Editor Nicola talks us through the new Ladybird Baby Touch: Peekaboo App.
Many of you will be familiar with our gorgeous, award-winning Baby Touch books that have been captivating little Ladybirds since 2005. As the editor on the series, Baby Touch books and I go back a long way. If you need to know in which book to find a smiley flower, or where to find the cat with the softest tummy, I’m your girl.
Something I didn’t know, however, was how to go about turning a successful baby series into an interactive app for the iPad and iPhone. Baby Touch is all about the multi-sensory experience of touching different textures. So how could we successfully translate this experience to a flat screen?
One of the best things about the digital publishing revolution at Ladybird is the opportunity for editors and designers who look after a particular series to also take on the development of the apps. It’s a steep learning curve, but a fun one. So, armed with some large bits of paper to scribble on (because some things never change) we came up with a storyboard and script. All that was left was for our amazing digital development team to work their magic and bring it to life.
The result is Ladybird Baby Touch: Peekaboo. It works as a simple, interactive game of peekaboo in four themed sequences, in which a touch of the screen reveals the hiding characters each time.
This simple functionality is great for babies of six months and older, who can focus and concentrate on moving objects, and reach for things they see. Babies learn by active touch, and by touching the screen (or being directed with their hand in an adult’s) they experience something interesting each time that rewards this interaction – seeing the picture change, or hearing an animal or vehicle noise.
As in the books, the bright contrasting colours and patterns help to stimulate developing eyesight, while the animations are just the right pace to capture and hold a baby’s attention.
There’s also the choice of a friendly voiceover that reads along with the on-screen text. For older babies this helps to develop first language skills as they start to link the spoken words to the pictures they see.
And for parents who’d perhaps like a few minutes’ peace, you can also choose to run the four sequences as one longer movie without pauses.
We’ve had a few baby testers on board and the app has been going down brilliantly with them. Here are some pictures of baby Noah who is totally absorbed and clearly enjoying trying out Baby Touch: Peekaboo on the iPad. You can see how intuitively even the youngest children use this technology.
And back in the office, even my esteemed colleagues are hooked: they hum along to the music, frantically tap the screen to see the starburst pattern you get each time it’s touched, wave merrily to the onscreen babies and wriggle with delight every time the penguin dives off the iceberg.
If their reactions are anything to go by, I think it’s turned out rather nicely. I hope your little ones agree!
Read on to WIN one of five Baby Touch: Peekabook apps.
Would you like to try out the app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch? Just leave your name and the age of your baby as a comment to this post and we'll pop your details into our prize draw bag. If your name is picked out, we will email you a gift code to enable you to download the app. Good luck.
Leave your comment by midnight Sunday 16th January 2011. Winners will be selected on Monday 17th January 2011 and notified by Tuesday 18th January 2011.