Quelle Histoire Aventures

Outdoor adventures to learn history as a family.

Quelle Histoire is a French publishing company of books and applications teaching history to children between the ages of 6 and 12. During my last year of study in UX Design at Gobelins Paris, my project team and I helped Quelle Histoire to come up with an innovative concept and tackle the interactive educational games market.

Date: 2018
Role: UX Designer
Team: 5 UX Designers


How might we use Quelle Histoire’s thousands of character illustrations and AR + image recognition technologies to help children learn history while experiencing incredible adventures?

Client request

Quelle Histoire asked us to create an application that, like Pokemon Go, would give children the opportunity to freely find and collect Quelle Histoire’s characters in the real world. The end goal is to encourage children to explore the places they visit while learning history.

User research

Before working on the solution, we needed to acquire a better understanding of our users and theoretical knowledge on the following themes:

Habits of families

Understand the habits and expectations of parents and children about outings, entertainment, games, and learning.

→ Interviews with families in their homes

Children at the museum

Understand how children and parents behave during cultural visits.

→ Shadowing in museums and literature review

Learning process

Identify best practices to facilitate learning in children aged 6 to 12.

→ Literature review

Devices usage

Understand how children use electronic devices, the limits set by parents, and the recommendations of experts in the field.

→ Literature review


Identify the mechanics that make an educational game attractive.

→ Literature review

Main insights

The insights gathered from the user interviews made us realize that the mechanics of Pokemon Go were not suitable for our target audience.

We created design principles based on the key findings to guide our thinking when designing the solution.

Children need a clearly defined environment, otherwise, it is very difficult for parents to manage them at play.
Design principle

A guided experience delimited in time and space.

Kids already spend a lot of time on devices, and parents don't want their kids to be focused on them when they're out for safety reasons.
Design principle

Grounded in the real world, the application plays an occasional moderation role.

Both children and parents should enjoy the activity, otherwise it will not be repeated. Children show a strong interest in investigation games and puzzles.
Design principle

A playful experience that involves the whole family.


Through the interviews, we identified behavioral variables and distributed the interviewed families on several axes based on these variables. These two similar behavioral patterns gave rise to our personas.

The spontaneous The initiators
  • Frequency of outings: low
  • Use of devices: medium
  • Learning independence: high
  • Frequency of outings: high
  • Use of devices: high
  • Learning independence: low

Refining the target

We found that before age 8, children have not yet developed time references because they have not yet started history in school. They are also still learning to read. To quickly launch the application, we focused on the target with the most potential, families with children aged 8 to 12.


Quelle Histoire Aventures offers families treasure hunts to rediscover their city and learn history in a fun way through an application that combines augmented reality and geolocation. To facilitate children’s learning, the adventures are contextualized, scripted, and several historical events are included to punctuate the experience.

An adventure is composed of 6 to 10 quests. In each quest, a challenge is issued by one of the Quelle Histoire characters. The family collects the character when the challenge is met!

User flows


We organized a workshop to quickly explore a lot of UI concepts via the “6 to 1” activity and then converge to a shared vision.


We split up the user flows to design and I worked on the adventure screens. Given the time constraints, we didn’t want to spend a lot of time designing a high-fidelity user interface, our goal was to produce something good enough to allow kids to project themselves and thus gather feedback on the experience.

Before heading into Sketch, I started by thinking about how users could navigate between screens and establish the information architecture using low-fi wireframes.

Concept tests

We wanted to validate the interest of the families as soon as possible. We created an InVision prototype and asked 5 families to experience the adventure we had scripted in real-life situations on the streets of Paris.

Main observations
Design solution
The challenges were suitable for children who had studied history at school or knew the characters. However, the younger children had some difficulties due to their lack of historical knowledge.
Adapt the difficulty of the challenges to the players by giving optional clues to find the right answers.
The players used the clue and what was around them (a fountain, street numbers…) to orient themselves, instead of constantly looking at the map. They put the smartphone aside when moving between the different steps.
This observation, although positive, is biased because the prototype did not present a real interactive map, but only a static one, which may have discouraged players from using it throughout the course. A second test with a higher-fidelity prototype should therefore be considered.
A 30-minute adventure was not long enough for families. Many parents told us that they would be willing to pay for longer adventures that could become a real activity.
Extend the length of the adventure by adding 2 or 3 characters to collect and increasing the amount of time spent between each quest to make it an integral part of the adventure.

Usability tests

We finally ran usability tests to ensure the application was easy to use. They took place with 5 participants in a laboratory equipped with an eye-tracking device. According to Jakob Nielsen, testing with 5 users is enough to identify 85% of usability issues.

Main observations
Design solution
Accessing adventures from the map view is confusing and the ability to switch from the map view to the list view is not discovered.
Rework the homepage to show new and popular nearby adventures.
The icon indicating the length of the adventure is not understood and suggests that it is the distance to the starting point.
Replace the icon with a more meaningful one.
The padlocks representing locked achievements are perceived as “anxiety-provoking” and don’t make it clear how to unlock them.
Create an illustration for each achievement, grey it out if it is not yet unlocked, and give the possibility to know how to get it.


A unique concept for an interactive educational game that appeals to families emerged from this project. The final prototype was used to raise funds to fully design and develop the app, and to convince the first cities and regions to create their outdoor adventures.

The whole team is extremely satisfied of this collaboration with the Gobelins students. The recommendation produced by the team will be used to find the first partners of Quelle Histoire Aventures.

Sébastien Lucas Communication Director @Quelle Histoire


This project demonstrated the importance of investing time in user research to understand their habits and needs. We gained invaluable insights that allowed us to create a unique game that both children and parents enjoy.

It would be interesting to conduct further research, as there may be additional opportunities in the relationship between grandparents and their children.