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There are millions of mobile apps in the app store. How do you discover the right ones for you? Powerslyde helps you find the right apps for you with a little help from your friends. Receive personal app recommendations, automatically see when your friends add new apps, and share apps with your friends with one swipe.

Stories Behind the Apps

Carcapp – Carcassonne Scoreboard

Editors Note:  Carcassonne is a board game where players lay tiles to determine layout and develop many variants for unique game play.  It is set in the southern French city of Carcassonne which is famous for its unique Roman and Medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters, and in the fields. The skill of the players to develop the area will determine who is victorious.

In this Edition of Stories Behind the Apps, we are speaking with Ben Goevaerts regarding their new app, Carcapp.  Hi Ben, please tell us about your app, Carcapp! 

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Carcapp is a very simple app to guide you while playing the classic board game Carcassonne. The game includes a complicated scoring system.  Scoring is a  challenge in that you need to manually count and track the points you receive, it detracts from gameplay.  This is where Carcapp comes in.  It's a simple scoring system where you can select a color, enter the names of the players and add points whenever needed. We're currently planning to expand Carcapp with more features that work great with Carcassonne expansions.

Please describe what Carcapp is and why it’s different from similar apps or competitors?

Other app’s use the standard iOS design which was not intended for Board Games.  Carcapp has a custom design that matches perfectly with the original game style.

Where did the inspiration for the design of the Carcapp icon and user interface come from?

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The inspiration for design and the app icon came from the box of the board game and manual, while the real inspiration for Carcapp was Carcassonne itself.  Personally, I enjoy the game very much because it’s played with many variations and aspects. The tactics used when playing with two people are very different than when playing with three to six people. There is one way to play the game, as can use different tactics with different players.  It gets really fun when you are playing with a new player – you need to get to know him as a player and then adapt your own tactics. You have the option of adding many different expansions and the game can be played with many more players.  The ability to expand the game and play with many people makes it impossible to get boring! I always try new expansions with friends, which is why we will soon update the app to support more of those expansions.

What software development tools were particularly helpful in creating Carcapp?

Photoshop for the design work and Xcode for coding.

Did you learn any lessons while using them?

The development tools worked great! We had no issues.

Was there anything that went right or wrong with development and release?

Carcapp is a very basic app so everything went quite well. First we completed the design, and then we did the development work.  We submitted it to iTunes and Apple released it. It is a paid app, (USD $0.99), and very quickly we had about 150 people who have downloaded it.  We are already planning updates as some of our users are already requesting them!

Who is on the team and what are your roles?

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Ben Goevaerts

We are a small team.  Currently, there are two of us, Pieter Baeyens, who is our Designer and myself, Ben Goevaerts – iOS developer, idea guy and marketer.

What were you and Pieter doing before you doing in life and work before you started building Carcapp?

Pieter is a student studying graphic design.  I have been doing freelance iOS development work.  In my spare time I love to make apps for myself.

What are some apps you can’t live without or that inspire you?

The actual Carcassonne App where you actually play the game is amazing. It's design, gameplay and UX is perfect. I wish every app were like that.

Carcassonne is currently available in iOS only – (sorry Android fans), it is currently available in iTunes, available for download.

If you love Carcassonne and want to simplify scoring for you game play, check it out and download it from iTunes.

Stories Behind the Apps – gWhiz

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Tell us about gWhiz, who is on the team and what are your roles?

gWhiz LLC was founded in 2008 by Kevin Reville and Mike MacDonald, both of whom had enjoyed success with prior startups.  Early on, they recognized the potential for mobile technology to revolutionize learning so they built a team of dedicated professionals including project managers, technical architects, developers, graphic designers, and marketers to build the company.

How is gWhiz different from similar apps?

The company’s first and most popular educational app is gFlash. This app was the first totally free flashcard app on the app store. It was also the first flashcard app to offer auto-generated multiple choice, adaptive study, flashcard content from brand name publishers (McGraw-Hill, Wiley, and others), Google Docs integration, the capability to share flashcard sets with other users via email, and a matching game. It allows users to study at their own pace and on their own time, wherever life takes them.

What was the inspiration for the design of your app icon and user interface?gflash70

The icon and user interface are a result of gWhiz’s design goal for a fast, mobile flashcard solution. Creating paper flashcards is labor intensive and time-consuming. To create cards directly on a mobile device can have its challenges too.  So co-founder Kevin Reville came up with the idea of creating flashcard content using a Google Docs Spreadsheet.  This enabled users to quickly create flashcards and upload them to their iPhones and share them.  This innovation is one of the app’s greatest features and a differentiator from competitors. It was also the inspiration for the “g” in the icon and the name.

What tools, people, or communities were particularly helped you in creating gWhiz?  The original inspiration was a stack of paper flashcards that sat on cofounder Mike gflashscreenshot2 (1)MacDonald’s kitchen table.  When Mike got the idea from his seeing his daughters flashcards in late 2007, smartphone use had yet to take off.  The first release of gFlash on BlackBerry was met with moderate success.  In 2008, when Apple released the iPhone and iPod Touch, adoption took off.  Our user community has been a great source of feedback.  We obtain feedback directly or through App Reviews.  This has helped greatly and many gFlash features are a direct result of customer feedback. Our publisher partners, McGraw-Hill, Barron’s, Wiley, and others have been very helpful.  They have been in the business of education for a long time and have helped greatly by providing high quality content, advice and guidance.  We have also been fortunate to benefit from close relationships with people working in education – from pre-k to college professors; and naturally our students too!

Most importantly our friends and family have provided immeasurable support throughout the process.

What did you learn?

