How to Reach and Teach Preschoolers with Digital Books

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How to Reach and Teach Preschoolers with Digital Books

  1. 1. How to Reach and Teach Preschoolers with Digital Books
  2. 2. Sesame Street Overview Sesame Workshop • non-profit educational organization • core audience: 2-6 • founded in 1968 to use television to teach • 2012: • Sesame Street broadcast in 140+ countries and territories • Season 43 in the U.S. • Season 41 in Australia • Season 38 in Germany (Sesamstrasse) • Season 36 in the Netherlands (Sesamstraat) • Season 15 in Mexico (Plaza Sesamo) 2
  3. 3. Sesame Street Publishing Worldwide Reach • in addition to the U.S. (23 million units/yr.), print books are published in 50 countries • 60+ publishers worldwide • Core print formats • Coloring & Activity • Storybooks • Board Books • Novelty Books • Workbooks 3
  4. 4. Sesame Street Digital Content Digital Content Reach • Sesame Street reaches 16.5 million kids and parents across digital platforms every quarter • Sesame Workshop consumer digital content experiences up almost 30% from January 2011 • US Digital Platforms: Apple iTunes & App Store, Amazon Kindle devices, Barnes & Noble Nook Color, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Google Chrome, digital music stores, and mobile phones • International Digital Platforms: Apple iTunes & App Store, Amazon Kindle devices, digital music stores, and mobile phones 4Source: Sesame Street Multi-Platform Study 2010
  5. 5. Sesame Street Digital Content Digital Content Increases Worldwide Brand Presence • Each quarter, Sesame Street reaches over 55 million children and adults via core content platforms • TV • Computer • Gaming • Mobile • Podcasts • Downloads • Audio 5 Source: Sesame Street Multi-Platform Study 2010
  6. 6. Sesame Street Digital Content • Although the single largest platform is still TV (60%), mobile/digital technologies and devices are providing a significant, incremental lift in total reach for the Sesame brand: • 35% of Children 0-8 interact with Sesame Street exclusively on non-TV platforms • 85% are former, or lapsed, TV viewers! • 2011: Apps in Apple’s app store purchased by consumers in more than 75 countries (English language) • 2012: Expansion into local languages around the world 6 Source: Sesame Street Multi-Platform Study 2010
  7. 7. Sesame Street ebooks & Apps • Ebooks and apps are becoming a key content format: • Sesame Street eBookstore subscription website and app (160 ebooks) • 40 stand-alone ebooks for e-reader devices • 25 apps (paid and free) for iPhone/iPad/iTouch • 13 are book-based and based on pre-existing print books • 5 additional book-based iOS apps to release by June 2012 • Book-based apps account for 52% of unit sales for all Sesame Street iOS apps • Mobile phone apps 7
  8. 8. • Best-selling iOS book apps (The Monster at the End of this Book & Another Monster at the End of This Book) are based on print books. Both have been #1 in the Books app category for both iPad and iPhone repeatedly and are regular fixtures in the top 20 highest- grossing book apps for iPad. Sesame Street Monster Apps 2010 app 1996 book 2011 app 8 1971 book
  9. 9. Sesame Street Digital Research To keep and grow this customer base, we must ensure our apps meet the high standards 4 generations of Sesame Street fans have come to expect. • Sesame Street is a 43-year research “experiment.” • Research is our foundation—everything gets tested with “real” kids and parents. • Digital Research (more than 25 studies) • focus groups • online surveys • in-home studies • in-school studies 9
  10. 10. Sesame Street Digital Research: What do we want to learn? Usability: • Is the app or ebook easy to use? (Must address both parent and child expectations and capabilities.) • What kinds of user interface design is most intuitive for the majority of users? 10
  11. 11. Sesame Street Digital Research: What do we want to learn? Comprehension: • Does the child understand how to use the app’s different features? • What features and user interface choices increase the child’s understanding of the app’s activities and learning goals? 11
  12. 12. Sesame Street Digital Research: What do we want to learn? Appeal: • Does the user enjoy the app? • Which features are most popular? • Will users re-use the app again and again? Will they recommend it to others? Will they be more inclined to buy other Sesame Street apps because of their positive experience with this one? 12
  13. 13. Sesame Street Digital Research: Usability Make it Easy to Use • Easy access to all key features at all times is essential. Individual pages, activities, parent tips, settings, etc. should never be more than one or two taps away. (on-screen menu or index) • Do not overcomplicate actions. • Interruptibility, even in the middle of a story or a specific piece of dialog, is important, unless interruptibility prevents comprehension. 13
  14. 14. Sesame Street Digital Research: Usability Put the User in Control at all Times • Easy navigation – Navigate forwards and backwards within story itself. • Skip introductions and activity instructions after first use. • Turn off “extras” (parent tips, music, narration, etc.) by choice. Make it Fast • Assets need to load quickly to capture and hold the attention of children and parents. Long delays in page turns or asset loading create frustration—particularly for parents, who will avoid repeat usage, even of “educational” apps, if functionality is slow. 14
