Blog post RTÉjr App by Heidi Egger, Producer at Marino Software
Marino make playful apps with educational value for youngsters. We’ve created apps with furry red monsters to help children learn their ABCs (Elmo!); apps with a mischievous monkey that teaches children about zoo animals and art (Curious George!); along with animated maths apps, storybooks and games.
Our apps have entertained millions of children around the world and with the support and advice of Enterprise Ireland we’ve expanded with a new office in New York. As an Irish company, working with RTÉjr has been of our proudest moments; we’ve loved creating this app for Ireland’s youngsters.
Design & build a broadcast app for a general preschool audience with video, audio, games & activities.
Working with RTÉ
Our designers and engineers worked closely with the RTE Digital team and RTÉ TV’s Young People’s online team to create a broadcast app that’s simple and fun for youngsters to use. The app features a complex mix of video & audio live broadcast, streaming and downloads as well as games and activities.
Working closely with RTE, we followed the Hubble show’s lead by using bubbles in the design. You’ll see bubbles worked throughout the app as motif: animated (and poppable!) bubbles in the main menu and audio player along with ‘bubble buttons’ to navigate. Fun sound effects and pop-colored graphics invite children to dive right in and explore the app.
Young children are still developing fine motor skills and most are pre-readers. Buttons and navigation had to be as text-free as possible and easy to identify and use. RTE’s Young People’s department recorded voice over with two young actors; you’ll hear them throughout the app, helping users navigate.
The ‘Games’ section took some consideration – how do we create activities that are as enjoyable for a 2 year old as for a 5 year old while adding learning value? Our solution was to create activities inspired by the classics. A coloring activity with lots of pictures to colour, a simple color palette and fun sound effects. Join-the-Dots creates a new experience from an old standard with interactivity, fun sound effects and a unique video payoff, filmed especially for this app. The simple matching game encourages observational and fine motor skills.
The video and audio section features child-friendly controls in bright colors. A ‘grown ups only’ section allows parents & caregivers to manage downloads and other settings related to video & audio playback. Children can watch and listen to hours of RTEjr programming – live, streamed or downloaded.
The result is a colorful, child-friendly app for iPad and iPhone that we hope will keep preschoolers entertained for many hours.
As I write this, sitting in the Marino office in New York, I’m every bit a 38 year old kid, enjoying a game of join-the-dots and about to catch some live RTÉjr radio from the app. I’m honored to have been part of the team of engineers, designers, production managers and producers that created this wonderful app for Irish youngsters and thrilled to know that RTÉjr’s Irish content can reach a new audience of children around the world.
Producer, Marino Software