Case Study

Kids Discover
Space for iPad

This interactive reading app will let kids travel to black holes and star clusters, examine the far reaches of our solar system, experience the race into space and marvel at the beauty and abundance of life on earth.

Content section

The Brief

Create an interactive experience that lives up to the KIDS DISCOVER brand. How could you not be excited when KIDS DISCOVER calls and asks you to help bring one of their most popular magazines to the iPad? With over 40 pages of interactive informational material, this might be one of the coolest space apps available. But don't take our word for it - Apple rated it "New and Noteworthy."

The Role

Development and creative: responsible for gathering business requirements, creating UX concepts, Information Architecture, project-content strategy, user research, animation, visual and interaction design, app development, and project management.

The Challenges

  • Delivering a quality interactive learning experience within a strict budget and aggressive timeline.
  • Organizing and creating a narrative from 150 pages of project-content.
  • Gathering and creation of imagery and experiences to support project-content.
  • Development for iOS.

Discover

Our first order of business was to create a narrative to build the experience around. Any great experience starts with a good story. After spending a good amount of time breaking down all the magazines content, we had a rough draft. We decided we would work closely with the client during the initial mapping stage and have some fun. We taped a large sheet of paper to the wall and started patching it together.

Kids Discover Space Wall
Our initial mapping session
Kids Discover Space Wall
Early Prototype

In order to create a heavily interactive app while that stayed within budget, we drew a chart with peaks and valley’s that represented the level of interactivity of each section. This would help us balance the levels of effort and engagement throughout the app while still maintaining a solid narrative.

Mapping it Out

The next step was to organize the high-level chart into a set of chapters. We used icons to represent different types of interaction and colors to show the levels.

Kids Discover Space Wall
Our initial mapping session

From there, the KIDS DISCOVER team could refine the copy and start collecting credits while we began the design and development process. We structured it in such a way that we could move pieces around and see how they affected the flow and narrative.

Design

Designing an educational interactive experience for children is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things we’ve ever done. After 2 months of designing, we had an amazing product in hand.

 

And then Apple released the Retina iPad! We had to go back through every section and redesign & recompile them for the hi-res Retina display. With every project you gain valuable lessons that are carried through every project moving forward. At Thinkbigr, we know we must do everything we can to design non-destructively. This is even more important now that everything we create has to be device agnostic. Our assets need to be used on a myriad of products and platforms.

 

Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall

Cover

On most projects, we're big advocates of building from the project content out. So after all the sections were complete, it was time to design the cover experience. From the beginning, we knew we wanted to treat the apps introduction like a shuttle launching into outer space. We decided a literal approach wouldn't cut it and we'd need something more high-level that speaks to the project content a whole. We used planets, old NASA audio clips, and some custom 3D animated type to achieve what you see below.

Space Card Match Companion App

In a effort to expand on the marketing strategy of the app, we wanted to create something that would launch alongside the Space App to help promote it. After looking through the various modules we built for the app, we decided that we would go with the memory game.

 

This project had an extremely quick turnaround, but we knew we wanted it to stand on it’s own and not be a watered down promo. Just like the app, we broke it into themes with 3 levels each. After the completion of each level you win a prize and unlock the next. We used assets from the Space App and created a few new ones to accompany them.

 

Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall
Kids Discover Space Wall

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Ryan is one of the most talented UI/UX web designers I have worked with. Allan is evidently a highly skilled developer and did a great job along with Ryan in transforming our core eBook platform to a more usable and teacher-friendly platform.
Ladipo Davies Web Design Testimonial

Ladipo Davies

Schoolwide

Their work is excellent. They will take that "extra step" to get the job completed on time resulting in improved communication and productivity for our organization.
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Joyce Grimmett

Stony Brook University

We totally appreciate how hard you have worked and the high standards you set for yourselves.
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Judy Princz

KIDS DISCOVER

Through shifting priorities, tight deadlines, and development challenges, they focus on usability and delivering the best possible product to clients.
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Katrina Meyers

Fire Engine Red

Thinkbigr takes strong responsibility for the projects they work on, which is evident from the thoughtful code style and stylish interfaces they create.

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