Today’s interview is with Megan Sutton of Tactus Therapy Solutions, the developer of some wonderful apps that assist with speech-language therapy for people of all ages. You can learn more about Tactus Therapy Solutions on their website or by following them on Facebook and Twitter.
Hi Megan, thanks for participating in our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist working with stroke survivors in inpatient rehabilitation. I live in Vancouver, BC in Canada.
How did the idea for your apps come about?
I started using the iPad with my patients and noticed how many of the apps for addressing simple language skills were made for preschool children. The animations, childish voices and sounds, and design was disheartening for my adult clients, so I set about developing apps for adults with disabilities. The great thing is how the special needs community of families, therapists, and teachers have embraced these apps for older children who also need work at this level without childish graphics. Language is language, whether you’re learning or restoring, and our apps have evidence-based therapy techniques for customizable speech therapy programs wherever you are.
How long was the process from the original idea to the release of your first app?
I first used an iPad in February 2011, and in March we incorporated Tactus Therapy Solutions. Our first app, Comprehension TherAppy, was released in June. We now have 4 apps (Naming TherAppy, Writing TherAppy, and Reading TherAppy) and plans for many more.
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
A good friend of mine is a computer programmer, so we decided to form our company as a partnership. It meant we had very few upfront expenses and were equally invested in the success of the apps. We work closely on support issues and updates to keep improving our products.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
The hardest thing has been maintaining a full-time workload in my job as a SLP while developing apps and running a company. I get so excited by developing apps, but it’s important to remember that I still have to take care of myself, my family, my work, and my friends.
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
My husband has been wonderful, helping with photos, graphics, and content as well as the household tasks while I work. Apple makes it fairly easy for developers, providing us with a 24/7 worldwide marketplace to sell our software. My partner and programmer is so easy to work with, helping me keep calm. My colleagues have been encouraging, and of course it is always great to read a nice review or hear from a user who benefits from the app.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
We have a full line of apps planned for the future, making speech therapy exercises available to anyone with a tablet for an affordable price. We have learned so much from the first few apps, so hopefully it will go smoothly!
What advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
I don’t want to discourage anyone – you can definitely do it, but don’t underestimate how much work it can be. Graphics, sounds, programming, marketing, support, taxes,…. My advice is to minimize upfront costs as it can take awhile to see sales pick up and even longer for Apple to pay you! You have to be prepared to help with support, so make sure your developer is available.