Thursday, Nov. 3

4 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. — Snack

All session participants — both children and adults — will sit at the table and have a snack. At the same time, we’ll make name tags and get to know each other. The snack time also serves as a time to transition into being design partners.

4:20 p.m. to 4:35 p.m. — Circle time

Introductions (name, age, how long they’ve been with Kidsteam, answer to question of the day)

Today’s question of the day

What gets you excited about reading?

To start our session, we asked, “What gets you excited about reading?”

Design Task Description and Design Prompt

Brenna will introduce the day’s topic: “Today, Jenny is visiting us for help with her master’s degree program. She is exploring how to use digital storybooks to encourage children to read. Before she builds anything, she wants our help to understand what she should build. Before we begin designing our digital storybooks, it is important to remember a few things. First, the focus of this session is on making reading interesting to kids, not on getting kids to tell stories. Jenny brought in fiction stories, and each group can use one for the design session. In addition to focusing on making reading digital stories interesting, it is also important that the storybooks do not become games.”

4:35 p.m. to 5:10 p.m. — Design activity

The team breaks into smaller groups and uses “big paper” (giant white sticky note pads). Each group spends the time brainstorming and sketching ideas and potential interfaces.

5:10 p.m. to 5:25 p.m. — Presentations and themes

Each group presents its work, and one of the Kidsteam adult design partners takes notes. Afterward, the entire team looks at the themes everyone discovered during the session.

5:30 p.m. — Debrief

Adults debrief on their impressions and observations from the session, analyzing the ideas produced and creating an initial set of recommendations based on these ideas.

Session Notes

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Findings and Themes

Animated images related to the on-screen text

All groups in the design session designed animations that would appear when relevant pieces of text were viewed. For instance, images of characters would appear when their names showed up, and when an owl was mentioned in the story, an owl would come and land on the text.

Interactive elements

Each group designed ways to interact with visual elements in the digital storybook. Two groups designed ways to play video clips at the start of each chapter, take content-related quizzes and interact with the animated images that would appear on screen.

Accessing additional information

Each group created a system that allowed them to access additional information for two purposes: assistance and additional content. Several designers requested assistance with regard to reading and understanding the text. For example, one idea was having the digital storybook pronounce a word out loud or provide a definition on demand. Accessing content details were also designed with regard to the content and storyline, with children designing items such as character maps, flashbacks to scenes that are being referenced and access to information that would otherwise be found in a book’s appendix.

Harry Potter - casting spell
In Harry Potter, one co-designer suggested, animations could show characters speaking or casting spells.

Universal access

The digital storybooks that the children designed were platform-agnostic. They expected that they would be able to access the story across laptops, tablets and mobile devices, and their place would be kept if they switched devices. Some designers were concerned with making sure all children would be able to access the digital storybooks, regardless of what technology they had available to them.

Next Steps

I will meet with Kidsteam again in February, where we will review the progress I’ve made on my project. At this point, I will have designed a prototype with the design recommendations proposed by Kidsteam. The team will spend this session evaluating my work thus far and determine further enhancements and changes.

Reviewing design ideas at our first Kidsteam session.