Snail Mail

Overview

The Loveland Museum offers an exhibit called Sweetheart Town, USA, focused on the Loveland Remailing Program. Each Valentine’s Day, anyone in the country can send his or her Valentine’s Day card to Loveland, where they are then re-mailed to the recipient with a postmark from the City of Loveland. The Remailing Program is an historic effort that has been ongoing for over 70 years. The Museum wanted to improve the Remailing Program exhibit by offering a more interactive experience, particularly for students. They had tested out an off-the-shelf iPad application that allowed children to address and send an envelope, but the application stored data about users such as their name and address, which was not appropriate for use in a public space.

Radial conducted discovery with museum curator Jennifer Cousino to determine her needs for the application

  • The app needed to be simple and appealing to children.
  • It needed to teach children how to mail a letter and give them appropriate feedback as they arranged addresses and stamps on an envelope.
  • User data needed to be impermanent to maintain student privacy.
  • Younger students who could not yet write their address also needed to be able to use the app.

The result is a playful game with a drag and drop interface that is a delight to use

  • We decided to use an illustrated character with animation to give the game a playful feel.
  • We gave the game a storyline that involves helping Pete the Carrier Pigeon properly address and mail his letter.
  • Pete animates in various parts of the app, offering encouragement as the student completes tasks.
  • The app does not store any user data and is appropriate for students under age 12.
  • The app provides an option for automatically filling in addresses in lieu of typing for children who are too young to type.

Outcome

Snail Mail is a live iPad app running in the Loveland Museum’s new re-mailing exhibit. The Loveland Museum was thrilled with the results. Children visiting the exhibit have fun interacting with the app and find it a natural learning experience.