Creating Interactive Learning Experiences

Sudden Industries helps the U.S. Department of Education, WTTW and DHX Media create UMIGO - a fun, vibrant world of adventure that uses the building blocks of math to engage early elementary age kids with narrative-driven "appisodes."

The Story

Funded in part by a U.S. Department of Education Ready to Learn grant to WTTW Chicago, and guided by a highly respected team of education and kids entertainment specialists, UMIGO was created to help first- and second-grade children learning in math. In UMIGO, children become active participants in the adventure. The animated characters in the narrative stories, or "appisodes", show children how to think about and use math. Embedded interactive moments and leveled games give children the chance to join in the fun and help the characters by applying these new math concepts and skills themselves.


US Dept. of Education
DHX Media


Content Strategy, Product Ideation, User Experience and Interaction Design, Art Direction, Responsive web development, HTML5 Game Design and Development, Kiosk Development


Communicator Award: Best Entertainment Mobile App

The Challenge

  • Finding unique and engaging ways to build stories and engage students
  • Creating a child-friendly, teacher- approved user experience that is easy to use and delivers on the educational promise
  • Collaborating with a large team of creative, technology, storytelling, curriculum and pedagogy experts to reach a common goal, budget and schedule
  • Developing a technology solution that seamlessly delivers a great user experience and an engaging story while also supporting the curriculum

Our Solution

Sudden helped their team members take a whole new approach to interactive learning experiences (or "appisodes"). Working closely with acclaimed storytellers, animators, curriculum advisors, researchers, educators, libraries, and museums, Sudden helped create engaging "appisodes" that delivered both entertainment and educational value. Based on the U.S. Dept. of Ed.’s mandate of reaching the widest possible audience, both in and outside of the classroom, Sudden developed new technologies using HTML5 that would enable the seamless delivery of full-screen video with embedded interactive segments- something that had never been attempted before.

The Results

UMIGO was a great success based on the following factors:

  • On the creative level, the UMIGO appisodes tested very high in satisfaction, child engagement and curriculum retention.
  • On the education level, UMIGO tested well with teachers and parents for delivering on curriculum, ease of use and user experience.
  • For our clients (the U.S. Dept. of Ed, WTTW and DHX Media), the project was a huge success as it delivered on its educational and awareness goals as well as being on-time and on-budget.
  • Winner of the 2015 W3 Award for Best Education Site
  • Winner of the 2015 Davey Award for Best Education Site

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