Five fantastical worlds. One unique adventure.

The Short of It

Three-time Caldecott winner, David Wienser, and his publishing partner Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, sought to bring to life an epic world-within-a-world fantasy adventure that takes the user through a series of unique worlds, accessed through…you guessed it…a spot on a ladybug’s shell!

The Situation

David first dreamt up the concept of Spot when he was in design school, yet did not have a medium that could successfully guide the traveler through the fantastical worlds. Enter the iPad several decades later, in which adventurers could pinch, pull, and tap their way into new digital access points. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and David sought a digital agency that not only had the technical know-how to bring his ideas to life, but had a deep history of understanding how children move through digital engagements. In addition, the project needed a bench-depth of artists and a level of technical savvy that could translate his award-winning designs into the digital world.

The use of animation, atmospheric sounds, and interactive elements create a visual experience that is never the same twice.

The Challenge

As Spot had been David’s dream for decades, it was imperative that his illustrations successfully translate onto a digital screen, appeal to the core demographic of 4 – 8 year olds, and yet be engaging and accessible enough to have mass commercial appeal to David’s vast fan base. It was critical that each world felt fluid, distinct, and achieved a sense of endlessness.
With the vast amount of artwork David provided and created for Spot, the management of content, availability of digital space, and balancing act of what these worlds could be needed a seamless and accessible exchange between all vested parties. To hit the production schedule David would need to provide black & white line drawings, which our digital artists and developers would stitch together to test the user experience, validity, and flow of the world’s elements. Once it was established what not only could, but should, be developed in each world, David would need to provide fully rendered artwork in which our team would animate and deploy into the build.

Our Approach

Over the course of 12 months we worked hand-in-hand with Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt and David as he perfected his vision and artwork. Taking a lean approach, the team immediately began prototyping the interactions and transitions of the worlds. From this, we were able to provide David with technical parameters for which he would fully develop his story, artwork, and experience. Once higher-level prototypes were in place, we began testing the application with users to see how the interactions felt and how users were responding to the content. This allowed us to refine those interactions throughout the development of the project, as well as discover appropriate areas of movement through animation and other visual cues in each world.

The Result

From some of David’s most beloved characters from Mr. Wuffles!, to worlds that thrive underneath an armchair and an intergalactic space station, we helped bring to life five interwoven worlds that take users through a fantastical journey hidden from plain sight. The use of animation, atmospheric sounds, and interactive elements create a visual experience that is never the same twice. The omission of verbal narration allows the user to dictate their own adventure within the framework of visual exploration and is a jumping-off point for wherever an explorer’s mind will take them.
When used in conjunction with parents or educational professionals, Spot lends itself to even more areas of exploration and knowledge-learning. The app was successfully designed to have adults encourage children’s creativity through the parent’s guide option. This offers more experienced explorers tips that go beyond the initial app, such as having children draw, paint, and sketch new elements in each world, or encourages kids to create a whimsical menu of food for their favorite characters. No matter your level of curiosity and adventure, Spot allows you to explore never-before-seen worlds in which your imagination guides your course.

“Spot is what I hoped it would be when I began pitching the idea and that is an incredible thing to be able to say…thank you!” -David Wiesner

Winning

  • The chance to work with David Wiesner and bring a decades-old idea to life through the latest in digital technology!
  • 2015 Davey Awards GOLD winner, Games
  • 2015 W3 Awards SILVER winner, Best Mobile Apps/Site – Family & Kids
  • FWA Mobile of the Day 2015
  • Honorable Mention, 2015 BolognaRagazzi Digital Award
  • Editor’s Choice from Children’s Technology Review
  • Featured app on iTunes, Kids category
  • 4+ rating on iTunes

Services

  • UX Design
  • Unity Development
  • Visual Design Execution
  • Animation
  • QA
  • Project Management

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