Today we’re interviewing Susanne of ThenQ, an iOS app development company based in The Netherlands, and we’re discussing their adorable picture book app called Tummy which is the first of the Pansjo series. You can learn more about Pansjo on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to seeing the new titles in the series!
Hi Susanne! Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Susanne van Sambeeck, a mom of two teenage daughters (12 and 17). I’m Dutch, living in Belgium. I am a copywriter, columnist and PR & communications consultant. As I think that books and reading are very important and fun, especially for young children, I thought of combining forces with the expertise of my husband who’s professionally involved in e-learning. We decided to produce a series of picture book apps for toddlers and preschoolers. The first one of the Pansjo series will be available in the App Store on December 21.
How did the idea for your app come about?
I think the iPad and iPhone (and of course iPod touch) are incredible interesting and functional devices to have around in the house. They make our lives more easy and you can have a lot of fun with it. It’s easy and simple to handle. Even toddlers know how to use them. There are loads of cute videos on youtube to prove this. This inspired us to develop a picturebook app, especially for the iPad and iPhone. The kids can help Pansjo, the main character of the app in the story. The children interact in the book. The first title is called Tummy, it is about being hungry and what Pansjo can do to make his grumbling tummy quiet again. We choose for animations on every page, interactions and sound effects everywhere. We payed special attention to the very easy to use menu for our target group. The coloring pages are also very much appreciated and easy to use.
How long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
We started last March writing the story and creating the main character and the app is now ready for sale in the App Store (to be released on December 21) in six languages.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
We hired a professional developer.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
The timing of the animations and interactions with the voice over in six different languages was probably the hardest obstacle in the development process. Finding someone in Japan to check the the voice over and text in Japanese, I also remember as stressy. I do speak and know how to write Dutch, French, English and German (not perfect of course), but Japanese is something I do not deal with every day :)
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
We have some friends, family and business relations who are very interested in the process. The developer and my Apple friends around us were of great help to us as well. But in the end, it was a process of exploring new techniques, new markets, new approaches. Which was an intense, but great thing to do. But our work is not finished yet. Now that the picture book app is ready, the real work starts. Have the Pansjo app noticed in the app store.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
Tummy is the first edtion in the Pansjo series. We have plans to develop more Pansjo adventures in the near future!
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
Be aware that having an app in the app store is cool. But if you want to sell the app, put great effort in making the app noticed. There are almost 600.000 apps in the app store available. So, there are a lot of competitors!