250+ people have now experienced Vidya Books. This is what they are saying...
I know one of my biggest challenges is communicating Vidya Books to someone when I can't just hand them a device. Over the past few months I've tried a few different approaches: I've written short intros, I've done Skype Video chats, I've passionately pitched waving my hands around.
Nothing compares to hands-on experience, so that's what we've focused on. All up, we must have had 250+ people experience Vidya Books by now. We used a testimonial format for our KickStarter video. We held an Open House over the weekend (170 people / 55 families). We have 25+ people set up with our beta test service TestFlight who have builds all over the world.
This update shares what people have been saying / posting after experiencing Vidya Books for themselves. It shares some of our learnings. Finally, we have included a much longer video of all the testimonials we took for the KickStarter video (13 minutes).
I could not be happier with the response we are getting from people who try Vidya Books for themselves.
We got a chance to test this out in person. It's fun for everyone and a fantastic tool for reluctant readers! Love it! - Kristin Busse Teske · Copy Editor at Agio Technology
I'm super excited about this- making reading accessible for all learners. What a concept! Plus, it is super fun! - Michael Meyers
I saw the demo today and am so impressed. This is a great project! - Laura Levy
This is the awesome initiative of my good friends Joe and Anna Booth A digital book where your child can craft the plot and shape the adventure. Please support this excellent educational initiative for young readers. There's nothing like it for book lovers. Engage now and have your child be a character in the story, or just buy the first book for $5 - delivered straight to your iPad. Trust me- you'll love it! - Tuesday Reitano. United Nations, Beirut
Looking good Joe Booth! I look forward to suffering a horrible demise in one of these. I think I got the last 'red shirt.' For my friends: pretty cool idea here, a new take on interactive fiction. I've played around with the prototype and it's the real deal. If you ever enjoyed Choose Your Own Adventure books and/or Text-based adventure games, of if you just like supporting cool ideas, definitely check this out. - Ryan Wener. Activision, Seattle
We were at the open house and very impressed with technology and the concepts. I think it will get my daughter, who has difficulties with reading, a jump start into the process. Looking forward to see where this company goes with what they have. And Joe Booth is passionate visionary and advocate of the book, which isn't always the case with an industry creating apps for children. - Mishele Maron, Writer and Jon Maron, Doctor, Seattle
This is SO COOL and the community is all abuzz about it, so, cheers to you and joe! what a worthy venture (not to mention worthy role models!). we are lucky to have you guys :)
and congrats on the roaring kickstarter success! wow!!
xoxo - Connor Desai. Musician, Seattle
"Vidya Books is very different. It's very intriguing. It's like reading a novel that you don't want to end, but you want to see how it ends. I'm so excited" - Ann Ericsson, Music Teacher, Seattle.
"It's very cool. I love that it's like a book, but interactive. It reminds me of the 'Choose Your Own Adventures' from when I was a kid." - Peter Duncan. Silver Creek, Seattle
"I love that Vidya Books encourages mental visualization. These days, so much of entertainment is so overly visual. Vidya Books takes everything that is great about interactive entertainment but allows you to create your own pictures in your mind promoting the creativity that only books can." -Matt Hosek. Microsoft and musician, Seattle.
This is ideal as a way of encouraging and enthusing children who have no interest in reading books in their current format. It would have been ideal for my youngest son when he was at primary school!! - Heather Booth, former reception teacher and Joe's Mum! Harrogate, England
What We Have Learned
- It's clear that book lovers are becoming our most passionate advocates. They love the focus on reading. And it makes us unique from all the preschool / early ready apps that are already out there.
- One challenge now is how to get the message to book lovers about Vidya Books. I'm going to try and build relationships with blog / web sites, but don't be shy to make intros or recommendations.
Reading Age & Interest Age
We didn't aim the first book at any particular age group. In my mind, I was approaching it as a PG-13 movie such as Indiana Jones, Avatar, The Avengers. It's something I would want to experience myself and it's something for my kids.
We now have had a broad age range sample Vidya Books. High school kids, middle school kids, and younger kids. A lot of adults, parents, teachers, grandparents, too. This is what we are finding...
- Reading Age - We found the third grade was the entry age (age 9). It may be that many of the kids we had through may have a higher reading level. We've tested with a lot of third graders as this is my son's age and it seemed like a solid observation.
- Interest Age - Again, third grade seems to be the entry point, perhaps younger for boys. We had a couple of younger girls find it 'scary' but others enjoyed reading it with their parents.
- Harry Potter - A lot of parents used this as a reference point for both reading level and interest level.
Usability & Misc Feedback
- About 10-15% of people swipe left when asked to swipe right and vice versa. I need to address this, maybe have a Halo style system (you know the one where it asks you to look up, and however you naturally look up, is your way of looking up)
- Some people want art, graphics and animation. I'm confident that Vidya Books' strength is its focus on reading, so I'm not going to push into graphics and animation. However, this comes up for about 5%-7% of people. I'm not against illustrations and will continue to review this.
- We've been showing Chapter One and the feedback has been great.