Product: Interactive e-book app for iPad
The aim for this project is to create a product that is valuable in the lives of kids by enticing them to combine their love of interactive touch screen technology (in this case, the iPad) with discovery of the real world around them. During this process I would like to expand my existing skills (previously in print design) and research the capabilities of designing for touch interfaces. I will explore what is required to create an app through the Apple store and for the scope of this task have decided to limit my exploration only to this operating system (ie. I will not explore Android as part of my research at this stage). I will use my existing experience of the Adobe Creative Suite (particularly Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator) to look for designer-friendly ways to break into the app market without needing to become a developer in the process.
The target audience is for both male and female kids aged between 8 and 10 years old. It is aimed at those who struggle to find engaging activities to entertain themselves with, especially during school holidays or during long car journeys. These kids value being entertained but at times may fall into the trap of finding real life activities unengaging as they have been brought up to depend on technology to keep them happy.
The parents of these kids will most likely value educational products which will keep their kids entertained as well as teach social, literary, numerical and artistic skills. This app could both be sold as an educational activity as well as a book. Parents will look for affordability when purchasing a product, which means an app is ideal as it is a one-off purchase with a low price. Many of these families already own a smartphone or tablet within the family, but in the case that they don’t, older generation ipads are available at a more affordable price than a console or laptop game as an alternative. Portability will also be key as the app can be used during times when kids are bored while in between destinations. Due to the light-weight nature of the iPad, parents can easily have it in a backpack or handbag so it can easily be pulled out on a regular basis. As families are on the go when kids use this, their experience of the story could change as their physical surroundings change and they find themselves discovering sounds, colors and textures afresh.
Design and narrative Concept
The final outcome of this project will be an interactive e-book centred around the journey of a character called Tobias who suffers from chronic boredom. As he complains more and more the colour drains from his surroundings and all becomes monotone and lifeless. He then goes on a quest of discovery, exploring different areas around his home, inventing new games, completing fun activities, all the while discovering a new sense of awe and wonder for the tangible world around him. As tasks are completed by the character, colour begins to reappear and the world is eventually returned to one of beauty and the creative potential of the everyday is restored.
The story will utilize a lot of white space and monotonal schemes in the layout to emphasize the character’s sense of boredom and uninspired monotony which will be contrasted by highly patterned, textured and coloured scenes representing the awe, creativity and adventure he discovers in his journey.
Typography will be expressive and interactive – changes in scale and stress will be used to emphasize emotive words in the text as well as animated to respond to touch (e.g. Drooping of the word ‘boredom’ or dancing for the word ‘excitement’). Sound will also be used to draw the readers’ attention to other senses with deliberate use of silence, sound effects and music emphasising the emotional state of the character and the atmosphere of each scene.
Costs and technology specifications
The costs for this project will be fairly low as all that is required are basic art supplies, a scanner, camera, a computer with Adobe Creative Suite, DPS App Builder and Adobe Digital Publishing Single Edition (US$395). All of these are usually owned by any graphic designer, with the only exception being the additional cost of purchasing Single Edition. DPS App Builder and Digital Publishing Single Edition must be run on a Mac in order to communicate with the Apple app store.
Final product and research is to be presented by Wednesday 26 June 2013 with testing of product capabilities to be made progressively before this date.
As long as kids are entertained and engaged in the story the app will be considered successful, but an overarching goal is to get them to explore beyond the virtual to the world around them. The final app will be tested with a number of focus groups within the relevant age range as well as with a number of adult testers to give feedback on the user interface design and experience.