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Today’s interview is with Tímea Fülöp of Niki and Jazmin. Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

timeaTímea, thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Hungarian mother of 4 years old twin girls living in Finland. I felt that it would be such a great gift for my daughters to write children’s book about the stories from their life – as a nice memory from their childhood. They very often ask me now – at age 4 – “Mommy, tell us about your childhood, tell us some stories what did you do as a child!” And even though I have a lot of lovely memories I don’t remember too much from the times I was in their age. I hope I can help them a little bit with my stories. I believe that the stories I write and the applications I make can help other kids to learn new things and they might even find some events familiar, similar to their life.

I always loved drawing, though I never studied in any art school. My drawings are very simplistic, but I feel that it goes pretty well with my children’s stories. I have studied computer science, though I didn’t work as a developer in the last 10 years, so it took me a while to catch up again writing applications.

How did the idea for your app come about?
My little girls inspire me and every day there are some events around them, which I believe would be worth to capture somehow.
My daughters love to draw and they always ask me to draw something, they often ask me to draw a picture about them. Since I also love drawing I started to make some sketches about them as cartoon characters and slowly put some stories together.
I have wrote and illustrated the stories first and published those in iBook format. I instantly felt that the extra spice is missing, the stories need some interaction to come to life. My husband, Erik has showed me several interactive books and he also studied the development platforms what could used for our interactive storybooks. When we started the development of our first storybook, The Toyswing, when we started to learn using the tools we saw really nice example applications and I thought I will put an extra game to the end of our storybooks. So we have a memory game in The Toyswing. Already during the development of The Toyswing I came up with the idea of making a Sticker Album and the Spot The Difference on some scenes from the stories of Niki and Jazmin.

And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
Our first app, The Toyswing took most of the time, it was about 4-5 months from coming up with the idea and releasing the app, but we were learning how to use the tools and not to mention to refresh my rusty programming skills. The Sticker Album and Spot The Difference took about 2-4 weeks. Our latest storybook, the Little Patient was also a few weeks.

Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
I got a lot of help from my husband, Erik in the beginning. He helped me writing a framework for the storybook, which was a great starting point. After that I did most of the development part myself with his support.

What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?

t’s always difficult to start using new tools. We had a lot of surprises using the development tools, but those can be learned by time. When we released our second app it was much easier.
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?

I got a lot of support from my friends, they all got excited when I told them about the idea of making books/ apps. Everybody got a few ideas regarding the characters, interactions, music, sounds in The Toyswing. A huge thanks to my former colleagues: Julie for the help with the English text and narration and Sami for the Finnish translation! Lately we started with the Italian version of the stories, which is thanks to Alessandro.
My daughters feedback and reaction on certain games was also a major determining factor and they were great testers also 🙂
And of course last, but not least I got a huge help from my husband as mentioned earlier with the development and with lots of ideas!

What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
Yes, definitely! I have plans to release at least 2 more interactive stories: “Lili” – about a nice summer day, when Niki and Jazmin visited Mommy’s school friend and played together with her daughter, Lili and “Sweet dreams!”, which is a bedtime story, literally.
In addition to the interactive stories I would like to create some educational apps about learning math and hand writing with Niki and Jazmin. And who knows what other inspiration I get from my girls and friends in a longer run.

What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
Since kids always give honest opinion and they are the target audience I have read the stories and let other kids play on my iPad in several day-cares, play schools. It was always a positive feedback. All kids were listening with sparkling eyes and they were very exited to share with us what is their favourite toy, with how many stuffed animals they sleep with, what is the color of their toothpaste etc. They were very eager to compare their habits with Niki and Jazmin’s and they all looked very happy that they could be part of the stories also. They were very excited to play the games as well and were competing with each other who can find more stars in The Toyswing, who can decorate nicer the rooms in the Sticker Album and who can find first the differences in Spot The Difference.

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
If you have great ideas and feel being creative just start doing it! There are many obstacles, but being persistent anyone can achieve his/her goals. I have met a lot of very nice persons who are willing to help altruistically, who are doing their support by sharing the information about apps for parents, so they could select the best to educate children. To see such dedication keeps me motivated and seeing a child’s sparkling eye by listening to my stories was worth every effort spent on development!

Timea, 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!

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PROMO CODE DROPS NOV 22ND 2013

App Name:Toyswing

1. http://redeem-now.com/971b79ddc59f
2. http://redeem-now.com/fd691bce897a
3. http://redeem-now.com/85cd00283337

 

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App Name:Memory game with Niki and Jazmin
1. http://redeem-now.com/55772c9d8a9e
2. http://redeem-now.com/48eb3c524753
3. http://redeem-now.com/9c9f566907ea

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App Name:The Little Patient
1. http://redeem-now.com/1a33bee7f23d
2. http://redeem-now.com/6252cb72f91e
3. http://redeem-now.com/d4b0d28991ac
4. http://redeem-now.com/9f7aa1c172ce
5. http://redeem-now.com/5ff9691f6cb5