The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
BookPop was an interesting project that found me by way of a classmate from The University of Texas back in the winter of 2015. He had been working with an author friend looking to update his extensive catalog of children's books to be accessible on digital platforms. Wanting to move beyond the traditional eBook content, they were interested in exploring the possibility of using augmented reality technology as a means of enhancing children's engagement.
During the process of initial discovery research, we found that most of the existing players in this space were using the cameras to consumers' mobile devices and projecting 3D characters onto the pages of a physical book. This proved cumbersome and unintuitive. Our hypothesis was that this method of engaging with the content would be a barrier to getting children to really comprehend the story they were hearing or reading. They would be enamored
December 2015 - April 2016
Children's eBook Publishing
Animated 3D model of the main character
Demo video for eBook platform
Animated logo for company
Business feasibility analysis
Platform production strategy
with the novelty of the technology rather than invested
in the story, they were experiencing.
Our solution was to instead integrate 3D elements directly into the pages of an eBook. This would allow us to leverage the benefits of animation and discard what we felt was the inappropriate use of AR technology. The vision for the platform was to be an online marketplace of "enhanced" eBooks that would combine 2D and 3D animation, spoken narration, and interactivity that would enthrall young readers. So we set ourselves to work.
Adapting the Content
As with all things in the multimedia space, content is king. You can have the best technology, the most engaging app, or the slickest UI, but if there is nothing on your platform to keep users coming back, you're finished before you've even started. Luckily, an author was already on board with a vast library of award-winning children's books at our disposal.