December 09, 2013

Australia Creates Virtual Dressing Room for Young People

If there's one thing young people love, it's clothes. Australia’s "online teen specialist" Wannabe

Me is laughing the country's first virtual dressing room. The site will be aimed at children aged eight to 14 (aka "tweens") and allow the kids to upload photos of themselves onto mannequins, letting them know what the outfit would look like on them.

One of the more troubling aspects of this venure is the social media component, which allows the kids to share these snapshops on social media. It goes without saying that if an eight to 14-year-old is on social media (and that's a big "if"), we hope that they are keeping their account private.

Wannabe Me Creator Andrea Dowling describes the environment as "safe" and "fun," but does not go into details on what the company is doing is ensure that the website is protected. Niall Heffernan, co-owner of Brisbane digital creative agency Studio None, who developed the site, explained how the HTML5-based site works. "When a tweet takes a picture, it is then dynamically turned into a flattened HTML5 canvas element capturing that data. THe snapshot is then saved and the tween has the ability to share on social media or send as an email."

In our increasingly hyper-connected world, it is perhaps better that children have a specific "social hub" where they hang out and talk about shopping and other topics that interest them. By not being mixed in with the general public, such a site may be able to ward off potential predators.

"Tweens can change the colours of the site to suit their taste and also rearrange the layout by dragging the modules around," said Catherine Gray, the other co-owner of Studio None. "Photos hashtagged #WannabeMe on any social media will automatically appear on the site."

For more on this topic as well as other major innovations in HTML5, join us at DevCon5 December 10-11 in Los Angeles/Universal City, California. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker


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