Thursday, 8 November 2012

Developer Chat with Hippotrix

Developer Chat with Simone and Jonathan of Hippotrix

Q.  Hi Simone and Jonathan. Welcome to AppAble. Can you please tell us how Hippotrix got started ?

A.  We started Hippotrix originally because we were so inspired by watching our own children play on the iPhone and then the iPad.  There is something incredible about the direct interaction (without mouse) that a child gets with a touch screen. We felt it was possible to create apps which would stimulate thinking, educate, be a beautiful sensory experience for children and be fun. We set ourselves high standards !
 Q. When was Hippotrix founded ?

A. Hippotrix was officially founded in spring 2012, although the whole of 2011 was spent researching and refining our ideas into the app that has become Hippo Seasons.

 Q. Is there a story behind the choice of the name ?

A. A long running family joke that started one night, around the dinner table, at home in a tiny Scottish village, means that Hippos have always been special in our family!  Plus they are seriously powerful and dangerous and yet there is something rather cute and funny about them. (We are also very impressed that recent (1999) DNA research has proven they are the closest relative of the whale!)

 Q. Do either of you have a background in IT or how did you end up working in the App field ??

A. We both worked in moving image education for many years and have our own production company specialising in animation.  These experiences heavily influenced our first app production, both in quality and feel, hence the little scenes that really engage with our young users.

Q. What is next for Hippotrix? Have you another app planned ?

A. Oh yes!!! We have many ideas, and the next app is in development…! We plan to build on the success of Hippo Seasons and make something that is as different as possible, but still maintains our 'house' style and has plenty more delightful interactions going on.

Q. My kids had great fun playing the app. They particularly enjoyed the lawnmower. What do your own kids like

A. All kids love stomping their feet in snow and kicking autumn leaves, and that is where the concept of interacting with ground cover came from. The summer was the hardest one to get right actually, but now we are really pleased because it is a 'scene' that kids & adults alike have had a lot of fun with. Our kids say Spring and Winter…at the moment!

Q. Who did you get to Beta-test the app for you ?? Did your own children have an input into the app design and content ??

A. Yes! Our kids and their friends, were involved from the outset.

We discussed what they liked and what they got frustrated by with apps they were using, and then as we continued to develop.  We even got them to give us ideas on the menu design.  Anybody and everybody we knew tested…mostly kids in our locale, although our Designer & illustrator Stephen, is based in Koln so we had a mixed age group testing over in Germany too.

Q. I love the fact that the app is based around everyday things that children can associate with. Do you feel there is a gap in the market for apps like yours ?

A. Certainly when we were doing our research there seemed a gap in the market. There are very many prescriptive apps out there, but it seems important for a child to have exploratory play and to have the chance to create with an open ended app.

Q. Anything else you would like to pass on to our followers ??

A. We want to thank everyone for liking Hippotrix and checking out Hippo Seasons. It is important to us to build on Hippotrix, so we are really keen to have feedback on Hippo Seasons. We want to know more about why it is working for your child and what they are gaining from it.  And indeed adults reactions too - many find it like a relaxing executive toy. 

Keep your eye on Hippotrix... as we are about to launch a Hippotrix Gallery where you can post, and share, your child's own Hippo Seasons masterpiece for all the world to see!

Thanks to Appable for taking the time to include us on your site

Thank you Simone and Jonathan for taking some time out to tell AppAble about Hippotrix.

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