App-preciating The App for Students!

414

Being a student means you ‘study’. It’s easy to forget at university level (let alone secondary or primary school) with the whole hustle bustle of everything else like events, sports and night life, as well as dates. Salvation shines upon the horizon though! Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to a very clever man, the owner of Liztan Solutions who has all the answers condensed into one little app. Hallelujah!

1. What attracted you to apps?

It was a great way for me to express my creativity and one of the quickest ways to create and launch a digital product that would be available to a global market.

2. What is an app anyway?

App is an abbreviation of the word Application. Essentially, an App is a digital product that can be downloaded through a mobile or other digital device by accessing an Application Store – which is a digital store that stores and processes applications.

3. What makes a useful app?

An app that provides value for users by either solving a problem, providing entertainment, enriching users’ lives or perhaps educating the user, whilst providing good user-experience. This usefulness can be supported by what I refer to as the App’s form and functionality. ‘Form’ being in terms of how it looks (stimulating visuals, good User- Interface design and branding etc.) and ‘Functionality’ in terms of how it works and the purpose it serves (is it engaging, intuitive, fun, easy to use? etc.)

4. How do you go about making an app or is that a trade secret?

To a greater extent, that’s a trade secret! However to a lesser extent, I would say the making of an app depends on the type of app you are making, the process of creating the app would however always include producing the content for the app, creating the design aspects and then programming/coding for the app using a programming language.

5. What is your favourite app?

“Self-Help Classics” for the iPhone. It’s an app which contains classic books like the Art of War, Think and Grow Rich etc. I like reading the classic stuff!

6. What type of phone would you recommend if I wanted as many apps as possible?

It really depends with your preferences and requirements. In terms of usage, if you’re looking for more choice in terms of the number of Apps you can download I would go with the iPhone and then the Android platform. iPhone platforms have the biggest Applications Store, followed by Android.

7. Tell me about your app?

It’s the first of many more apps I will be creating. It’s called “StudyKit Pro” and it’s an educational app that helps students improve their academic and professional skills so they can achieve excellent results! It can also be used by graduates, young professionals or anyone keen on developing their personal and professional skills!

The app covers a range of topics, from how students can improve their assignments; how they can improve their study and exam techniques as well as how they can develop their professional skills such as employability and presentation skills. The content was written by a team of academics who include Maree Giles who is also a published Author and University Lecturer with over 30 years experience in business and higher education.

I was an Academic Advisor for about two years helping students with their assignments when I came up with the idea. The uptake of assisting students varied working 2 days a week at the desk throughout the academic year, but I got to serve over 150 students and realised there was a real problem with student writing skills as my role involved assisting students on a range of areas that included advice on writing, grammar, punctuation, referencing, research, structuring work etc. I also discovered that some foreign students struggled to write fluently in English and their understanding of the conventions of English academic writing could be poor at first. Such that they needed ongoing and immediate help!

Further research led me to conclude that there is a problem in Higher Educational Institutions; this was supported by research and evidence from such sources as the Royal Literary Funds report on “Writing matters” a report in the field of student literacy. The report quotes “The basic writing skills that include grammar and punctuation are lacking in some 18 year olds as well as some 30 year olds. Some students have no understanding of the academic requirements at university”. I saw a gap in the mobile application market, particularly the education category and thought of creating an application that could enhance students learning experience and tackle this problem.

For more Info: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/studykit-pro/id423133003?mt=8

Twitter: @studykitpro

8. Can you make me an app?

Yes!! Definitely! My company offers digital solution services such as design, website and application development etc.

9. If you could make a dream app what would it be and why?

That would be another trade secret as someone could make it before I do! What I would say though, is I have been exploring the trends and trying to keep abreast with the news of the market’s changing demands. A lot of projects are in the pipeline and we will be investing in updating StudyKit Pro as well, so do stay tuned!

10. Is making an app a one man crusade or a team effort of epic proportions?

It really depends with the size and scope of the project. I have a team in place, it really is a team sport as you would require a combination of specialist skills, and it’s not often that an individual can possess specialist knowledge in all areas. What I tend to do is to learn a little about a lot of stuff and leverage from the specialist knowledge and input of my advisors and team members, for example, even though I had gained firsthand experience as an Academic Advisor I worked with Maree on this project as she has years and years of academic and professional experience, in fact she is an expert, so that increases credibility and certainly brings expert knowledge to the table! However it is important for one to develop their skills for example to know a little about design, a little about the back-end functionality of an app etc. I had to be well versed in all areas in order to really create a product and bring my imagination to life.