanted, what do you have on the phone?
-- I don’t have a phone (12yo)
-- I have LG phone… I have to text on it… I play Tetris, it’s addicting… no ringtones, internet is too expensive
-- I have a T-mobile Blackberry Pearl, it’s connected to my email address, I get SAT questions sent to my phone, I use texting more than I thought I would, I like to play Pac Man, it’s really fun… I like to create my own ringtones… internet too expensive
-- I have a phone for emergencies, it’s never charged… i don’t download anything
-- I have an older model Sprint phone, it’s in four pieces in my pocket.  I can text with it, I have emergency games on there in case I’m bored, if I could get a better phone, I would.
-- I have Sony slidephone, I like to play with it, usually I listen to music on it… I can’t text message on it [no text plan]… I like Pac Man and Diner Dash
-- I have a verizon LG camera phone, I have 500 text messages per month, sends at least that many monthly, I have ringtones, tetris, buys everything herself, well aware of the pricing… uses the camera to take pics and send to friend.

Do you watch video on your phone?
-- No.

Could you live without your phones?
-- 90% no.

Virtual worlds:  There are a lot of avatar-based worlds to hang out in, do you go there, do you have an avatar, how much time do you spend there?
-- My avatar is in Runescape, other games are like copies of Runescape… I am trying to get rich in Runescape, I spend about an hour every weekend there
-- I’m on Xbox Live, I like to play against people in Halo, you can make good friends and enemies
-- I used to use Zwinky, it’s really dull, it’s nothing different, sometimes people try to ask me for personal information
-- I’ve been registered to Runescape, Gaia Online, I’ve played many MMOs, the subscription is expensive, I play CS all year long with no subscription… the pay to play stuff is really dying on me… I would RP online in Gaia, I’m in high school now I don’t have time for that anymore.
-- I use Yahoo! avatars, I like to change hairstyles and customize my avatar, I also have a Zwinky but I don’t use it anymore because you have to earn points by playing games now
-- I don’t use avatars, but when I was younger I used to go to The N dot com, it had a chat room with little pixelated avatars

Q&A

Have you ever made UGC for a marketing contest?
-- I did something on YouTube for a Nike promotion, we used Windows Media Player, we got some hits and bad comments, but it’s ok
-- if I had a camera, I would enter these contests
-- I’ve done contest submissions, but I can’t turn them in because I miss the deadlines.  If you interact with something somebody is trying to sell you, you feel like you have a little bit of say in the product.  I’m a creative person and I know that people in the marketing industry have to be creative.  But when they open it up to the general public, I respect the brand more.

Do you consume news, political info, content related to a cause?
-- I use Digg, I like staying on top of the Iraq war, using YouTube
-- I’m interested in the race for US president, I use Wikipedia
-- I like The Onion, the headlines are really good
-- Nobody goes to CNN

Do you feel like you can effect change online, and how do you do that?
-- I answered question to donate grains of rice, but I can’t remember the web site name
-- My school is growing vegetables to fund an online organization (not sure I’m understanding this), my school is donating to other efforts

Would you rather do something physical or online?
-- Physical, it’s more personal.
-- I like doing the grain of rice thing, it was fun.  Hiding a cause under a game can be more helpful.
-- I think some people don’t like to do something physical, if it’s easy to do (i.e. online), it’s easier to participate
-- I have a couple friends involved with PETA, sometimes they leave bulletins trying to convince me to go vegetarian.  Doing something online gets my attention.

Where do you watch TV/videos?
-- i like to watch dramas online, I like to watch foreign videos
-- i go to ABC Family when I miss shows
-- I watch the Disney channel a lot, I used to watch it on my phone
-- I use a PVR to get stuff like Family Guy, Taboo, stuff on the History Channel
-- I go online to watch shows I missed
-- My friends keep me updated on Disney Channel shows, sometimes I go online to watch

What do you have to watch when it’s actually scheduled:
-- Wrestling
-- CSI
-- KyleXY
-- anime, I go online to catch up if I miss it
-- Spanish drama

Projects designed to stop internet marketing… would it be interesting to you to get involved?
-- I see advertising as never going away, it funds the web sites, I would help with something like that unless I didn’t see any progress… some advertising, like for a new game, can be ok
-- I think the ads should match the content, I don’t want to watch beer commercials on NBA.com… ads should stay on shopping sites
-- I don’t want to get bombarded by advertising, it’s everywhere, going through the media to sell things is important but certain things are off limits… MySpace, there are 600 banners… I would join a project like this…

Do you visit official product sites?  If you find ads that are little games, do you play them?
-- I like to play little games, I am distracted by them, I don’t know why I do it
-- I think there was a car insurance commercial, I had to go to its web site, I guess if Pop Tarts had something compelling, I might go online, why go online for nutritional facts if it’s on the box
-- I went to a web site because it was giving away Microsoft points

Do you go to Flash game sites?
-- Addictinggames.com
-- my home computer is crappy, I think Flash games are really neat, but I can’t play them
-- if I finish my work early and go to any game web site, I’m always on those sites, I love them
-- Newgrounds
-- Albino Black Sheep, Ebaum’s World, I play lots of Flash games

Do any of you go outside (asked by a teen)
-- I play sports
-- I have a job, I’m a counsellor at a summer camp
-- I play football, I’m always on the computer, I’m surprised I’m not obese

When you make plans, how do you do it?
-- text
-- at school, we get together on weekends
-- in person, on the phone, if you post a message, not everyone might get it
-- there’s a reason they invented the telephone, I don’t ask them over MySpace, it’s not a good way to foster a friendship

If you could have a greater say in how marketers appear on the web, would you welcome them more?
-- most advertisements are very annoying, I don’t like talking about ads
-- I don’t like ads that claim to give away something for free, it’s a scam

 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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