I founded a startup with a friend to create our own educational apps and branded apps aside. We were right-away invited by the Gloob Channel (toddler’s cable channel) to create 5 interactive storybooks for iPad and Android tablets, interleaved with 3 to 5 games within the stories. The theme was about their already famous TV show D.P.A. (Detectives from the Blue Building — in Portuguese).
We received a bunch of scripts that were rejected because they were too expensive to be filmed at that initial phase. Some should have too many external takes, and some should require too many potential special effects. So they would be better used in a cartoon styled media, and as it would be interactive, every ‘page’ of the story should have some special thing going on, and some easy games should be merged not losing the storytelling. We worked together with the authors to accommodate some changes to do so, but it was a minimal effort. The best way to put it all together was having a narrator, especially because some kids were too young to read. A new pet character was created with the highly awarded cartoon studio Copa, and later on incorporated back to the TV series and Movies, making the cross-media complete.
I created interactive storyboards, just like a prototype, to get the approval from the channel stakeholders. All the games within the stories were incorporated, so they could feel like how the storytelling would flow. I also created all the UX of the apps, and user flows. I merged all the animations, sounds, images and coding into a hybrid game framework, and built the apps with my business partner. It was a year-long project.
It was a toddler-targeted application, so it had to be very easy, able to accept many unexpected inputs and ready to have an exit for every kind of interaction. The games had to be very casual, and completing it or not, the story should keep its integrity. The cartoon animations were already being finalizing when we jumped in the project, so we got along with the visuals they have shown us, and kept it very ludic and soft. About almost everything was touchable or at least had some feedback on it. Usability for children was a challenge and we did some very informal tests that corrected some things we didn’t see at first.