Toe tapping design - Keeping parents in mind when creating a children's toy.

Sound design in apps is an important but all too often overlooked issue. "Turn the sounds off!" Is a common shout out in my house hold. So many of the games and toys available for iOS devices are beyond annoying to have to listen to. Music that is nothing more than a twenty second loop starts to drive anyone within earshot slowly insane. Berry Forest allowed an opportunity to try something different. Instead of worrying about the children playing the app, we instead focused on the poor parents.

We didn't have the resources or budget to hire a dedicated sound designer. So instead all the music and sounds are licensed. There are no 20 second loops. Instead a full three to four minute jazz track is used. To reduce even this getting monotonous each area of the game such as forest, underground, puzzles and bird game each have their own track. The main use of sound effects is in the bird game. Here again effort was made to reduce the problem of hearing the same sound over and over as you knock all the birds down. Each type of sound, such as a new version of a bird popping up, or a bird being frightened away has 3 possible sounds. Then some code randomly chooses one of the three sounds. This revealed a new issue which is you can still randomly choose exactly the same sound several times in a row. So there is an extra check to make sure the next sound is different to the last one that played. 

The feedback from the testers was pretty consistent. First they raised concerns that kids might not like jazz. But when children played with the toy none of them complained. As time passed the feedback on the sound design was overwhelmingly positive. Nearly 20% of the download size comes just from all the sounds and music. In exchange for a few more minutes download time hopefully many parents were saved from shouting  "turn those sounds off!"

If you want to checkout Berry Forest see our site at www.kanjoarts.com