Our users are absolutely the best students. They excel and get good grades, usually beyond the expectations of their teachers. They are often Advanced Placement (AP) students; law school graduates; studying for the EMT exam or pilots undergoing recertification. They have high expectations and demand reliability, customization, and features that help them learn faster with better results. There is no question they have made our apps better.  For development tools we have used Xcode from the start. We have had a few challenges along the way but have found success learned to expect the unexpected.  With Android, we use Eclipse as part of the Android ADT package to develop gFlash and many of our other apps. With so many phone configurations, it can be a challenge.

What would you say went right and wrong with the release?

We were early entrants into the mobile education space and able to gain first-mover advantage.  As a result, we gained a large and loyal following among students of all ages and remained the number one Educational app in the App Store for over a year. 

What were you doing before launching gWhiz?


IMG_gWhiz Team (1)Co-founder Kevin Reville has managed the development of hundreds of applications. He has been the project manager for every key publisher partnership to date. Prior to its acquisition by The Boeing Company, Kevin was instrumental in the creation and growth of Conquest, Inc. — a premier provider of advanced large-scale systems and software technology solutions to federal and commercial users.

Mike MacDonald co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer has oversight for the overall design of new apps to ensure consistency and maintain the vision across platforms.  He has also led the development of many of the gWhiz apps and is a key innovation leader in the industry. Mike is former founder and CEO of Visual Mining Inc., a leading provider of data visualization capabilities. Mike has over 20 years experience developing commercial-grade software applications.

What are some apps that inspire you?

As a small company, we have turned to social media to get our message out. So Facebook, Twitter and Buffer are key apps we use on a daily basis.  We found inspiration in Words with Friends in developing one of our other apps.  We wanted to integrate gaming in a test prep app to help make studying fun!  We liked the idea of gamification and wanted to create a compelling to integrate into a test prep app.  

Head over to the App Stores and download gWhiz!

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Hey Devs!  Want to be featured like gWhiz?  Head over to this link and apply!

Goodbye 2014. Hello New Year!

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On the eve of the New Year, we quickly reflect on where we are as a mobile start-up that began this journey with you sharing and discovering new apps with our iOS and Android app powerslyde. As the industry, app development and distribution evolve – so do we.

Meeting so many indie app developers of every app type and the amazing array of big app publishers across the globe at conferences in the last year has strengthened our understanding and ability to deliver very unique solutions that are built on the power to share and discover apps.

We want to thank all of our content partners in spreading the word and sharing our Stories Behind the Apps feature, which we continue to grow and offer for free to app devs. As the New Year kicks off look for many of the original Story features to be re-run for the first time.

As we look towards 2015, we know that supporting developers in acquiring new users, monetizing and understand how their app has impact on a user's device can only be built on a platform of trust and most impotrantly for all involved – clarity. 

Happy New Year!

Stories Behind the Apps: TRIOMPHE

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Please tell us about your app! TRIOMPHE is created by a native speaking French teacher to support students preparing for French exams at GCSE, ALevel, IB and DELF.

I created this App because with 30 students per classroom, I realised very quickly it was just impossible to correct the pronunciation of everyone. We built this app to satisfy the demands of the talented students who really desire to understand the French language.

Through continual communication and feedback with and from my students and customers,  I have spent a lot of time understanding their needs and what will help them to take their spoken French to a higher level. With this in mind, I began to develop a substantial curriculum which is aligned to exam boards criteria.

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We wanted to ensure students and users can practise their listening and pronunciation skills with a native French teacher. TRIOMPHE is a complete tutor in that, it explains the written rules in both English and French.

How is the app different from similar apps? TRIOMPHE explains the pronunciation and written rules of the French language along with practical exercises to fully enable learning. You will learn the French way and understand the language at a much deeper level than existing apps. We believe this app is an innovative step forward in French learning.

TRIOMPHE is mainly focused on pronunciation, written rules, gender classification for nouns and matching adjectives correctly. A unique aspect of this is that the user can easily track progress and also revise and rectify mistakes.

Small Icon in AppTell us about the app icon and design. We created our Icon from our collection of photos and images. Our objective was to ensure the icon design was clean and colourful. We also wanted to highlight the name of the app and it’s clear message of linguistic success: “TRIOMPHE over your French Exam!” “Triumph” and `Triomphe’ mean the same thing in both English and French: to succeed!

All the design work was done using PowerPoint, Paint and Photoshop. We spent over a month debating how we wanted it to look and get to a point we were happy with.

What resources or communities assisted you in building the app? The sound and the quality of the pronunciation was really important for us, so we worked very hard at getting it right. Technically, again we worked incredibly hard to making sure the app was easy to navigate. Friends and Family really helped with continual testing before the initial release.

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What did you learn building the app? I learned that you need to be very patient and determined!

I am so completely passionate about helping people to learn French. It is become more like a hobby to me than a job, I learn something new everyday and I want to share with others the best way to learn. If people learn as much about the French language as I have learned in the development of this app, I will be incredibly happy and proud.

Agnès Gaillard, creator of TRIOMPHE

Agnes Gaillard, creator of TRIOMPHE

Who is on the team and what are your roles? We are a very small team of 2 ! We are :  Anders Christensen -product developer and myself ( Co-Founders ). So you can appreciate that the development of the app was a massive challenge.
 
What were you doing prior to building the app? I was and I continue to be a french teacher here in the UK. I teach my children, students and customers the French Way with the same methodology I have developed on my app! Most importantly I can say from my own experience: “ it WORKS!” My children did their own french GCSE in Year 8 and Year 5 with both of them gaining an A* each.
 
Head over to the iTunes App Store to download TRIOMPHE.
 
Hey you app devs!  Wanna be featured like TRIOMPHE? Be sure to check out https://34.121.68.100/get-discovered