Posted By paulmayson / 26th December 2012
Just in time for all of those new Christmas iPhones and iPads, Apple’s iTunes App Store just accepted the “How Your House Works” app we built for John Wiley & Sons. It’s pretty cool – very visual and easy to find what you’re looking for. Repeat toilet troubles? Well, we included a “favorites” button so you can create a list of your favorite areas of interest. A last minute addition of some social networking functionality lets users tell the world what they are fixing. Good times.
Posted By paulmayson / 15th May 2012
I know. I know. Every time we release a new app, I say it’s our best to date. But this one is special because it came about from failure and rejection.
Since 2009, we’ve been building Flash Card and Self Test apps for John Wiley & Sons’ leading higher ed titles so students could review key terms and concepts anywhere. In all, we did about 20 apps. They all looked the same and behaved the same, but just contained different content. And that’s where we ran into trouble.
In January, we submitted two more apps for review and they were rejected. Not because of any scandalous reason, but because we had so many that were similar and Apple felt we were cluttering up the store. First reaction, my head almost exploded. An hour later, I kinda realized, they had a point. So, the next thing was, well, we either overcome this or get out of the Flash Card/Self Test app business. We went with the “overcome this” option.
After a quick huddle up, we looked at how other higher ed publishers were handling this, and couldn’t find a good example. Actually, we couldn’t find any example. So we looked for businesses with no relation to education and found a few that did “in app purchasing” really well. That was it – we’d build a container where students could buy and run the apps they needed. It would be a container of self study tools. We ended up calling it that Wiley Business Study Center, but during design and development, we just called it “the container app.” Like most other ideas, it started in a 99 cent spiral notebook. I know, it’s high tech and your mind is probably blown right now:
Of course, some of this never made it through to the final app, but a lot of it did. This was well before we decided to make it and all the apps inside “universal” so they’d look great on the iPhone or iPad.
We laid out the plan and Wiley accepted – and they were amazing through the process. Together we fleshed out the look, logic and behavior of the new container app. It was a lot of work. A lot of proofing. A LOT of proofing. And they were insanely patient. In a nutshell, here’s what we did:
- Built a new universal container app
- Recoded 14 existing apps so everything was the latest and greatest
- Reworked the images for the new high-res displays
- Created 6 NEW apps
- Made all 20 apps universal
- Added a new feature to ALL of the self test apps – “Review All Chapters”
So when I see this app available on the iTunes Store, I don’t see one app, but 21 separate apps that at times felt like 42 apps since testing on both iPhone and iPad.
Time to celebrate!
Posted By paulmayson / 25th April 2012
The new app we built for John Wiley & Sons just went live in the iTunes store. I’m excited about this one because, well, on my ever growing ‘todo’ list, “renovate the kitchen” floats around mid-list. So, I had a dog in this hunt. I also liked the way it came out. So much so, I made a quick little video overview of the iPhone version:
I’ll cover how that video was created in a separate post, but for now, a little plug-o-la:
The app is made for both iPhone & iPad (the iPad version has some really nice background art) – aka a Universal app. It’s also available for Android. Looks like the publisher has it on sale, so if this is up your alley, pick it up now at $3.99.
Time for a small celebration. Oh – we have a few more apps in the works and should be hitting the stores in the next few weeks.
Posted By paulmayson / 26th January 2012
Two years ago we launched our first iPhone app. At the time I wasn’t sure how big the mobile Apple world would become. Well, it turns out, huge. On Tuesday evening apple announced their quarterly results and the sales were staggering:
- 37.04 million iPhones sold
- 15.43 million iPad tablets sold, doubling from a year earlier
- 315 million iOS devices sold total
People everywhere are staring into these glowing screens around the clock. It’s a good idea to be on them. For some folks, an app is the way to go, for others, a website fits the bill, and sometimes the answer is all of the above. Whatever direction you’re headed, we can help you not only with the technical stuff, but also figure out the right direction.
A related note: last night I took a quick inventory of our app work and was shocked to see almost 20 apps have passed through our digital factory doors. Finally there’s a place to check them out on the site – help yourself.
Posted By paulmayson / 3rd November 2011
The Emoji Keyboard tip went over pretty well, so I thought I’d throw another iOS 5 time saver your way. Now you can create text shortcuts right in iOS 5. For example, let’s say that you constantly type “Have a great weekend!”. Well, now you can set up a simple text shortcut so all you’ll have to do is type “wweek” and, tada!, the “Have a great weekend!” phrase pops in just like when spell check automatically corrects a word. It may not seems like a big deal, but all of those seconds spent typing add up. Make thing easy on yourself… Here’s how to set them up:
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Posted By paulmayson / 27th October 2011
The new iPhone was released a week or so ago, and with it, a new operating system: iOS 5. Lots of cool things here including iCloud and more. But there are some little things that might have gone under your radar. Here’s one that I’ve shown to about 7 people now personally, and each time I get the same reaction… ”That’s stupid.” And then they go on to use this feature religiously. So, without further build up, here it is:
Add the “emoji” keyboard to your iPhone. It lets you make all those cute emoticons in your texts, emails, and more. ”That’s stupid.” Yeah, well just set it up and see what you think…
Click “Settings” on the Home screen.
Next, press “General”…
On the next screen, scroll down a bit and press “Keyboard”.
Almost there. Scroll down and touch “International Keyboards”.
Press “Add New Keyboard…”
You’ll see a LONG list of keyboards here. The one you want is “Emoji”. Press that one.
That’s it. You’re ready to go. Now when entering text in something like a text message, you’ll see a new globe character on the bottom left of your keyboard (and your spacebar is shorter). If you press that new key, you’ll flip over to the emoji keyboard revealing a HUGE selection of new icons you can send to your pals. Here’s the payoff:
By the way, you don’t need to have the new iPhone 4S to do this. As long as you upgraded to iOS 5, you’re set. Oh yeah – this works on the iPad as well.