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Maria Fernanda Izaguirre
Creative Consulting Firm

Yeebee's World— A multimedia platform to learn languages

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Between 2003 and 2009, I played a pivotal role as a Product Designer with GV Enterprise Inc., contributing to the development of an innovative multimedia platform for language learning through video games. This project, known as Yeebee's World, made a significant impact as it became one of the first video game-based softwares to receive approval from the New York Board of Education for its implementation in public schools.




Play and learn!


In a captivating intergalactic tale, Yeebee, a spirited Galaxy Trotter from planet Bugwua, embarks on an extraordinary journey alongside her loyal companion, Verbitz. Their intrepid quest takes them across multiple universes, driven by the curiosity to immerse themselves in new languages and cultures.


Guided by a noble mission, Yeebee's ultimate purpose is to assimilate this newfound knowledge and carry it like a precious treasure to the Bugwua's public library, overseen by the venerable Elders. These four wise guardians embody the core principles that define the very essence of Yeebee's World: Education, Entertainment, Culture, and Values (EECV).


As Yeebee's thrilling odyssey unfolds, players immerse into a universe teeming with wonders and challengers, where language learning becomes an exhilarating adventure filled with joy and sense of purpose. Yeebee and Verbitz unlock the keys to communication and understanding, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of young players and fostering a love for learning that transcends the boundaries of space and time.

Meanwhile, on Earth...


My responsibilities as Product Designer involved leading a team of skilled professionals in digital design, collaborating on the creation of engaging video games, and developing complementary materials aimed at enhancing vocabulary learning and promoting reading in multiple languages.


Due to our dedication and hard work, Yeebee's World successfully earned approval from the New York City Board of Education, positioning it as a groundbreaking educational tool for language learning in public school environments. The project continued to leave a lasting impression until its conclusion around 2015 due to technological challenges, under the stewardship of GV Enterprise Inc.


Macromedia Flash, a popular multimedia platform known for its interactive content and animation capabilities, faced significant shifts in its trajectory. In 2005, Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia, incorporating Flash into its suite of creative software. This acquisition initially strengthened Flash's presence in the digital world. However, with the advent of HTML5 and the rise of mobile devices, Flash encountered compatibility issues and security vulnerabilities. Consequently, Apple made a pivotal decision in 2010, opting not to support Flash on its iOS devices due to performance concerns and battery drain. This move led to a gradual decline in Flash usage, as other tech giants followed suit, eventually resulting in Adobe announcing the end of Flash support in 2017. The once revolutionary technology, which once dominated the web, was ultimately phased out, making way for more efficient and secure alternatives.


As a testament to the significance of this project, I have carefully preserved visual references from my archives, documenting the remarkable journey from its inception in Caracas, Venezuela, to its implementation and recognition in New York, USA.


In this study case, I will delve into the challenges we faced, the innovative solutions we implemented, and the outstanding results we achieved during the development and implementation of Yeebee's World. Explore how this unique multimedia platform paved the way for immersive language learning experiences in the education sector.


Highlighted Services

  • Product Design for Web, Multimedia, and Print

  • Game Production and Development (Versions 1.0 and 2.0)

  • Marketing Assets



Product Design

Video Games

The Hangar Game focuses on teaching colors and numbers.

Version 1.0 was developed in Macromedia Director (2003) | Version 2.0 was developed in Macromedia Flash (2004).


Yeebee's World game pack encompassed a delightful array of interactive missions, each designed to facilitate engaging language learning experiences. The pack included "Hangar," a captivating mission centered around colors and numbers; "Amazon Mission," an enthralling quest to discover various animals; "All You Can Eat," a delectable adventure to explore foods and beverages; and "Careers," an educational mission delving into different job roles.


