Written by Nicole Gsell of Pinwheel Books. Their first book app produced on Demibooks Composer, “All About Poop”, will be released soon on the App Store and Demibooks Storytime. This post appeared in two parts on the pinwheelbooks.com blog.
The All About Poop app was a lot of fun to make, but it also took a lot of hard work. The team at Pinwheel Books worked with animators, authors, and illustrators to bring this story to life – in both digital and print forms.
We chronicled our journey over the past few months in 2 special blog posts:
Part I: The Pitch to Pinwheel Books
It was through social media that we connected with the author of our latest book from Pinwheel Books. We got a tweet from her saying, “I’ve always dreamed of being a children’s book illustrator”, and asked to send us her manuscripts. After reading All About Poop the first time, we couldn’t stop laughing. Author Kate Hayes recently shared her experience about working with Pinwheel Books on her inspiration for this story:
One thing we resonate with is how, “It’s so hard to break into the publishing industry”, as Kate said. We like to pride ourselves on giving new artists and authors in the business a chance to break into the industry. And when we read this book, we couldn’t stop laughing! So we knew we had to give it a chance.
Part II: Practice Makes Perfect
The Pinwheel Books Team – including author Kate Hayes and illustrator Brenna Vaughan – went through several rounds of edits to the story, as well as the pictures, to make sure the book felt just right. We went back and forth for many months, but it was worth it. We made sure everyone was okay with the changes as we went, and our collaboration paid off!
In early summer 2012, we received our first copies of the print book for All About Poop.
It was only a few more weeks before the book would be hitting bookshelves across the country. Which meant we finally had time to start planning our app.
Part III: From Book to App
Once we sent the color corrected proofs of All About Poop back to the printers in early June, we began conceptualizing the app for the book. The app is a completely different experience from reading a print book. While there are a lot of opportunities to fall into the realm of ‘bells and whistles’, there’s the other opportunity to tell a story in an exciting way. We decided to play with the Bathroom Theme with our app design, and designed our buttons and icons to reflect both the theme of the book as well as our artist’s aesthetic. Then came the hard part of bringing each page uniquely to life.
We went page by page, noting what needed to animate on the page, what needed to come alive. For instance, just looking at the page of the intestines made us think that it had to wiggle and squirm and make funny sounds, just as it would in real life. Of course, we still wanted to make the app entertaining, and developed game-like windows that zoom the reader into an aspect of the picture and allow them to play and learn something extra.
Most book apps tend to tell the story more straightforward, and steer clear of too many animations. Or if they do animate things, it feels pointless. We ‘market research’ apps in our office – which really means just playing with different apps and seeing what they do! That way we can better familiarize ourselves with the other material we are up against in the App Store.
We began orchestrating the events and behaviors into Demibooks in early summer. The system for doing so in Composer Pro follows “if-then” properties, making nearly any combination of events possible. Sounds can be easily added; elements can be dragged and animated at the same time. Another gesture can transform them even further! And being able to instantly test out what we had just created on the iPad makes this process really fast. We were lucky to join the Demibooks community over
at Get Satisfaction, meeting lots of other developers ready to answer our questions.
After several months of programming each and every event, we felt we had our app ready to preview. [Bianca Valerio picks up the rest of the story].
Part IV: The Troubleshooting Process
Written By Tester Bianca Valerio
Demibooks, a company founded in the summer of 2010, offers code-free software platforms that provide Pinwheel Books and other publishers (including self-published authors and illustrators) an affordable way to create interactive books for the iPad, on the iPad! All About Poop developers have had the opportunity to test out the newest software, Composer Pro, for free! This is our blog post about the beginning of that experience.
Last year, Pinwheel Books published an app for Sam and Ben through another code-free app building software. As wonderful as that partnership was, this year we decided to try a different approach. That’s when we discovered Demibooks. In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, CEO, Rafiq Ahmed, noted that the Composer Pro would save a company “thousands of dollars” by eliminating the need to hire soft-ware engineers to code. As a startup http://peterlawgroup.com/blog/online-viagra/ company, Pinwheel Book’s pocket change is sparse .When we saw how much more inexpensive and easy Demibooks services were, we were easily sold!!
Thanks to our experienced http://peterlawgroup.com/blog/kamagra-online/ illustrators and the Photoshop genius, Nicole Gsell, the All About Poop app development has been a smooth process. Nicole says that, “the time it takes us to upload our images, and plug-in our commands in Composer is virtually instantaneous. This book took us half the time to animate than our first app.”
From creating to troubleshooting, the ease of the process is indeed, just passing over the iPad from one desk to the next. After Nicole does her magic, I get to test it out. Technical as the term troubleshoot is, it’s really actually quite fun. The troubleshooting process is also easy! On the same page where Nicole creates the app, is a green play button. When I push the play button I can preview the app as it would be seen by a customer. My task is to touch every single image and make sure that all animations, sounds, and games are working correctly. Last year we received early feedback that there were some annoyances with sounds on the Sam and Ben app. Unlike last year, I can play with the whole app before sending it to testers. I weed out the smaller nuisances such as the mute button not working on a certain page, so that reviewers can focus on reviewing what they like and don’t like about the app, and less on technical issues.
Now, as the last rounds of corrections are being made, we are seeking Flight Testers who are willing to go through a few extra steps to test out our app before it gets published. Last year we published the app first, and then had people test it. Unfortunately, the opportunity to republish our updated version after testing slipped through our fingers. This year however, with the help of our early reviewers, the product will be published at its finest initially. If you or anyone you know is interested in testing out our app before it hit stores, let us know! We would be glad to hear your feedback! Stay with us on our Composer Pro publishing journey and keep an eye out for our next post about the next steps in this relatively easy process. Will I jinx it, or is it really that simple?
We hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look at “All About Poop“! Here’s a sneak peak at the app: