Mitzi: Interactive Story with games

Role: Interactions and User Experience Design.
Software: Photoshop, Sketch

The Horn Book

Mitzi’s World app review

Auryn Inc.’s seek-and-find interactive storybook app Mitzi’s World: Seek and Discover More Than 150 Details in 15 Works of Folk Art (2012), based on Deborah Raffin’s book of the same name, features a selection of “neo-naive” oil paintings by prominent folk-artist Jane Wooster Scott. Spanning the four seasons, each painting depicts a scene inspired by turn of the century and early twentieth century American life. Among the quaint little towns and country sides are tiny people and objects such as cupcakes, tools, bells, kites, boots, and of course, “itsy bitsy Mitzi,” the spotted dog. Search for, find, and touch each item to initiate animation and sound effects.

One of the most practical elements of this app is that it automatically tracks and saves which items you’ve found by displaying them in bold text, even if you navigate away from the application and come back later. If you ever wish to clear your progress, you’ll find a reset button on the homepage. Another great feature is the zoom capability, which allows users to zoom in with incredible clarity on certain sections of the painting to find some of the trickier items.

And if you’re anything like me in the doctor’s waiting room and can’t put the Highlights magazine down until you find the blasted ice cream cone hidden somewhere among the leaves of a palm tree, rest assured: this app comes fully equipped with a hint feature that automatically zooms in on the area of the painting that contains the specific object you’re looking for.

Bright colors, a soothing score, and charming bits of Americana make this app a joy to examine with a fine-toothed comb. The pleasure is in the detail.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 4.3 or later); $2.99. Recommended by primary and intermediate users.