Hey Riccardo – tell us about your app! What’s Inside my body is the first app of the series What’s Inside. Children will find out what there is under their skin, their muscles, their bones, until they can hear the beat of their own heart. Layer by layer they will take a deeper look into the things, playing and interacting with the short activities hidden in each layer. What's Inside my body is available on Google Play, but we are working also on the iOS version. What’s Inside is a The Treehouse Apps’ project whose aim is to achieve a series of educational apps made to satisfy children’s curiosity. Every app includes a snappy graphics with few intuitive symbols and no written texts. Children can find out “what’s inside” things around them simply erasing layer by layer.Tell us about the team. The Treehouse Apps' team is a real family! It's composed by me, Riccardo Francaviglia, and my wife Margherita Sgarlata, as the founders of this project. We are authors and illustrators of children’s books, but we are also interested in new technologies and in their educational potential. The music is composed by Laura Francaviglia, my sister, who is also is a musician and music therapist, expert in traditional southern Italian music. The social media relations are directed by Rossana Caruso, newly-graduated in foreign languages, and the website is edited by Margherita's brother, Livio Sgarlata, a prop maker with a passion for technology.
How does your app differ from similar apps in the app stores? What's Inside my body is a handmade product, drawn in pencil and painted with acrylic paint by us, without the help of computer graphics or painting programs. All the sounds are live recorded, from Laura's guitar to the heart's beat. There are also the voices of our little daughters Costanza and Caterina! The work of man’s hands is visible, because we think that even in the digital age the transformation of matter excites the imagination and nurtures creativity.
Can you elaborate on the process behind the design of the icon? We wanted the icon to be attractive, thanks to the handmade graphic, and explicative, so people can easily understand the contents. And we are going to use the same icon for all the series What's Inside, in order to give a sense of continuity throughout this project. We will change only subject of every app. The user interface is simple and intuitive, without any written text, so children of all ages can play with this app even alone. There are symbols suggesting the possible actions or activities for every layer and even the colours are studied to render the app child-friendly.
What tools did you use for creating the app? For the Android version, we use Eclipse. We also find very useful the Stack Overflow community and the Android developers’ official website.
What lessons did you learn building your app? All these tools help us to materialize our projects! It's great to see what technology is able to do. Everything we have in our mind was perfectly realized. Moreover, communities such as Stack Overflow allow people with the same projects or doubts to combine forces and succeed in their work.
What went right and wrong with the development and release? Thanks to the great patience and willpower of our team, we encountered very few problems. Probably, the only difficult step of the app's realization was handling with the accelerometer. However, the secret to overcome all the obstacles was the tight collaboration with our developers, who were very attentive and careful for the success of the app.
What were you and the team doing before you created the app? As I said, none of our team's members had a similar experience in apps' development. Me and my wife makes other forms of kids' entertainment, such as writing books and telling stories during our shows, using also puppets. Laura has been teaching music for years, organizing workshops for children in the 0-3 age group and for preschoolers. Rossana completed her studies of
English, French and German languages and literatures on March and Livio makes props and costumes for cinema productions. We were all involved in this project following only our curiosity and thanks to the fusion of all our competences, we made a strong and productive staff.
What are your favorite apps? The most useful app for me and for my work is undoubtedly Drop Box. Rossana finds great HootSuite, Google Play Console and Gmail, which allow her to stay always connected, in order to follow the progress of the app's sales and ratings and to answer swiftly to any user's questions. Livio uses above all the Google suite..
Head over to Google Play to download What's Inside My Body now.
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