Interviews

Exclusive Interview With Mike Edwards, Co-Author Of The Tutors 11+ Apps Along With The App Developers – Webrich Software

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The 11+ Verbal Reasoning app contains the Methods & Techniques required to answer twenty-one Verbal Reasoning question types. With 424 individual questions and a bonus mock test section; this is the most comprehensive method and technique course available for 11+ Grammar School selection tests and Independent school common entrance examinations. Within each question type it covers all of the variances, all of the difficulty levels and with a generic approach to ensure that the course is easy to follow for both facilitator and student.

The Tutors are the App authors. In January of this year Mike Edwards/Tutor became aware of the App market and started a search for an App developer. Webrich Software were working in the education App sector and had produced Apps for IQ tests and UK Driving Theory Tests. Mike was impressed with the format of their work and believed that it would be a suitable platform for 11+ multiple choice Apps. When he approached Webrich he found that they were looking for authors to create App content, however Mike/The Tutors wanted to retain copyright ownership of their work. What followed was a reciprocal agreement to collaborate on the creation of a series of Apps.

In the following interview Mike is the co-author of The Tutors product range and Eknath is the owner and developer of Webrich Software. We hope you enjoy reading this thoroughly intriguing interview. We will be publishing a review of the app very soon, but first we wanted to find out more of the background of this app.

If you would like to download this app for yourself, you can do so here:

US$4.99/Download
UK£2.99/Download

The Beginning

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1.    Please explain how your app was originally thought of and what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?

Mike:
The Tutors have been writing resources for 11+ selection tests since 2004; our products include e-papers and interactive CD/downloads. The creation of apps was seen as a natural evolution for our product range. There is no real portability with printed papers and it is not possible for papers to be printed from a remote source. An app is an ideal solution it is an effective, compact, use anywhere, preparation and practice resource.

 

The Design

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2.    Explain the design, how you came up with the colors and themes.

Eknath:
The layout design follows Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) which lead to intuitive and user friendly interface. User should be able to carry out the tasks with minimum inputs/taps on the screen. Typically to start practice test, user needs 3 tap on iPhone and just 1 tap on iPad. This is the simplest and most user friendly implementation.

The colors and themes are inspired from golden colored papyrus which were used in ancient times for writing and reading manuscripts and books.

Mike:
The papers are written to replicate, as close as possible, the format of the actual 11+ questions as they appear on the test papers. In the App format we had to consider differences in the answering methods. Most 11+ papers are multiple choice, there are enough similarities between marking a line on an answer sheet and clicking a button on an answer option for differences to have a minimal effect.

Production Process

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3.    How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of this app?

Eknath:
The raw data was scattered among several files. It took around one month for one person to consolidate all data into an app-importable format.
Design and development took two months.

Mike:
The content of the App was originally written in 2009 as part of a published set of papers that were then converted into e-papers. Once Webrich had consolidated the data and created the app the was a process of proof reading and testing to ensure that the content was accurate and the app was user friendly bearing in mind that our main users will be 8-10 year old children.

Sales Targets

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How do you predict sales to be, is there a good solid market for this style of app?

Mike:
The UK 11+ market is strong and consistent with around 120,000 children sitting selection tests each year. Some schools have ten applicants per place therefore competition is high; it is important that when children are preparing for the tests that they have access to relevant resources. The 11+ market is a multi-million pound industry with parents paying up to £2000 to prepare children for the tests through private tuition centres, prep schools and purchase of resources.

We are currently looking at diversity for the product range and believe that the app would be marketable in the USA SSAT and English Vocabulary Development sectors; therefore creating a global app.

Obstacles

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4.    What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?

Eknath:
As said earlier, the raw data was scattered across several files as it was prepared in format which could be printed on paper and given to student to solve the questions. It was required to reformat this data in a more structured manner so that it can be easily imported into app.

