StoriesAlive: A Subscription App
– Colorful cheerful design over all to invite the reader.
– Ease of use for parents and kids alike with bold colors, pointers and messaging.
– Design a system that allows for the growth of reading lavel.
Role: Concept, Interaction and UI Design.
Software: Photoshop, Sketch
GEEKS WITH JUNIORS
Longtime followers of our blog would know just how crazy we are about storybook apps. In fact, almost half of our posts are storybook reviews. But even so, we constantly crave for more.
If you feel the way we do about storybook apps, then you’d be delighted to know that digital publishing company Auryn recently released a digital library under the name StoriesAlive. It promises one of the most interesting and largest collection of stories for children ages 3–8.
StoriesAlive is a subscription-based service. For $7.99 a month, you receive unlimited access to over 100 carefully curated titles in various genres, with new titles being added each week. The (free) initial download of the app includes six complementary titles, as well as samplers of the entire catalog.
If you are familiar with iBooks or Newsstand apps, you should have no problems navigating StoriesAlive. The app has three sections: Library, Bookshelf, and Account.
The Library contains all the available titles, while Bookshelf holds all the books that you have downloaded on your device. The Account section is where you can manage your account, subscriptions, submit a help form, read FAQ, and so on.
The Library is organized into several categories for easier access: Ages 3–5, Ages 6–8, Animal Stories, works by Don Freeman, Classic Restorations, Mother Nature, My Stories, Poems & Rhymes, and Princess & Fairytales. When you see a book you like, simply tap Get Book to view more information about it. A popup will provide you with a quick summary of the story, as well as the size of the download.
You need to download each book (free titles included) and/or sampler prior to reading it. The books are downloaded into the app, and once it is there you can read it anytime without having to depend on an Internet connection.
One thing to note about StoriesAlive is that the books included are not ebooks. They are interactive, much like a regular storybook app. Some of the features included are:
- Personalization. Each StoriesAlive title allows you to change the text and voice of each story to make it your own.
- Multiple Reading Modes. Each book includes Read-to-Me and Auto Play modes with narration to assist emerging readers. You can also opt to read the story by yourself.
- Vocabulary Builder. Each book includes word highlighting as well as a built-in Pictionary.
- Multilingual Stories. Select premium stories in StoriesAlive are available in multiple languages such as Mandarin, Thai and German besides English.
PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
There are several types of books in StoriesAlive: Standard, Enhanced, and Premium. The Enhanced and Premium titles introduce additional individualized interactive features such as animations, music, and games in addition to standard interactive features. All these titles come with your subscription at no extra cost. Once you are subscribed, you can access any of the titles anytime.
Parents who may need additional information about the app can find an in-depth and helpful FAQ section within the Account tab of the app. It should cover most, if not all, of the things you need to know about the app, including how subscription works, what happens when you cancel subscription, how to manage downloaded books, and so on.
Also included is a contact form should you need further assistance from the developers. It is child-locked, and you need to enter your birth year to proceed.
StoriesAlive does not contain ads and external links.
Having browsed the catalog for a while, I find that build quality is consistent across the titles. For example, every book includes a lovely set of illustrations (many of them hand-drawn) and professional narration. Reading was easy and enjoyable, and having the option to personalize each book with my own text and voice was a huge plus.
The app also performed flawlessly during my entire testing time. I didn’t experience any crashes or lags when reading or downloading multiple books at a time, which was good. On a side note, I do wish that downloads would continue to run in the background when I put the device to sleep.
StoriesAlive makes it easy to keep finding fresh and high-quality storybook apps for your kids. The app has a diverse and ever-growing catalog, which contains a mix of popular classics and current bestsellers. The books also come with interactive features such as narrated reading and the ability to personalize the story with your own text and voice. If your family enjoys reading, I would highly recommend downloading the app and trying out a few sample books.