In summer 2011, our very own Katie, who was enjoying a tennis match at Wimbledon when she heard somebody turn to their neighbour and ask “how many times can a ball bounce?”curlyspocketguide.co.uk
In summer 2011, our very own Katie, who was enjoying a tennis match at Wimbledon when she heard somebody turn to their neighbour and ask “how many times can a ball bounce?” Rather than perform an act of violence, and with the London Olympics just around the corner, Katie had the idea to create a simple rulebook app to demystify the rules and spread the love of sport.
We wanted people to be able to use the app either watching sport live or following it at home, so our early focus was on creating an iPhone app. With 72 sports in the Olympics, the key challenge would be to design a way for people to find the content they need, quickly and digest it easily. We decided to use a pack of cards metaphor because it was simple and had retro sporting connotations.
The app would have to be visually delightful to make people want to swipe through the pack, so we commissioned one of our favourite illustrators, Ryan Todd, to produce bold, graphic illustrations to represent each sport. These made up the front covers of the cards, with the rules forming the backs of the cards. The mammoth task of writing the rules of all 72 sports was tackled by our in-house wordsmiths.
The character of Curly was inspired by Katie herself, who the whole team agreed embodied the tone of the app. Curly was characterised as the sports-mad best friend everybody wished they had, on hand to answer questions about even the most complicated sports. She became the person who the confused Wimbledon viewer wished they had beside them – equal parts informative and irreverent.
As well as writing the rules how Curly would explain them, we also collected a selection of astonishing facts and folklore to bring the sports to life, which we made sure were easy to share. All rules and fact illustrations were also designed to strongly embody the Curly brand.
We really needed the content to be the hero, but we also wanted the UI to be delightful and simple in its own right. Through a long process of iterative prototyping, we crafted the way the pack shuffles and the way the cards flip round to unveil the rules. We wanted the cards to flow and bounce just as physical cards would and taking the time to get this just right made sure that the app was a genuine pleasure to use.
The entire iPhone and iPad app was devised, designed and built in-house. Through daily standups and rapid prototyping, we made sure that the app was delivered in good time for a deadline that we had no control over; one that the whole world was also waiting for. We are thrilled with the results.