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Hospital clowns comes to live in new app for children

Hospital clowns in the Östergötland region work to bring joy to children on hospital wards in Linköping, Norrköping and Motala. In order to increase their presence in the lives of children, RISE has collaborated to create the Clownerna! (the Clowns!) app.

In addition to clowns who give their time free of charge, Östergötland also employs a full-time clown, but overall the children do not have many opportunities to meet the clowns in the flesh. This is why, in January 2017, the hospital clowns contacted RISE with the idea of an app as a method for children and clowns to remain in touch with one another in between occasions when they are able to meet in person.

“The app is designed to work on the tablets that children often have access to while in hospital. Tablets provide an opportunity for children to access entertainment and stimulation, and are something of a lifeline for children and parents as they cope with the period of hospitalisation,” says Madeleine Kusoffsky, interaction designer at RISE.

Play with the clowns

From the very beginning, the wish was for an app with a range of functionality; the children themselves can see which clown will be visiting a hospital and on what date and there are games based around the six clown characters – Boris, Sigrid, Bruno, Karlvon Tratt, Rakel and Rosa.

The children should be able to see themselves reflected in the language, toys and pedagogy used by the clowns when visiting the hospital. Another important function that the clowns were keen to include was the opportunity for children to communicate with the clowns via the app.

Free to download the app

The project required the creation of a great deal of graphic and visual content, with many time-consuming small games and user tests. After almost two years of collaboration between the clowns, the application developer and a student from Linköping University’s Media Technology programme who was completing their degree project, the Clownerna! app was launched in August 2018 and can now be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

“For us, this is a playful activity and it was fun to collaborate with a charitable organisation. It is extremely satisfying to be able to launch something free of charge for a good cause,” says Madeleine Kusoffsky.