The New Goldrush? Have you ever thought of Making an App?

by Kevin R Burns

The New Goldrush? Have you ever thought of making an App?

Many are making apps for various applications, from dating to managing money, to losing weight and of course education. Do you have what it takes to join the New Gold Rush?

We ask Bob Coffee of Shortsnap Learning about what it is like to design and publish apps.

Bob, Is it difficult to make a good app?

There is a saying in the app designer’s community. Your first 10 apps will be terrible, so hurry up and get them out of the way. The thing about app design is that it is hard to make a good app, a good game, a fun and engaging creation. Just ask any app or game designer. Most games are actually not that good even if you have a talented team. Making educational apps is even a bit harder because we have the added burden of trying to make an engaging fun app that teaches something useful to the player.

Now you can make the argument that every successful game/app teaches something. When you play angry birds long enough you are actually learning something. Of course you are because you wouldn’t be getting better unless you didn’t learned how to fling birds across a span and knock down timber and kill pigs. But that skill really isn’t transferable to the real world. Educational apps need to teach skills for the real world while maintaining a high user experience. And that is hard to do.

Quite often digital educational materials go in the other direction and just plop educational materials onto a device without thinking of the form factor. We try to create educational experiences that are impossible to recreate on paper or with other more traditional paradigms. It only makes sense because we have a new form factor with tablets and new functionalities at our disposal with touch screen devices. Multi touch sensors, networked interconnectivity and much, much more. The future of digital educational learning materials is just getting started.

The answer to the question, is it difficult to make a good app, is to get a bunch of highly skilled people in the fields of graphics, animation, audio, educational content development and computer programing and make 10 apps together. Throw those out and then maybe, just maybe your 11th app will be good. By the way, the Chunky English series is my team’s 11th app.

About Bob Coffee

Coffee is an educator in Japan and has taught all over the archipelago. He currently teaches at a famous university in Kanagawa, Japan. He owns Shortsnap Learning where you can find his excellent apps for English Learners.

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