How do we better reward young readers for improving their reading habits?
As the digital world becomes an important part of children’s lives, they expect more interactive learning experiences.
Interviews with learners and teachers revealed a need for a more gamified reading experience in reading apps like Simbi.
I worked on research, project strategy and UX
2 designers, 1 illustrator, 1 project manager, dev team
Research and insights
We discovered ideas through research interviews and surveys over the course of a year.
We looked for ways to enrich a child’s reading experience through gamification and rewards. Some ideas we landed on included:
Rewards for completing certain series’ of books
Rewards for reading a number of days in a week
Daily reading timers
Readers earn Simbi Badges for improving on certain reading achievements.
Badges are Recurring Rewards, a concept introduced by Chelsea Howe in their GDC talk ‘The Design of Time’.
Learners can make progress on some badges on a day-to-day basis, like the (streak) badge.
Other badges required more time to progress, like (the series ones)
This means readers are rewarded for coming back to Simbi over time, and are likely to stay longer.
A natural progression to self-motivated reading
As readers level up their badges, they face increasingly difficult challenges.
This rewards new users frequently, while encouraging experienced readers to build up self-motivation to read through less frequent rewards.
Exploration and TEsting
We ideated many gamification concepts, and combined them to make Badges.
We created unique user flows for each badge, tailored to their specific challenges.
A major issue that came up during testing was that learners had trouble understanding the progress they’d made within a single badge.
The Badge system rewards users for their progress with collectible badges that can be tracked on a Badge Explorer.
We started with a need for rewards for reading progress.
The design process involved:
research through user interviews
prototyping multiple ideas for gamified reading
designing a badge system
planning the rate at which a user earns badges
adding extra screens to address user needs after user testing.
A large part of the appeal of badges comes from the visually striking Badge illustrations created by our illustrator.
The value of UX design is in creating a user-friendly experience for learners.
Learners can see invitations to earn badges at various points of interaction with Simbi, and visualize how much progress they’ve made.
This helps boost user engagement and motivates them to read more often.