Social interaction over shared devices: 
Designing Interactive Story Apps for Children

Betty SargeantPart of DW15

Storybook apps can contain visuals, text and audio; audio narration commonly ‘reads’ the written text aloud. As a consequence, adults are not required to read storybook apps to children. Yet when adults do read books alongside children it can lead to deeper understandings of narrative content and to positive social bonding. In this talk Betty discusses how she designed her award winning children’s storybook app How Far is Up. She describes the research behind her work and ways in which apps can be designed in order to foster social interaction to occur over shared mobile devices.

Betty Sargeant Betty writes, illustrates and designs children’s digital content. Her book app How Far is Up received a 2015 AIMIA finalist award, it was a finalist in the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards (2014), and is under consideration for a Consensus Innovation Award (2015). As an independent developer, Betty is an invited member of the international industry organisations, KidsSafe and Know What’s Inside.

Betty’s app designs have received international recognition for the ways in which they foster adults and children to socially interact over a shared mobile device. She has a number of peer­-reviewed publications as a result of her research in this area. She is a member of the RMIT Centre for Games Research. In her PhD, Betty investigated the design and the social ramifications of children’s storybook apps. She also has a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons. First class).