Earlier this week, we published an interview with Dora, creator of the JellyPlanner app.
Today, we introduce Jennifer Wong from Alt-12 Apps. I thought it was interesting to learn from her website that Alt-12 was named after the keystrokes (Alt+1,2) used to create the female symbol: ♀
Alt-12 has been publishing apps for women since 2009, and now you can learn all about the creation of their app Pink Pad from Jennifer, who designed it!
Hi, Jennifer! Can you tell us about the Pink Pad app and how you came up with the idea for it?
Pink Pad is a social health tracker app. It allows women to track their health, from fertility, menstrual cycle to weight management and more. The most essential part is the health centric social network built right into the app which allows women to connect to women like them for support, advice and friendship.
Pink Pad is actually my company’s second app and the inspiration for it came out of our first app, BabyBump. BabyBump is a pregnancy app that I started working on during my pregnancy because I saw a lack of apps addressing the special needs of women’s health. Out of of BabyBump’s success we learned that a large portion of our users were women who weren’t pregnant at all but we’re either planning to get pregnant one day or enjoyed connecting with other women on health issues. It seem natural that we create an app that addressed the broader needs of women’s health, the stage before and after pregnancy, thus Pink Pad was born.
Once you had the idea for Pink Pad, what were your next steps? What was your role in the creation of the app?
When creating Pink Pad, there were only myself and my co-founder involved. My strengths are in front end design and user experience so my role was heavy in the initial and early stages of the app development.
I started by researching the market and looking at potential competitor apps. It’s always a good idea to know what’s out there so you can figure out how you’re going to differential yourself and create something compelling that a user will love.
I created a wireframe of the product to hash out user experience and flow and then began taking the concept to design the front-end of the app while my co-founder implemented the back end.
Because our skills sets are so complimentary, we were able to complete the first version in just a few months.
How did you learn how to do these things – did you go to school for design?
I’m pretty much a self-taught. In college, I studied some design but it’s always been my personal interest in being creative that has kept me learning. Prior to starting Alt12 Apps, my career started in design and marketing so I was able to continue to develop my design skills.
Did you publish your app for Android first, or for another platform? Why did you choose to market it to Android users?
Because we were a small and a resource constrained team of two we published Pink Pad on iOS first but we always had plans to port to Android as soon as we could. We launched Pink Pad on Android just three months after our iOS launch so I’d say there wasn’t a huge lag. As a developer, I feel Android is a necessary platform to develop on. You have the ability to reach a much broader audience because of the range of devices using Android. I love that we have teen users [on Android] who are able to track and learn about their health.
What is your target audience, and have you gotten a good response from them?
Our target market is any woman who’s interested in tracking their health or wants to connect with others for advice or support. We’ve gotten phenomenal positive feedback from the women who use our app. Word of mouth from our community of users seems to be the strongest and most successful marketing tool. Pink Pad Pro has been the #1 Health App in the Android Marketplace for a while now. Our users have said they are more addicted to our app than Facebook. I take that as a huge compliment!
As a female app designer, what is your overall impression of the app “world” as a whole – do you feel like a minority? Does that impact what you design & how you develop your ideas? How do other people react when they find out you have an app in the Android Market? How does that feel?
When I first started in 2009, I definitely felt like a minority. Most app developers were men, which reflected in the type of apps that were created. I think things have definitely changed and the industry is realizing that women are strong consumers of social media and mobile usage. I see a lot more apps being created with women in mind and it has definitely influenced our development.
For starters, we’ve always believed in paying attention to quality of design and User Experience (UX). We chose to develop our apps natively to ensure the best UX that was fast and felt natural to the device.
People are often surprised to learn that I’m a developer. But they’re usually even more surprised to learn that I’ve been doing it since 2009 (while five months pregnant) and that our apps have been long-time category leaders with over three million downloads.
Overall, it just feels good to be producing something in which you really believe has a positive impact on people’s lives.
Do you have any advice for other women that have Android app ideas and are considering designing and/or developing an app?
I was just starting to write a blog article on my top ten tips for mobile apps, but here are my top two.
Deliver an experience out the door.
I see so many apps fail at this. You download the app and the first thing it asks you to do is register or input a ton of data before you can really begin exploring the app. You have one chance to make a first impression with apps. The retention rate is incredibly low, less than 5% [of downloaders] use an app after the first month. If you don’t wow the user with something upon their first experience, they’ll never come back.
Iterate, iterate and iterate.
You can never do this process enough. When coming up with an idea or feature you should be your biggest critic, stripping away at what’s not necessary in the app and that requires constant iteration. Don’t expect that your first idea or version will be perfect, it’s more important to iterate quickly to get it right.
Where can we find more information about you & your app? Any last “plugs” you want to share?
In the next month, we’ll be launching a new app for parents that we’re extremely excited about. It’s geared towards new parents to help them learn, capture, and share their child’s milestones. You can “Like” Pink Pad App or BabyBump App on Facebook to be notified as soon as it’s launched!
Thanks so much for the interview, Jennifer!
To those of you reading this interview, please support Jennifer Wong and check out Alt-12 Apps in the Android Market, then come back and tell us and her what you think! If you are interested in becoming a developer and have any other questions for Jennifer, please comment below!