CADY McCLAIN

Director, Producer, Artist

Great APP’s

Posted on: December 7, 2011

I just returned home from day one of the mediabistro conference on App building.  Want to share with you some of the more interesting information I learned today!

KWIK is a new plug-in that allows you to use your original photoshop content to create your own APP.  It’s a bit of work but is the least expensive and most flexible program I heard about.  It uses a language called Lua/Corona that transforms your work into either an IOS, Android or MacOS application.  You don’t share revenue with anyone and are in full control of the marketing.  You can create audio, video, animation, even “in APP” purchasing using KWIK.

STORYDESK is a platform that allows you to organize and structure your APP ideas based on relative importance.  If you have a catalogue or a presentation you’d like to turn into an APP, this is the program for you.  It’s also great for travel books, cooking manuals and other kinds of information heavy content that also would benefit from visuals, interactivity and maps.

I was told that content should always be the main actor in your APP.  I learned today that no matter how many bells and whistles your APP might have, if the content isn’t compelling, it isn’t going to succeed.  The most compelling example of this is an incredible new APP I discovered today called “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”   Created by a Pixar animator, the story is of about a bibliophile whose life and work is turned upside-down by a storm.  I simply cannot recommend it more highly.

Here is the bad news:  If you use a (very cool) platform to publish your APP Magazine, like MAZ, you will pay $99-$299 a month, depending on your level of interactivity.  That’s not cheap, and according to their owner Paul Canelli, you most likely won’t make your money back in 2012 unless you are extremely proactive about self-promotion.  However, you will be one of the first to create a magazine APP, and since it is still a small but exploding market, the odds are it’s a good long term investment.

If you use a developer, you will most likely need to have a budget of 15-20 thousand dollars available.  That said, if you go with someone like Arseny Lebedev at SignusLabs.com, you will most likely be getting excellent quality.  His company mostly focuses on games, but he said right now they are also creating an interactive book that has some game interactivity.  Interesting, no?

If you are looking into turning your comic book into an APP, check out either Graphicly.com or Comixology.com.  Both are at the cutting edge of APP publishing of graphic novels, comic books and other strongly visual storytellers.

The big question seems to be iPad versus Kindle Fire.  Bottom line, it comes down to preference and price point.  Kindle Fire is mostly for people who want to use their Amazon e-book/mag/story purchases and leans heavily on TV/Movie use, where the iPad has a better screen for reading and has further functionality.  The iPad is really quite elegant, but it isn’t necessary.  It’s also expensive.  That said, The Fantastic Flying Books APP or The Charlie Brown Christmas APP look gorgeous on it.  Mashable says “it makes the iPad feel like magic.”  Pretty nice recommendation.

I also recommend Sandra Boynton’s Going-to-Bed Book, especially if you have little kids.  It’s mesmerizing, even for a 40 year old.  It’s interesting to note that both the Charlie Brown Christmas App and the Going to Bed Book App where created by Loud Crow Interactive.  Located in Vancouver, Canada their work stands for itself.  Gorgeous.  I’m in awe.  Ditto for Moonbot Studios out of Shreveport, Louisiana.  Check out their promo of their new APP “The Numberlys” located on their site (I used an image from their promo for the photo to this blog.)  I think I’m kinda in love.