Today’s interview is with Yen C. Lim of Pic-See. Please check out their website, Facebook and Twitter. Pic-See™ is an interactive and incentive driven visual communication system for children with early special or specific learning needs.
Thank you for participating our interview, Yen. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My background is in Psychology and I am completing my post graduate degree currently. I had a chance to work with a family and do early intervention program with a child who had autism during my graduate work at the University of Sydney, when I reflected on my time with this family I didn’t realize how much of an influence the family had to work on the program. Be sure to look at my video below to learn a little bit about me and the company.
The idea for this App was conceived 15 months ago, late one night as I watched my amazing but exhausted husband, cut out dozens of pictures that he had printed and laminated after his students had gone home for the day. He had had a particularly challenging day and wanted to introduce some more visual sequences into his classroom. So after a long day of teaching, meetings, calls to parents and report writing, he stayed back after school, located all the images he needed (over the internet and a CD-based library of images), cut them out and laminated them before heading home to re-cut and Velcro them for use. I offered to lend him a hand as I noticed the frequency of his yawns increasing. As we got chatting and our production line of cutting the images, cutting Velcro and sticking the Velcro pieces to the laminated pictures was streamlined, my thoughts drifted back to my time as an ABA therapist. At the time, I hadn’t considered how much time, energy and money the family must have invested in producing the vast library of visuals we used day-to-day in therapy. I then started to think of all the thousands of parents, carers, teachers and therapists around the world using laminated visuals, and I thought, “Surely, there has to be an easier way!” The original concept behind Pic-See was to make it easier to construct and implement visuals, so valuable time and energy would not be wasted. Rather, invested in what matters most to dedicated parents, teachers and therapists that is engaging and connecting with those they care for.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
As a full time student my skills and time were limited to learn how to develop an app. But I really did feel like the concept could help many people. So I designed the original concept and slowly added to it. I then worked with a graphic artist to develop our characters, an animator to create “Pic-See Land” and finally worked with Art of Multimedia in Sydney to create the app.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
Integrating several functions into one sleek app.
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
My husband, Chris McDonald a special needs teacher, has been my source of inspiration and strength for Pic-See. My family – mum and dad, mother-in-law, sister and her partner provided endless support including lunches and dinners over the last 3 years while I have been studying. My two dogs have given me numerous cuddles across the project. My friends have also been amazing in their enthusiasm for my project. A close friend came up with the name and subsequent brand “Pic-See”, whilst another passionate couple, carers of their beautiful son with downs syndrome, were involved in numerous stages of testing.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
I hope this is just the beginning. I have plans to develop an expressive App and make Pic-See more interactive with a suite of educational/therapeutic components depending on what our community of Pic-See friends would find helpful.
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
We love our FB community that has been steadily building and have received some magnificent feedback, which I have tried to incorporate into our first update.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
The process of developing and getting Pic-See to the market has been challenging, and a very steep learning curve. It has required perseverance, patience and a willingness to venture into the unknown. Having said this, it has been a thoroughly rewarding professional and personal adventure. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”. Having a great idea for an App is definitely the first step. But deciding to take the plunge, back yourself and actually get the App made, is arguably the most difficult.
Get it made locally and get involved intimately in the design/development process. This way you can express your vision and fine tune as a team.
Make sure the people you are dealing with understand what the app is about and who is going to be using it.
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!