On a Creative Quest for Success with Apps

From the beginning of the year we have been working on ways to bring our very first app, Pencilicious for the iPad, back into focus. It still is an excellent sketching app, with functionality that just doesn't exist in other apps. But, as it was our first app, we really had no idea how to market it, and exposure was limited. 

Time to change that! 

So, in March, we released the first app in the newly styled Pencilicious: Pencilicious Doodle Message Keyboard. A few weeks later it was featured on the front page of the App Store as a Best New App! Wow! Excitement! That week was amazing. We climbed into the top 200 Paid Apps for both the iPhone and iPad and stayed there the entire week we were featured. I was bopping around beaming from ear-to-ear the entire week, sharing my enthusiasm with everyone I spoke to.

Then the new round of Best New Apps appeared on Thursday afternoon. 

Next comes a complete revamp of our original app, now it's Universal. This in itself is worthy of accolades, as there are very few simple but high quality doodling apps out there. But, our focus has brought clarity to what is unique about Pencilicious. And now we can share that with making "sprites" and making them sharable. 

Pencilicious is about unlocking and sharing creativity through doodles. We want to make truly personal digital stickers for people to express their individuality. Pencilicious makes digital doodles look good and they are super intuitive to make and share.

Coming soon. . . .

The ACT Fly-In: MaypopDesigns goes to Washington, DC

March 20, 2015

This Sunday, I’m traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet and educate elected officials and regulators on the booming tech industry. As part of ACT | The App Association’s annual fly-in, I’m joining more than 50 small tech companies from across the country to advocate for an environment that encourages innovation and inspires growth. 

Our message is simple. Small companies like MaypopDesigns are creating solutions that are improving lives, creating jobs, and invigorating our economy. 

But, policymakers in Washington must understand issues threatening small tech companies to ensure growth continues. The concerns we will raise next week include data privacy and security, internet governance, intellectual property and patent reform, and regulatory obstacles to growth. These are important issues for which the federal government is considering taking action. 

I look forward to meeting with my elected officials and others in Washington to educate them about the tech industry so they can make the right decisions about our future. Hopefully, an informed Congress will help entrepreneurs like me continue to flourish.

Last year was my first year attending this event and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I felt that the policy-makers were sincerely interested in what I had to say about these issues. They want to hear from people who are directly affected by the work they do. 

theGames is now Beyond Cats!

August 28, 2014

theGames is now Beyond Cats!

Big news. . . we decided to change the name of our series of Math Practice apps to Beyond Cats! This is going to tie into how we present our next level of apps for Grades 3, 4 and 5. 

Other exciting news is that we have translated the apps into Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Dutch and Portuguese. Wow, was that ever a process for the two of us! Our daughters are learning how to read the written words of numbers in 6 different languages - they think it is great fun. 

It's going to be a soft launch for the languages. It already is quite apparent that we need a little help smoothing out the edges of a few of the languages. Many thanks to the personal and developer friends that are helping us out with the final round of translations.

Exciting to start up the new school year. Our daughters will be in the 4th and 2nd Grades this year. 



Beginnings of MaypopDesigns

October 2, 2013

Our story of how we decided to create educational apps is shaped by our backgrounds and where we want our futures to lead us.

A bit of background to start us out.

The happy animal drawings were hand drawn by my dad, Bud Wudlick, in the mid-1990s when he was an elementary school art teacher in Minneapolis. His school was a dual language English and Spanish school and he was inspired to make some "Animales" prints with fun pen-and-ink characters integrated with the Spanish names. He gave out these prints to his students and we printed off cards on colorful cardstock at Kinkos to give to friends and family. Everyone always encouraged him to sell his artwork and really make it a business. But, he doesn't like to sell his artwork.

So, now that I have my own kids in Spanish immersion elementary school, I decided to revisit those "Animales" of my dad's and bring them into the app world. I scanned and tweaked the images, separating out the text and background embellishments, until clear characters emerged. Hopefully we can build a family of real educational apps from these "Animales" originally drawn to engage and educate children in the classroom. A few years ago, the first business plan was to make a Spanish/English Animale flash card app, and that might still happen, but now we have expanded our sights to creating a rich and thorough Math Standards set of apps for the early elementary school aged child. We are creating apps that we want our own kids to learn with!


Math for Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2

May 22, 2014

And there they are! 

After years of planning, and about a year of full time development, design and programming, we finally have a strong portfolio of early elementary grade level math practice apps out in the world!

We are so pleased to be able to offer Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade kids, their parents and their teachers our lovingly created comprehensive practice apps. And the response from these kids, parents and teachers has been wonderful. We love to hear about kids who are so intent on uncovering a new animal found in South America that they whip through the question puzzles at previously unheard of speeds! 

This summer we will be focusing on two things - developing theGames for 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade, and actively reaching out to schools around the country and world.

The older grades will see a new look and some very special built-in "tools" to help kids solve the more complicated math problems they will be encountering. Alas, los Animales of my dad will not continue on in these apps. But I'm excited to see where a sleek modern design will take the apps!

We have experimented with translating theGames: Kindergarten Math into Spanish, and now we will be going forward and translating all 3 apps into Spanish, French, Swedish, German, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. And, I think we need to re-translate some of our Spanish. . . oops! Lesson learned there. Translators do best if they have some context. 


In Spanish: losJuegos: Mates de Kinder

April 17, 2014

After a long long winter here in Minnesota, this week we finally got out our first foray into localizing theGames: Kindergarten Math Standards with losJuegos: Mates de Kinder. Translating our apps into multiple languages has always been our intention, so this will just be the beginning of things to come. Our first app idea was just to be a simple multi-lingual flashcard app with my dad's animal drawings. We should have done that to begin with! I looked back at some files which were saved back in April of 2010!

Well, this translation update comes with a User Interface freshening as well. I really like the slide-out gesture on mobile devices and how that is a touchscreen-only action. So, the new interface high-lights that capability. Some things we simplified and lightened up as well.

And then the rewards. . . World Wide Animals! This was fun to research and discover the native habitat of all these animals. I think kids will really enjoy discovering them as well. The next grade levels will continue along with the same theme of photos from around the world. A bit of a geography lesson mixed in with all this Math!

If anyone wants to submit their photos to be used in our apps, feel free to contact us and we will take a look! 

Now, back to working on First Grade! And Second Grade! Soon. . . 


Kindergarten Math Standards Ready for the iPad!

December 11, 2013

And here we are with the optimized for the iPad version of theGames: Kindergarten Math Standands! We are really excited to have this update up and running.

A lot of great updates are included in this version. We consulted with dozens of beta testers to see what worked for them, and what didn't. 

Turns out, Kindergarteners really do need some voice instruction. The app is still meant to be self-explanatory, and self-correcting, but now the option to hear the questions asked is available. 

Even though our daughters really liked the ragtime jazz music, about three-fourths of our other users did not. . . I guess that's a sign to just go and change the music! Now there is some more soothing Mozart-esque music. Of course, the music can always be turned off.

With the added screen area of the iPad, we are able to have a place where the question that theGame is asking is always visible. Hopefully this is encouraging to young learners and provides a gentle reminder of how to solve each question.

Teachers and parents will now see an improved explanation of how theGames work and extended resources.

Already we are busy at work with theGames: First Grade Math Standards! Look for it at the beginning of 2014. Topics will build on what is included in the Kindergarten level, along with money, time, temperature, place values, and more advanced operations and mathematical symbols.

We welcome your input and feedback - please do contact us with questions and comments!  info (at) maypopdesigns.com