Disney Storytelling App


Disney wanted to offer a way for families to tell & share their own stories. They set about prototyping variations before acquiring an iOS app with the desired functionality.

Disney tested the acquired app with prospective users which surfaced many usability issues. They brought me on to conduct a heuristic evaluation and redesign the underlying app structure and interaction design.

The project lasted 9 months and included a creative director, four visual designers and one other interaction designer.

Story App Before

Story Creation Before. User interface elements dominated the experience and many non-standard elements made the user interface difficult to learn to use, e.g., filmstrip at bottom.

Rearrange Mode Before. The screen above is an example of one of the many modes in the application before the redesign. 

Story App After

Notable design changes I introduced included:

  • Limited modes. Rearrange & delete could be accessed directly from the story rather than a mode.
  • Improved Scaleability. Introduced “+” to offer more scaleable solution for adding content.
  • Leveraged the OS. Filmstrip replaced with standard iOS photo selection.
  • Simplified sharing. Changed to familiar "compose" email structure.
Added contextual user education.

Added contextual user education.

Enabled direct access to editing options.

Enabled direct access to editing options.

Created discoverable & scaleable solution for adding content.

Created discoverable & scaleable solution for adding content.

Simplified & standardized sharing approach.

Simplified & standardized sharing approach.

Usability Testing

Before finalizing the designs we were able to conduct usability testing with prospective users. In addition to working closely with the research recruiters, I created the study plan, ran the sessions and wrote up the final report. Notable findings:

  • Some touch interactions weren't easily discovered.
  • More themes and image editing options were desired.
  • There was significant interest in sharing via Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Users did not want friends & family to be forced to register for Disney just to see their stories.

Final Designs

Story editing view.

Story editing view with "+" menu displayed. 

Users could apply a theme to their story.  "Premium" themes with Disney content were available through in-app purchase.

Users could post their stories on Facebook or share with friends & family via email.


The redesigned application helped families create & share millions of stories.  For several weeks, the application was the most downloaded app on iTunes.