TumbleBooks is an interactive web site that aims to provide access to e-books and audio books to people. All of the e-books and audio books provide audio recordings so that the students can listen to the books. For younger readers the picture books feature animated images from the original books. I have used the site in the past as a way to help students develop both their textual reading and oral comprehension skills. Each year the book selection improves; however, I wish the visual layout of the site would do so as well. For this particular post I will only address my issues with the main page and the login page.
Upon arriving at the main TumbleBook page the user is greeted with three boxes of text each with their own colour scheme. One must remember that this web site is designed to be used by children and I know from experience that it takes some explaining to show both parents and students how to navigate this page. To help make the site easier to navigate I would take away all but the essential text and replace it with photographic images that highlight the differences between each site:
This product is aimed at young children and provides books suitable for younger readers. To highlight this I would showcase a child using a computer that has one of their books on the screen. This image should be hyperlinked to take the children immediately to a simple login page.
This product is aimed at junior high school students and provides books that are more difficult. To highlight the difference between this product and TumbleBook Library, the image for this product should contain a teen demonstrating the use of a more challenging book.
This product provides access to audio recordings of over 1000 books. The books offered here are aimed at older readers. For this I would show a university student with a pair of headphones listening to a book.
Each image should provide a link for subscribers to be taken directly to a login page. The pictures providing the links to the subsequent pages could be artfully arranged in a creative manner or laid out side by side. The font and colouring should be the same to provide uniformity and a visual cue that they are related products. At the bottom of the page there should be link for people who want to sign up for a free trial as well as a link to learn more.
If you click on the TumbleBooks at the top of the page link you are taken to a page that contains a lot of information (seen below). This page may be okay for adults to navigate, however, in my experience students have often found this site difficult to navigate. I would suggest that there should be a separate page for students containing only the essential information: a place for login details, featured books and a search function. This would hopefully simplify it and make it more user friendly for young students.
Overall I enjoy using this site with my students. They have a great time exploring the books and playing games. However, I feel with the suggestions I mentioned the site would gain more users and help to improve the overall experience.
Screen shot of TumbleBooks main page taken using Skitch
Children using the computer by San Jose Library found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed
IMG_4950 by bionicteaching found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed
Ich bin ein tourister by tstadler found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed
Screen shot of TumbleBooks login page taken using Skitch