At Pocket Tales, we love searching for and discovering the best literature for kids and young adults. We also like to take some innovative approaches to introducing the literature we find to kids. One approach we use is in how we design our badges (which we call amulets) that kids can win on Pocket Tales. Here are some things we evaluate when designing a new amulet.
1) Give the Amulet a Backstory
Giving your amulet a backstory creates a way for users to connect with the amulet and your application on a much deeper level than just winning a generic graphic. The amulet we profiled in this post (“Toad Hall”) is the home of the main character Toad from the book Wind in the Willows. It is the final in a series of 4 amulets kids can win on Pocket Tales for reading books. Toad is notorious for owning material items, tiring of each and moving from one possession to the next. As the story progresses, he loses his most prized possession, Toad Hall, to intruders. It isn’t until his friends help him regain control of Toad Hall that he realizes his greatest possessions aren’t material things, but rather the camaraderie he shares with his friends. This is the last amulet to win in the series and correlates with the final possession Toad has when he comes to this realization.
2) Create A Theme or Series
The other amulets in the series are items Toad possesses - a boat, gypsy caravan and luxury car. By using a theme, we created a way to help users learn more about the book each time they unlock a new amulet. We think Wind in the Willows is a great book, and theming the amulets around the book creates a unique way for us to introduce great literature to kids who would not have read this book otherwise.
3) Create a Desire for Them
Rather than creating a flat, 2D, uninspired design like many other web applications, we created a richer visual design users would value more. The amulets are fairly difficult to unlock on Pocket Tales, thus winning them becomes a more substantial feat for our users. Toad Hall, in particular, is unlocked on Pocket Tales only after the user has read 50 books - a highly sought after achievement for our users.
Below you can see the steps our designer, Amma, took to make Toad Hall a reality.
Line Work and Color
Shadows and Depth