Level-UP! was commissioned as both a television programme and a website for children between the ages of six and twelve. As a 360-degree broadcast / web experience, the website needed to drive visitors to the show and vice versa, the objective being for the site to encourage these interactions through features such as games, community interaction and user-generated content, all aimed at an audience for which privacy and safety on-line are paramount.
The site and television programme were developed concurrently, meaning that many features designed for online transferred to broadcast. This ensured an important synergy between the two that was key to guaranteeing the success of both. Viewers of the television programme were encouraged to take part in online activities, with a selection of engaging tools acting as the conduit for the interaction between the show and site. Children could vote on current issues and help others solve everyday problems by supporting each other with helpful advice and tips.
Key to personalisation at the site was an avatar builder within the a virtual PDA. Each child was able to customise these to suit their personality and then use the PDA to keep track of their activities and friends. To encourage repeat visits and interaction players earned points for activities which could be used to purchase a range of items to customise their avatar and PDA. Integration with BBC systems ensured that all progress was saved so children could pick up where they left off on their next visit. To ensure that the site delivered on its remit of encouraging good citizenship, all games were built around civic responsibility. Players were rewarded for being community-minded and helping others, unlike the more traditional destructive take of many games aimed at younger audiences.
The Level-UP! site quickly became one of the most successful sites at the BBC to make use of their Single Sign-On system, far surpassing the numbers set by other SSO sites. Over the 13 week run the show was broadcast, the site achieved over half a million registered users between 6-13 years of age.