My Product Line Of Software Apps For The Speech Impaired

My App Has Come Full Circle . . . What does this mean? Well for me it means my app is under review for submission to the Apple App store once again. Tediously slow.

Not the same app, but a greatly improved version of it. You see the journey started nearly 5 years and 8 months ago when the Apple iPad was first released . . . One of my best friends was in the hospital about a month later with a medical condition which caused a serious speech impairment. He couldn't speak, or more accurately his voice was so weak it was nearly impossible for anyone to understand!

I had the great idea of making an app to speak for him on the iPad, so all he had to do was press some buttons with words on them. My first attempt failed, or it barely worked, but I got some needed help by a new business partner, who re-coded the app while I reworked the UI design and we continued improving the app until it worked well enough for us to communicate with my speech impaired friend, who by now was transferred to a convalescent facility.

We tested again and it worked well. I made a few minor improvements to the design and at that point we decided to put the app in the Apple store to help other people with speech impairments.

Later I bought out my business partner, and decided to code and develop a modified and improved version of the app for the Android market myself. I even produced a simplified Amazon Fire version and a full blown Chrome Web App Browser based version which takes payments from PayPal. So in a general way, “I Finally Created My Own App Store” as well . . .

Setting up your own app store is not as easy as you might think. Yes e-commerce has been around for a long time in internet years as well as PayPal. But you have to realize a few things:

People are now use to going to the app stores, Apple and Google, rather than going to a private provider store for software apps. It is not just a trust issue, habits have been formed. Some of the customers are not use to using a web app with a login and password that is sold through a payment shopping cart on your website, sent to their Paypal email address, but some are, and some have to be reminded of it, even when instructions are clearly spelled out on the website. I did it this way, because people still know how to use shopping carts to purchase software access, but my experience has been that you need to sell access forever. A yearly renewal fee doesn't sell well for my kind of software.

Because you have to give access forever, this can be an issue if you don't design your app correctly and you get too many hits to the website, whether or not you scale in the cloud. The cost can be offset by new features bringing in new customers, but eventually you will have to raise per unit cost to scale financially and cover hosting. It is best to have a diversity of app types, native apps, hybrid apps and pure web apps. Everybody has a different need and device to support.

That's it for now. I'll post more as a learn more about what works and doesn't. I'm sure it is different for different types of software apps and customer audiences, you will have to figure out what works for you by trial and error, as I did.

The cost margin using Paypal is significant enough (~33% savings over conventional app stores) that I am surprised more people haven't tried this sooner? Maybe they have and I don't know about it, they may have failed, or it's a well kept secret?! Or maybe, just maybe I'm ahead of the curve. Only time will actually tell.

Developing my own product line of software apps for the speech impaired has not been an easy task. It has taken years of hard work to design, code, test, debug, support, fund, advertise and promote the apps on various computer devices and different operating systems using a multitude of development tools. The product line now runs on Apple iPads, Android tablets and phones, and finally the Chrome browser based apps that run on all things Apple, Microsoft and Google (tablet, pad, laptop, notebook and desktop).

If you are a developer you are probably aware of how some apps are written in native code, others use browser based "webviews" in HTML5 and Javascript and then the hybrids of both approaches... repeatedly testing changes on all the different mobile tablets and types of computers (sometimes going to stores to sneak a test in when you can't actually afford all the different hardware devices) can be daunting to say the least, but I did it!

Add to that supporting clients email questions 24/7 as well maintaining the website for the app sales and promotion means that I am a one stop shop. If you have done the same you know how hard this can actually be. Finally add to that writing blogs to share your experience with others and you have my whole day. There are days after which I fall asleep watching old reruns on Netflix to relax, waking up the next day to try to do it all again, only just a little better. Constant and methodical improvement is my motto. Somewhere in the race between the tortoise and the hare, and hopefully a better quality medical grade app product with a customer responsive feature set.