Today’s interview is with Michelangelo of independent app development company Kidoodle Apps. Their first app ‘Pirate Scribblebeard’s Treasure‘ has won them an award in the Adobe AIR App Challenge for Best Entertainment App. Well deserved, I must say! You’ll also find Kidoodle Apps on Facebook and Twitter.
G’day Michelangelo! Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been a digital designer for over 15 years. I have spent much of my career designing interactive media for ad agencies and other corporate clients. I’ve always loved gadgets and have always dreamed of making my own apps. My son and wife really inspired me to make this first app, Pirate Scribblebeard’s Treasure… and there are more to come!
How did the idea for your app come about?
My son had a lot of doodling books – where the drawing is sort of started for you and you finish it. My wife actually makes some little one whenever we go on trips and such and they really inspired me. I thought “How can I evolve this idea in a modern, digital way yet keep the child’s imagination as part of the process?” I ended up building a prototype and my son really loved it.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
I had the idea probably a year or two before I began to build it out. About a year ago I decided to leave the design firm I started and strike out on my own with the intention of bringing this first app to life. But there were many stops and starts. I probably spent about 3 months on it, but over the span of a year.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
I did it myself. I also did almost all the voices and the artwork. I love playing in code as much as I love to draw and do art so it was a project where i felt like I utilized a lot of my skills.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
Making enough time to really produce something I am proud of and juggling client work to pay the bills while I build the app. Confidence is another big one – having the confidence in your idea to help you talk about it and share it, and motivate yourself to power through the difficulties and make it happen.
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
My wife and son have been amazing. They both did some voices on the app. I was also really inspired by my wife’s lovely illustration work. Both of them, along with a handful of friends, really helped me have the confidence to do this.
So what are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
I am working on an update for this one and also starting on the story for a new app. I also have a million ideas for more apps for kids… I just need to clone myself a few times!
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
Don’t underestimate the effort in marketing your app. Also, find an idea you can really pour your heart into. test. test. test.
What an inspiration you are to the developer world Michelangelo! You must be very proud of your achievements thus far. I know my boys and I can’t wait to see your next project!