There’s an app for that… in fact there’s several hundred apps for that! There are approximately 550,000 iOS apps, 400,000 Android apps and 70,000 apps available on the Windows platform, and with more hitting the market on a daily basis, app development is a big business.
But with thousands of apps on your iPhone it can be hard to know which ones are the best. So, what makes a good app? The major players are attempting to answer this by investing in new app talent.
In February Apple released an online guide to developing iOS apps to assist companies in creating new content across their platforms. In March, the BlackBerry Partners Fund raised $150 million to invest in start-ups specifically focused on app development. Most recently Microsoft has funded the AppCampus at Finland’s Aalto University encouraging young aspiring app developers to create content for Windows phones.
As all the major players invest in new developer talent, K7 takes a look at the audience who will be downloading their apps. We wanted to know what they want, and they told us!
We asked our K7 Research Lab, a group of 6-16 year olds, to design their very own apps. We gave them two rules – 1. The app must tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. 2. It must have a main character. Other than this our kids could create anything they wanted, their apps could connect to Twitter or Facebook, include games, have in-app purchases – ANYTHING they could think of. Instantly they started scribbling down ideas, they clearly knew what they wanted and it wasn’t necessarily what you might think!
• Out of all the Research Lab apps NONE of them connect to a social network which is surprising considering nearly every app has this function as standard and some game apps won’t let you continue until you connect.
• All our apps include mini-games and puzzles. As Emma (12) put it “if the games weren’t there it would be boring.”
• All our apps ask the user to collect items throughout the story in order to use later.
• All our apps give different story endings depending on the user’s decisions.
• Two of our apps made use of Apple’s accelerometer and asked users to tilt the screen to move characters and objects. Our kids now see this as a standard function in an app.
Remember Temple Run? Our panellist Archie (12) does, he broke his iPad whilst playing it (read more about that below) so it’s no surprise the app made another appearance. Euan (13) told us “The only thing that bothers me about Temple Run is it’s never ending which is kind of annoying, you never know what happened.”
One of our groups solved this problem and created the sequel Templescape which contains a prequel film telling us the entire back-story. It also has different story endings depending on how well you play and the choices you make. Another group created Island Escape which asked the users to create their own main characters, similar to Nintendo Wii’s avatar creator.
However, the winner has to be Barbie’s Adventure to the Market – after a Barbie doll loses her head she must travel across the city in order to re-attach it to her body. Along the way Barbie must overcome barriers by playing mini-games, deciphering clues and completing puzzles. Designed by TJ (14), Jack (13), Teneiaa (13), Maddie (12) and Josh (7).
Beat that Apple!