Mike:
The content had been formatted in Word and Excel, then converted into pdf files. When we sent the original files to Webrich each question type consisted of three separate files plus the method and technique write-ups. The Tutors were unable to convert the files into a suitable format for the app, so all of this work was undertaken by Webrich.

Third Parties

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5.    Would you consider developing apps for third parties?

Eknath:
We do often develop apps for third parties.

Mike:
We are concentrating on converting our current product range into apps. Commercially it would not make sense for us to produce the content of a competitors app

Alternative Platforms

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6.    Would you consider developing your app on an alternative platform, such as Android?

Eknath:
Yes, the development work of Android version is already in progress and we are expecting to release it soon.

 

The App Store

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7.    What have you learnt from the App Store?

Eknath:
There are a number of lessons. App store and the iDevices are the post-PC-era devices. They can be used for casual gaming, productivity, education and several other reasons. For a developer App Store provides the best distribution platform ever to monetize on apps.

Mike:
The App store provides us with an opportunity to expand our product range and create greater exposure for our products; it keeps us at the forefront of technology developments in education. The association of our products with the Apple brand gives us a higher level of credibility.

Apple Support

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8.    Have Apple supported you well with your App development?

Eknath:
Yes, Apple has always been very very supportive. On number of occasions they have promoted our apps, helped in development related issues, co-operated in hardware matters. And they are always listening to developer suggestions.

The Future

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9.    What next, are you developing another app, would you go for the same genre again, if not which?

Eknath:
We specialize in Educational apps but we are always looking for the best ideas and not limiting ourselves to any specific genre.

Mike:
There is a second Verbal Reasoning App completed and available on the App Store, and an English 11+ App is due to be launched in the next few weeks followed by Mathematics 11+ Apps. The Tutors have written over 16,000 individual questions, all of which could be used as future app content. As mentioned above there is possibilities of diversity across our product range. Outside the 11+ style questions we have content for self-improvement apps based on positive words.

The iPhone 5

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10.    What are your thoughts on the soon to be announced iPhone 5? How will your app integrate and what will the advantages be?

Eknath:
iPhone 5 which is rumored to be a world phone (GSM+CDMA) will only help further strengthening its hold on smartphone market and for an iOS developer it will provide an opportunity for great new app ideas which sync with iCloud.

Mike:
What Eknath has just written is a foreign language to me, I am happy to leave all the technological issues in his capable hands.

The iPad 3

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11.    Similar to the above question, but based on the new iPad 3, how will your app integrate and what will the advantages be?

Eknath:
We strongly believe that iPad 3 will further penetrate into education and enterprise market. Our apps are best used on iPad. iPad is a device that every student and teacher should carry.

 

Steve Jobs

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12.    Any thoughts you might have regarding Steve Jobs’ resignation, will this affect Apple adversely, or do you think they will ride out this storm?

Eknath:
I don’t anticipate any short effects of his resignation. He is still chairman of the board. As long as Steve is around, there is nothing much to worry about.

Mike:
I think Steve Job has made his decision based on where he believes the creative process is now, as products and systems have now been developed to the point where they are dominant in the market place he can take a back seat and take care of his personal health issues without the stresses of the CEO role. It would need an apocalyptic implosion for Apple to fail with the i-devices, Apps store and associate products.

TheAppWhisperer.com

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13.    Finally, please let us know your thoughts on theappwhisperer.com. Have we helped you market your app, have you been pleased with our service and would you recommend us?

Mike:
The reason I chose to approach the theappwhisperer is because I was impressed with the layout and content of the website, particularly as it had a leaning towards the UK market. Since the initial content they have been helpful, prompt with delivery and professional in their work. The marketing effectiveness of the interview, review and banner advertising will be judged on related sales of the App. I have already recommended theappwhisperer to a number of associates and will be happy to continue to do so.

 

Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website— TheAppWhisperer.com— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - TheAppWhispererPrintSales.com has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: joanne@theappwhisperer.com