Saturday, 14 July 2012

Tickled pink with Harry Pellereau

Recently we were lucky enough to be introduced to Timmy Tickle the ingenious app creation of dynamic and super enthusiastic developer Harry Pellereau.

Harry is an independent creative/developer, and when the iPad was launched decided that she wanted to make interactive stories, so set about learning how. Harry's app features a colourful little octopus called Timmy Tickle.
You can read more about how her ticklesome app was made here.

1- How did you come up with the concept for your app?

Timmy Tickle started as a project to help me learn how to make apps. I was working as a digital creative -  making visuals, animations and websites when I did a project for Templar Publishing.
I became inspired by creating interactive content for children and when the iPad was launched I thought it was worth exploring. I decided the best way to learn was to follow a single idea through from start to finish, so I understood the whole process. I have always loved Octopi so started by sketching and then modelling the early Timmy in plasticine. The story and activity ideas came organically as I mulled over what would be interesting to kids and what was possible with this medium. The poems were originally written in Hampstead Heath one sunny afternoon.
Later on I asked a brilliant wordsmith friend of mind to rewrite them, so the story was more engaging and the tasks on the page were described better.

2- What was the most enjoyable part of the development process?

Creating Timmy Tickle involved a very linear set of production stages. Creating the concept, character development, visual design, 3D modelling, 3D animation, video compositing, developing the code, bug testing and finally user testing. Then the process almost starts again, as things are revised and improved. Probably the most enjoyable part for me was taking the character animations and connecting them with the code to make Timmy come alive. The most rewarding was the user testing. This part was very very hard, as I had become so involved with the project that it was difficult to hear that parents and kids didn't "like" this bit or that. However, the changes were always for the better and  it was great to see the app slowly morphing into something more user friendly and engaging to use.

3- Where do you see the future of digital apps?

Creating apps for kids is a very tricky task and requires a lot of different skills. I would love to think that more independent story-tellers and animators will launch their projects on apps first, however I think at the moment the bar is set pretty high. Some companies are creating amazing and incredibly complex content, and selling it for very little. The larger companies with established brands can afford to do this as they will sell in such large numbers, however I think it is hard to make a project profitable with an unknown brand and it is only getting harder. The biggest issue for app developers is getting noticed, and as more kids apps flood the market this issue will only get worse. My hope is, that quality will rise to the surface and small gems of digital content will get discovered organically. I hope that smaller development teams and independents will continue to make innovative and creative apps to delight and inspire young kids and harness the future capabilities of tablet devices.

4- How do you think apps will effect the book market?

Personally I don't see apps replacing books. They work best as a partnership and expand on the child's experience. I hope that as apps are used to educate and entertain kids they become a way of discovering new characters and stories, which will then translate to books and reading.

5- What will you be working on next?

At this point I am taking a little break from app development. I would love to make another app with Timmy, however I have to see if it would be a commercially sensible venture. The first book was definitely done for the love of the project - creating an app is a incredibly labour intensive and exhausting process! I would like to explore Timmy's character in other mediums and have approached some publishers about making Timmy Tickle into a range of printed books. In the meantime, I plan to keep my finger on the children's app pulse and see how the market develops!

Meet Timmy for yourself by clicking here!

Timmy Tickle is an engaging and enriching app with which so much care and attention in the development process has lead to the creation of a great value app which explores many of the functions of the iPad allowing your little ones to play, learn and explore this app over and over.


Click here to read a cracking review featuring Timmy Tickle on the CApptivatedKids blog

All images featured are taken from the Timmy Tickle App - (c) Helen Pellereau