AbiTalk Interview by The iMums

The iMums Interview AbiTalk’s Emmy Chen

11/21/2012

AbitalkLogo2 Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalkThank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Emmy Chen. I am a mom of two kids, a girl and a boy. Because of my kids , I became the founder and developer of AbiTalk.

When my son Andy first went to Kindergarten two year ago, he was behind other kids in his class. Some of his classmates could already read, but he did not even know simple words like “cat” and “dog”. We could not teach him anything at home because he was too stubborn and independent. He refused to learn anything from anybody. He preferred to figure out things by himself. But to learn to read, you need someone to guide you, especially through the phonics part. I was very concerned for him, so I bought several workbooks from a bookstore, and tried to force him to sit-down to work on these workbooks. He fought back with me and refused to do the work. I had to bribe him, saying if he did 5 pages, he could play 30 minutes on the iPad. That seem to work pretty well. He really likes to use the iPad. There are a lot of games on the iPad and he likes almost all of them. Then I was thinking, if I could make these workbooks into iPad games and he can just play these games to learn phonics and reading, that will be perfect.

emmy Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalkI did not know how to develop iPad games so I went to some of the websites, read some tutorials, and bought a couple of the books from Amazon. I bought my first Mac computer in March of 2011. I started learning objective-c and Cocos2d, etc. Two months later, by end of May, my first iPad/iPhone app “Fun Rhyming” came out in the Apple App Store. I was very excited about my achievement. I just keep making more apps.

I developed many apps focused on phonics and reading. I just love phonics so much, because when I was in school, English was my weak subject. English is my second language. When I learned English in school, we did not know phonics, and I had difficulty memorizing all the spelling and pronunciations. When I came to US and had my own kids, I saw them learning phonics to read, and I was amazed at how powerful phonics is. If I knew phonics when I was in school, I could have gotten better grades in English. This is why I got so involved with phonics learning apps. Personally, I think everybody should know phonics. When I saw my apps were downloaded by people from all over the world, I felt like I had added some value to the world. Besides my Phonics Apps, I also developed a variety of other subjects, including Math, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Word Problems, etc. I have over 80 apps in the Apple App Store, and a few for Android devices as well.

Another reason I really like to develop apps is because I can get everybody in my family involved with my business. My son is my first tester. He benefits from my apps and he quickly learned all the phonics rules and he can even read chapter books now. Since he plays so many games, he gave me a lot of good ideas how to design my apps. My daughter is also a big helper. She is very good at writing and reading, she wrote some reading comprehension stories for me. She even made some artwork for my apps. My husband helped me to setup my website and review all the content for me. Everybody in my family helps me to test my apps, I told my son and my daughter, I will pay them 25 cents for every bug they find. They just wanted to crash my apps. :) It is so much fun to have my own business and I love what I am doing. I see all the apps growing in the market, just like I watch my kids growing too.

I was so lucky to find Dina. She was so nice to offer to help me out. Because of her, more and more people know AbiTalk and our apps. Without her, I could not make all these happen. AbiTalk enjoys giving back to the community and our supporters by making our apps free at various times along with constantly offering promo codes. Dina is the major contributor to AbiTalk and our community!!
How did the idea for your app come about?

When my son Andy first went to Kindergarten two year ago, he was behind other kids in his class. Some of his classmates could already read, but he did not even know simple words like “cat” and “dog”. We could not teach him anything at home because he was too stubborn and independent. He refused to learn anything from anybody. He preferred to figure out things by himself. But to learn to read, you need someone to guide you, especially through the phonics part. I was very concerned for him, so I bought several workbooks from a bookstore, and tried to force him to sit-down to work on these workbooks. He fought back with me and refused to do the work. I had to bribe him, saying if he did 5 pages, he could play 30 minutes on the iPad. That seem to work pretty well. He really likes to use the iPad. There are a lot of games on the iPad and he likes almost all of them. Then I was thinking, if I could make these workbooks into iPad games and he can just play these games to learn phonics and reading, that will be perfect.

And how long was the process from the original idea to the release of the app?
For my first app, it took me 2 month to get the app out in apple store. I did not know how to develop iPad games so I went to some of the websites, read some tutorials, and bought a couple of the books from Amazon. I bought my first Mac computer in March of 2011. I started learning objective-c and Cocos2d, etc. Two months later, by end of May, my first iPad/iPhone app “Fun Rhyming” came out in the Apple App Store.

Did you hire a developer or do it yourself?
I did all the design and development work by myself.

What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
There are learning curves, but I think the hardest part is to get all the content ready. I have talent to do coding, so the coding to me is not very hard.

Have you had much support during the development process (from family, peers, Apple Inc.)?
I have my husband, my kids and Dina help me.

What are your plans for the future? Will you be developing any more apps?
I will continue develop more apps

What sort of feedback has your app been receiving so far?
Generally, customers like my apps. Sometimes, they will provide new ideas, input and suggestions to me.

And finally, what advice would you give to anyone considering creating their own app?

Do what you are good at it and you are interested in.

Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you! We have showcased a few of your 80 apps below. Wow!

mzm.majnbvvr Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk Sentence Builder App by Abitalk Incorporated
Category: Education, Kids, Educational, Games
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 3G, iPad 2 3G, iPad WiFi
Size: 30.99 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

mza 5252052964656751534 Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk Rainbow Math by Emmy Chen
Category: Education, Games, Educational, Kids
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 3G, iPad WiFi, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G, iPod Touch (4. Gen.), iPad 2 WiFI, iPod Touch (3. Gen.), iPhone 4
Size: 8.93 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$1.99USD

mzm.pmvpceuv Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk Math Bug by Abitalk Incorporated
Category: Education, Kids, Educational, Games
Requirements: Compatible with all
Size: 3.04 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$1.99USD

mzl.hbhuwqor Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk Reading Comprehension Fiction for first to second grade by Emmy Chen
Category: Education, Educational, Games, Kids
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 3G, iPad 3G, iPad WiFi, iPad 2 WiFI
Size: 9.76 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

mza 4748522113817983621 Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk Reading Comprehension – first, second grade non-fiction by Emmy Chen
Category: Education, Games, Educational, Kids
Requirements: Compatible with iPad WiFi, iPad 2 3G, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 3G
Size: 8.32 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

mzl.sbicuqtk Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk Second Grade Reading Comprehension by Abitalk Incorporated
Category: Education, Games, Kids, Educational
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 3G, iPad WiFi, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 2 3G
Size: 11.64 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

mzl.dphgmzeu Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk Second Grade Reading Comprehension English NonFiction by Abitalk Incorporated
Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 2 3G, iPad WiFi, iPad 3G
Size: 13.73 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

mzm.ndvibmxq Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk 3rd Grade Science Reading Comprehension by Abitalk Incorporated
Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad WiFi, iPad 2 3G, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 3G
Size: 5.35 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

mzm.jathulgh Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk 4th Grade Science Reading Comprehension by Abitalk Incorporated
Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 3G, iPad WiFi, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 3G
Size: 9.44 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

mzl.wdgfrtzq Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk 5th Grade Science Reading Comprehension by Abitalk Incorporated
Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 3G, iPad 3G, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad WiFi
Size: 14.15 MB
badge appstore lrg Developer Interview with Emmy Chen of AbiTalk
 
$2.99USD

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