Inspiring Curiosity Through Voice
Knowledge is arguably the most important thing people can share, and Encyclopaedia Britannica (EB) has been sharing knowledge for more than 250 years. Adults may remember encyclopedias as large printed tomes, but Britannica took the lead in digital publishing four decades ago and is now providing information to a new generation the way it wants it. The company is exploring new technologies to connect with new users. In this case, EB aimed to inspire the curiosity of children with its vast source of knowledge by making learning an adventure. EB partnered with Centific to navigate the emerging voice-technology space to develop a “lovable” learning experience in the form of a game, using several kid-focused design insights.
“Lovable” design requires an understanding of the people being created for, so it was important to realize not only how kids play games but also how they learn. Early in the project the Centific innovation team gathered key insights: Kids are uncomfortable when they don’t recognize a structure with an achievable goal, they won’t explore when failure leads to negative consequence, and a child’s imagination requires experiences, not descriptions. Centific partnered closely with award-winning writers and editors at EB to guide development of the game’s setting, content, characters, story and imagery.
They drew on EB’s vast historical archives to ensure that the game’s fictional narrative is historically accurate. The finished product was EB’s “Guardians of History,” a voice-controlled adventure where kids time travel through ancient history. Children can easily access an educational and enjoyable experience from their smart speakers. The game became so widely lauded that voicebot.ai named EB one of the Top Twenty Brand Innovators in Voice Technology for 2019. EB clearly knows the future is digital and is actively taking steps to be at the forefront.
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