The product featured thematic video games, complemented by a series of mini-games functioning as quizzes to assess the acquired knowledge. Additionally, memory cards were included to reinforce memorization, while activity books offered opportunities for vocabulary practice through enjoyable coloring exercises. To promote reading proficiency, a delightful comic book was integrated, accompanied by enchanting coloring posters to further enhance the group learning experience in the classroom. To ensure seamless implementation in classrooms, a comprehensive teacher guide was thoughtfully included, providing educators with valuable resources to optimize the learning journey.



Physical Games

Memory cards for the classroom

Memory cards for matching words with images


Prints

Coloring Books and posters for the classroom

Coloring books designed for individual activities


Coloring poster designed for group activities




Marketing Assets

Merchandise and packaging design

Merchandising

Product packaging design for retail



Background History


Problem

When Hery Garófalo and Ross Vinograd approached me in 2003 with the idea of creating an educational product based on video games for children to be marketed in New York, they faced several significant challenges. One of the main problems was the lack of a clear roadmap for developing an innovative and effective game platform that could be seamlessly integrated into the education system. Additionally, they needed to ensure that the product would meet the rigorous standards of the New York Board of Education to gain approval for implementation in public schools.


Another crucial issue was assembling a talented and skilled team capable of not only creating captivating video games but also crafting complementary learning materials, such as activity books and interactive games for the classroom, that would enhance language learning and reading promotion for children in multiple languages. Finding individuals with the right expertise and passion for educational design was proving to be a daunting task.


Solution

To address the challenges faced during the development of Yeebee's World, I assumed the role of Product Designer and took charge of devising a robust solution.

  • Comprehensive Research and Development: The first step was extensive research to understand the needs and preferences of the target audience – children in public schools. We delved into the best practices in educational gaming and language learning to lay a solid foundation for our product. This research formed the basis for the development of Yeebee's World, ensuring that it would be engaging, effective, and aligned with educational objectives.

  • Building a Dream Team: As the leader of Aranyé Visual Expansion, my design studio, I meticulously handpicked a team of highly talented and passionate individuals. This team comprised young Venezuelan talents and multimedia design experts who shared a common vision of making a positive impact on education. The diverse skill set within the team enabled us to create a captivating and well-rounded product.

  • Iterative Design and Testing: We adopted an iterative design approach, developing prototypes and conducting thorough testing with real students and educators. This allowed us to gather valuable feedback and make continuous improvements, ensuring that the product catered to the specific needs and preferences of the target audience.

  • Complementary Learning Materials: Recognizing the importance of supporting traditional learning methods, we created activity books and supplementary materials that seamlessly complemented the video games. These materials were designed to enhance vocabulary learning and reading skills, providing a holistic learning experience for students.

  • Compliance with Education Standards: To secure approval from the New York Board of Education, we made sure that Yeebee's World adhered to their stringent educational standards. We collaborated with the GV Enterprise educators and educational experts to align the product with curriculum objectives and learning outcomes, ensuring that it would be an asset to teachers and students alike.

By addressing these challenges head-on and implementing a well-rounded and innovative approach, Yeebee's World emerged as a pioneering video game-based educational platform that successfully earned recognition in The City Record, Official Journal of The City of New York, Volume CXXXVI, Number 177, (September, 2009). This achievement paved the way for a groundbreaking tool to revolutionize language learning in public schools, leaving a lasting impact on the American public education system.


The incredible team that stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in this endeavor included:

  • Maria F. Izaguirre— Product Designer

  • Pasqual Livrieri— Developer

  • Herman Herrera— Developer

  • Miguel Monteagudo— Graphic Designer

  • Angelita Castañeda— Graphic Designer

  • Yare Acosta— Design Assistant

Yeebee's World illustrations were made independently by Alessandro Gianna. Later collaborators included Venezuelan engineer Carlos Gómez.


Together, we forged a lasting legacy of innovation and educational impact, as we nurtured young minds and empowered future generations through the engaging experience of Yeebee's World.


Ross Vinograd from GV Enterprise presenting Yeebee's World on Channel 3, New York, USA

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