CBeebies Storytime

Child UX design and research project


The BBC Storytime app team were interested in understanding how people were actually using the app. What contexts were kids using this app in? How much was a parent / guardian involved? Were the accessibility features helpful? How did their app compare to similar offerings from competitors? And finally, how could the Storytime app be improved such that it's engaging to its core audience of children between the ages of 2 and 6, whilst also providing a helpful experience to parents / guardians?


A dedicated team of 2 from Amberlight worked on this project. My role was that of the senior consultant managing 4 phases of research conducted by a colleague and myself.


We kicked off the project by meeting with key stakeholders to establish the scope of the research and understand their requirements.

I started the research by analysing 20+ competitor apps. This included comparing user reviews, expert reviews in the media and recording average user ratings across app stores (iOS, Android, Amazon). The BBC then selected around 10 apps which they were interested in learning more about following which I conducted an in-depth SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.

The next step was to gather behavioural insights. My colleague and I conducted over 12 contextual inquiries in London and Manchester. This involved interviewing young children and their parents and observing how they used the Storytime app within a natural context.

The contextual inquiries helped us gather a wealth of insights. But we wanted to know if the observed behaviour was sustained and if they were representative. To learn more, we conducted a week-long online diary study with the participants we'd met. In the meanwhile, I also conducted a survey to gather quantitative data from over 400 respondents across 4 nations to validate the qualitative findings.


We tested the app on smartphones and tablets (Android and iOS).


I wrapped up the research by presenting a detailed, highly-visual report on not only recommendations and design solutions for the Storytime app but also guidelines on designing for young kids. The research team were also invited to speak at UX Brighton on the topic of designing digital products for toddlers.

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