A day in the life of a kids app designer

My average day consists of juggling many disciplines, meaning I’m constantly switching ‘heads’ to tackle all the different tasks I need to get done. There are so many aspects to being an app developer – and as I’m used to seeing a project through from start to finish and I like variety, I find it suits me! I’m currently making fun, educational apps for preschool kids, which I’m doing for 2 reasons. Firstly, I enjoy drawing and animating cute, Japanese inspired characters, and secondly, this age group requires the right level of programming that I’m can handle. If your audience is above the age of 5, the level of gameplay and expectation quickly rises!

Creating an app has a number of phases, but since I handle everything, I often tackle many of the jobs in one day, which could be: planning, illustration, UI design, icon design, animation, sound editing, video editing, coding, testing, research and marketing. Research is a hugely time consuming but important part of what we do, because designing for touch screen devices like the iPad is very new and constantly changing.

I had worked as a freelance Flash animator in London agencies for many years, but Flash as an online platform is sadly in decline. Barely a year ago I hadn’t even coded a button in AS3, but when I heard that it was now possible to create iPhone, iPad and Android apps in Flash and Adobe Air, I bit the bullet and decided to learn code, and bought an Apple developer license.

The App seller account setup was complicated, so I recommend that anyone wanting to make apps should think long term, create a brand and make a variety of quality apps in order to get noticed. Sales from app downloads won’t pay the bills overnight, so a lot of patience is needed.

The appstore is an extremely competitive market, and my first app, an interactive eBook story called ‘Vlad’s Vampire Bats’ quickly disappeared into the ‘Appstore black hole.’ There are thousands of children’s book apps out there, and customers are overwhelmed and spoilt by the choice! After 6 months, with several apps on the go, I released my second app Frosby Learning Games – a more commercial preschool app, containing a range of diverse learning activities, teaching colours, counting, size and dress-up games. Thankfully, Apple featured my app so far in the USA, UK, and China, and Australia, which was a huge boost! Getting featured by apple in iTunes, is the best advert you can get, and it’s usually the difference between getting 1 sale a day to 100+ sales a day.

But then comes the next challenge – to maintain your position in the charts. This means telling as many people about your app as possible, which in my case means running promo code giveaways on mum’s blogs and Educational based Facebook pages. Another aspect is feedback from your customers. People have commented that they would like more games in my app, so I now have to give them what they want!

I make my apps as polished as possible, because I want my brand Frosby to stand out as high quality software. I use a good microphone and I hire an actress to record good quality voiceover and sound effects. I believe games based learning and eBooks to be a growing market, and the continued success of Apple’s devices will nurture that. I also hope that clients will consider using Flash in the future to make apps for their promotions, and bring their new or existing work to this exciting new platform.

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