  15. 15. Sesame Street Digital Research: Usability Make it Visual • Make all gameplay items that are touchable very clear and obvious and all target “hot spots” large. • Use highlighting liberally to direct users to interactive areas or objects. • Combine audio prompts with visual reinforcement as much as possible. (turn-the-page audio accompanied by arrow, audio instructions accompanied by related highlighting) Make it Flexible • Provide more than one way to interact (page turns via page tap and swiping). • Enable customization (text size, narration, page turn clues, etc.). 15
  16. 16. Sesame Street Digital Research: Usability Make it for Target Audience (Remember, it’s for a 3-year-old!) • Design in a landscape view since devices are heavy and hard for preschoolers to hold vertically. • Position icons away from the bottom of the device to minimize inadvertent wrist bumps, which increase confusion and app fatigue. • Choose easy-to-understand icons immediately grasped by young children. Simplicity beats sophistication. • With gameplay and activities, design for preschoolers’ little fingers and still-developing fine motor skills. (Dragging [vs. tapping] can be difficult for preschoolers.) 16
  17. 17. Sesame Street Digital Research: Comprehension Make It Easy to Use! Show, Don’t Tell • Young children typically do not pay attention to audio instructions. If instructions need to be given, minimize talking and maximize visual highlights around icons, pictures, and other hot spot areas. • Include demos of core functionality and navigation (easy turn-off). • Highlight read-along text. 17
  18. 18. Sesame Street Digital Research: Comprehension Keep Focus on Learning Objective • Keep visual and audio bells and whistles to a minimum--- enough to engage but not enough to distract. • “Lock in” narration and “lock out” interactivity for first “read.” • Relate any interactivity or game directly to storyline and/or learning goal. Repeat Interactive Hints • Remind children of available options. Highlight interactive “hot spots” or gameplay options more than once, especially on story pages, where the child’s focus is initially on text. 18
  19. 19. Sesame Street Digital Research: Comprehension Less is More • Audio instructions should be short and precise. • Avoid multi-step actions (double tapping confuses preschoolers). When several steps are necessary, explain each one clearly. • Don’t linger on one activity indefinitely. Move from one “round” to another after 3-5 gameplays. Errorless Learning • Provide context: introduce concepts before asking users to use them (i.e.: define vocabulary in context before using words in a game activity) • Reinforce learning in a fun game-like way to build confidence and knowledge simultaneously (i.e.: direct child to the "right" answer by making the “wrong” answers clear opposites or unrelated). 19
  20. 20. Sesame Street Digital Research: Comprehension Be Clear, Creative, and Catchy • If information is clear, repeated creatively, and interactive, children are more likely to come back, increasing significant changes in knowledge. • Include audio or visual rewards for successful completion of activities to encourage child to play again, which increases proficiency. 20
  21. 21. Sesame Street Digital Research: Appeal Studies have shown that appeal of apps and ebooks increases for parents and children with: • Ease of use (especially a “one-stop” menu or index) • Customization of settings (user interface and content choices) • Age-appropriate content • Hard-to-find cross-sell or promotional material • Interactivity (and option to turn it off) • Top-notch storytelling and animation (vs. unrelated special effects) • Narration, particularly character voice 21
  22. 22. Sesame Street Digital Research: Appeal Studies have shown that appeal of apps and ebooks increases for parents and children with: • Hands-on activities (coloring pages, puzzles, games) that reinforce educational messages and make the experience more enticing • Highlighted words and other educational features (definitions) • Layered learning • Short, specific, integrated, child-friendly parent tips, including ways to extend the story experience beyond the book 22
  23. 23. Sesame Street Digital Research We’re still learning how to Reach and Teach! • Which platforms will become the most commonly used for preschoolers? • How do parent-child interactions differ when reading a print book vs. a digital book, and which design features prompt more frequent and more positive parent-child interactions? • Which designs hold children’s attention best? • What platforms and designs best support story comprehension? dialogic reading? curricular skills (ABCs, 123s)? 23 “Sesame Workshop”®, “Sesame Street”® and associated characters, trademarks and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. ©2012 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.
  24. 24. Jennifer A. Perry VP, Worldwide Publishing Sesame Workshop jennifer.perry@sesame.org

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