An interactive children's book (ages 2-5). We wanted to capture a portion of the new toddler to pre-school games/entertainment market. A new segment which has only existed in this category since Tablets were introduced.
The number of good apps for tablets... kids aged 2-5 is limited to a handful of companies. Even the well known kids entertainment companies (e.g. Disney, Nickelodeon, etc) have yet to make a serious push into this space... leaving opportunities for smaller startups to move in. These number dwindle even more when we look at Apps with a female bent. We saw an opportunity for a newcompany to capture some of the international audience currently owned by Toca Boca, Sago Mini and Fox and Sheep to name a few.
We created a bedtime story which had simple interactations on each page which would progress the story, give kids practice with tablet gestures and still had the educational benefits of story in rhyming verse. Further more we wanted a story with female appeal without delving into the princess territory. A story with a heroine which appealed to both boys and girls. But most of all we wanted to create a classic... a children's book which could be remembered as fondly by today's generation as the Hungry Caterpillar or Seuss books have been remembered by previous generations.
Understanding the user experience for children and how they interact with these devices was key to creating a product that they would engage with again and again. One which rewarded them on an understandable level rather than through a complex game system.
The artwork was also a unique style brought to life by animation director Simon Rippingale who's recent work on A Cautionary Tail (Cate Blanchett, Dave Wenham, Barry Otto) has won him critical acclaim. Bringing this level of talent to the category was another breakthrough for the project as was the music from Sonic Branding expert - Jacob Staley who was able to produce a quirky "amelie style", playful, piano track.
The amount of time spent observing how young children in that age category respond to interactivity both in terms of their gesture based dexterity and what sort of mechanics appeal to them has been the biggest investment. Certainly full reward/penalty based gamification does not yet resonate in kids that young... we found simple interactions which progress to the next stage (i.e. next page) was the key to engaging them.
Whilst most children seemed to understand the interactions straight away... we found oddly enough that adults without exposure to tablets struggled with the interaction thus we added hints for further usability when parents read to children.
Additionally we added other option with sound to enable parents to read it to children or for East Enders actor - Don McCorkindale to narrate the story to kids.