New app provides templates for kids to create their own stories

Sep 14, 2012
Allison Koberstein.

(Phys.org)—Thinking like a five-year-old is helping a team of Simon Fraser University students and grads create an app that allows children to create their own books.

Working as interns and co-op education students at Kibooco Interactive, a Vancouver-based company that helps kids make , they've created The Kibooco Workshop, an app which uses book templates, such as an ABC book or a story book, that children can choose and add to with their own creations.

"We've put a lot of thought and effort into designing tools that minimize the effort a child has to put into understanding the interface - we'd much rather have them focusing on their creations," says Allen Bevans, a with SFU's School for Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) in Surrey.

That's meant revisiting many of the common tools that content creation packages like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator use.

"These tools have become the de facto standard for a lot of content creation software, but they often rely on or high-accuracy mouse gestures to work well," Bevans explains.

"For example, the small square handles that are often used to scale and rotate images aren't the best design for children because they require very precise, small mouse movements. And effectively using the undo/redo feature found in most software requires understanding that a small backwards arrow means go a step back in time."

They've already tested early versions of Kibooco Workshop with kids from a local daycare network, catching many problems that adults would never have seen.

Kibooco is planning a public launch of the later in the fall. "That will hopefully mean more feedback from kids on what works and what still needs to be tweaked," says Bevans, whose MITACS internship with Kibooco ends in November.

Meanwhile Nathan Sorenson, a graduate of SIAT with a master of science degree, will be staying on as the lead programmer. Other SFU students include SIAT co-op student Allison Koberstein and computing science student David Choy, also a former SIAT graduate.

"Out of a team of seven, that has us leaning very heavily on SFU students and grads," says Shneeberg, who co-founded the company two years ago. "They are all outstanding and add huge value to our company. We are huge fans of SFU and SIAT and have benefited immensely from the co-op program."

Explore further: Software provides a clear overview in long documents

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sonic Cradle lands spot in TED exhibition

Feb 10, 2012

A Simon Fraser University graduate student project that melds music, meditation and modern technology has landed a rare spot as an exhibit at TEDActive 2012 in Palm Springs, California this month.

Web crawler takes aim at child exploitation

Nov 24, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at Simon Fraser University’s International Cybercrime Research Centre hope a tool they’ve developed to track websites that exploit children can help police better investigate the crime.

Adobe CS3: What You Get

Apr 27, 2007

Which bundle is right for you? We break down some of their key new tools, suite by suite.

Robotic cell phones express emotions (w/ Video)

May 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Ji-Dong Yim and Chris Shaw, scientists in Simon Fraser University's School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), are the proud parents of a robotic cell phone family that can walk, dance ...

Recommended for you

T-Mobile deal helps Rhapsody hit 2M paying subs

2 hours ago

(AP)—Rhapsody International Inc. said Tuesday its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April.

Airbnb woos business travelers

2 hours ago

Airbnb on Monday set out to woo business travelers to its service that lets people turn unused rooms in homes into de facto hotel space.

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

13 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

Lenovo's smart glasses prototype has battery at neck

15 hours ago

China's PC giant Lenovo last week offered a peek at its Google Glass-competing smart glass prototype, further details of which are to be announced in October. Lenovo's glasses prototype is not an extreme ...

User comments : 0