Today’s interview is with Dr. Bartek Rajkowski of ReadingDoctor Software. Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
Thank you for participating in our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Sure. I am a speech-language pathologist with a special interest in literacy difficulties. In my private practice (http://www.adelaidespeech.com), I see 30 or so clients per week, most of whom have literacy difficulties. I’m fascinated by how people learn to read and I have recently completed a research doctorate investigating the underlying cause of reading difficulties. I’m determined to make revolutionary, software-based tools that help educators (including parents!) to make a huge difference in improving the literacy skills of students.
Apart from that, I have two kids of my own who keep me very busy when I’m not developing software or working in my clinic!
How did the idea for your app come about?
I decided to make my own software as I was frustrated with what I perceived to be a lack of quality, research-based software for helping children to learn how to read. My first software title (ReadingSounds 1 Pro, for PC) was released in 2008. That program is now quite widely used (it’s in over 1000 Australian schools and many more homes).
I decided to begin making apps about 2 years ago following the explosion of the mobile computing sector and constant requests for iPad/Android versions of our teaching platform. Touch interfaces like iPad and Android tablets provide a very intuitive way for kids to interact with teaching tools, so it was an obvious decision! The story behind our apps and our company is quite a long one:) You can read more about it here.
And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
This app took approximately 18 months, although that doesn’t include the development time that went into ReadingSounds 1 Pro (which this app is based on).
Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
Initially, I did all of the coding, graphic design, sound recording and program design myself, usually very late at night after finishing work for the day and seeing my kids (and wife!). Today I still do quite a bit of the coding myself but I am fortunate to have a very talented programmer (Chris) who works closely with me and does most of the coding.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
Software development is complex, challenging and expensive…thus filled with obstacles that you have to overcome daily! Overcoming obstacles and problem solving is part of the enjoyment you get out of doing it, though…but I think the hardest obstacle is always trying to balance a very large and complex task with the rest of your life 🙂
Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
Absolutely! I’m extremely fortunate to have a very loving and supportive family. My wife (Jane) and kids are incredibly supportive…as are our parents and friends! I have also received support from the Australian government…both at the Federal and State level…I was very fortunate to receive three government grants to assist in commercialising our software.
What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
Yes! We have grand plans for the future. Watch this space… ?
What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
Feedback so far has been fantastic.
And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?
Hmmm…make an app that you can’t find but you really need!
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciate the chance to get to know you!