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We’re delighted to hear local student, Alexandra Kearney, has won the People’s Award at the Lovelace Colloquium. Interface3 has sponsored the prize for the past two years, and it’s part of the continuing support that we want to provide young women in computing with.

Congrats Alexandra!

About four months ago, we started working on a joint initiative between the Scottish Government and NHS24 around how to deliver mental health services using new technologies. Called Project Ginsberg, it aims to reach about 20% of the Scottish population which are struggling to cope under stress.

It’s been a fasinating project. Luckily, we’re also getting the chance to work with some of the best in the digital world too, including Bryan and Stephanie Rieger from Yiibu, Chris O’Suillvan from the Mental Health Foundation and Ruth Stevenson from Ruthless Research.

We’re now looking at a stage where we’re looking for people to help us out with some focus group research. If you’re near Edinburgh and willing to take part, please get in touch in the link below:

Project Ginsberg is a collaboration between Scottish Government and NHS 24, to develop a digital platform that helps people to manage times when they feel distressed or have trouble coping, for whatever reason.  At this early stage of development, we would like to invite you to participate in a focus group to help to develop our ideas and ensure they are relevant to the Scottish public. You would be paid £15 for your time. You can sign up here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ginsberg

Recently, a number of clients have asked us about what the best way to get attention in the apps store is. It’s pretty well known that the following three pieces of information (in this order) is what helps a user determine whether to buy an app:

  • The icon
  • The title
  • The screenshots

It’s been said that the icon can make or break an app. For instance, after TapTapTap’s released ‘Faces’ with what they thought was a sub-standard icon, it flopped to #198 in the apps store, after a revamp and a quick change in name, it jumped 149 places to #59 in the entertainment section.

Your goal in designing a great app icon is to make sure it stands out from the rest of the icons in the apps store, or the user’s phone. 

One important tool in designing a great app icon is to try and get as much feedback as possible. There are a few options for doing this:

Colleague and Close Friends. Cost: $ Time: Low.  Put a few ideas together, get some feedback from a few colleagues via email, and get people to choose. Pros: quick and simple. Cons: small sample size can lead to a lot of personal bias.

Mailing Lists and Social Media. Cost: $ Time: Medium. Same as above, but post your designs onto a blog (e.g. wordpress) or somewhere like 99designs.com and send the link to a few mailing lists, facebook and twitter to invite feedback. Pros: quick and simple. Cons: not asking people that are interested in buying your app (i.e. at the point of purchase).

A/B Testing using quiz sites. Cost: $. Time: Medium. Upload your best designs to somewhere like HeyCrowd or Mechanical Turk which has a ready made audience for you to test. Pros: much larger sample and slightly more accurate. Cons: Can cost money to get feedback and still not asking people at the point of purchase.

A/B Testing using landing pages and adwords. Cost: $$$ Time: High. Create a landing page for your app. Place different versions of the icons inside the page using an A/B testing system (e.g. KISSMetrics or Mixpanel), buy some adwords related to what your app is about and link it to your landing page. Pros: the best way to get feedback since the people judging are the people that are highly likely to be your product audience. Cons: time and cost preparations are high.

How you approach getting feedback will depend on how much time and budget you have, as well as it being proportionate to the amount of investment you’ve put into the app. If you’d like to talk about this further, please drop us an email or comment here!

Every year, the dynamic organisers of the BCS Women group run the Lovelace Colloquium – a networking event for undergraduates and postgraduate women in computing. Back in 2009, when the colloquium was held in Leeds, I was lucky to be involved. Hannah Dee – the organiser of the event – was kind enough to let me stay at her home and it was wonderful to be involved in the day.

I remember telling Hannah that I was leaving the world of academia to start a company and her and Roger wished me luck. 3 years later, it was a bit of a special moment when we decided that the first event we’re going to sponsor as a company was a poster prize the Lovelace Colloquium. It’s my little way of saying thank you.

Congratulations to Sarah Murfett from Sheffield Hallam University for her poster.

Talking of which, I’ll be involved in the Women in Computing panel at the upcoming T100 festival celebrating the 100th year of birth of Alan Turing on 10th May. Please come and say hi if you’re heading along.

(Yes, I apologise for the awful attempt at a pun.)

We’re growing at Interface3 and have space for two developers (Javascript/Platform and Intern/Unity3D) on our technical team. Please drop me an email at kate@Interface3.com with the subject line “Development post” if you’re interested.

Job Description: Javascript Developer

Apply by emailing a CV to kate@interface3.com.

Deadline: 30th April 2012

Location: Edinburgh

Read more…

Last Wednesday I joined Brian MacDonald, the infamous Luke Dicken, Jon from Lucky Frame on an IGDA panel about our learnings from GDC.

It was great to meet some new friends there – including Bez and local games studio Braindead Ape.

There’s a write up of the event over at the IGDA Scotland blog.

It’s always been important to us that we get out of the office, go meet other teachers and apps/game developers to design bigger and better games.

This month, we’re over in the U.S. of A. to do just that.

I’ve been over at Digital Media and Learning Conference (DML) which is a fantastic conference all about the use of technology in schools, museums and after-school clubs.

After a short break, myself, David and Chris will be at GDC (Games Developers Conference).

After that, I’m heading off to South by South West to meet and chat with more folks. Yes, it’s going to be one monster trip!

If you’re going to any of DML2012, GDC or SXSW, please drop us a line. We’ll even buy the coffee!

 

Hot on the heels of looking for a games developer to join us, we’re looking for a games artist too! We provide free coffee and an awesome, fun environment to work in. If you’re interested, email your CV and portfolio to kate@interface3.com.

Job Description: 2D graphics artist/animator (Graduate post)

Apply by emailing a CV and portfolio to kate@interface3.com.

Deadline: 28th Oct 2011

Location: Edinburgh

Description

Interface3 is looking for a 2D graphics artist/animator to join our creative team in Edinburgh. As a key part of a small startup, you’ll be working closely with the rest of the team in all things visual when it comes to developing our innovative multiuser, multitouch games.  This includes the initial concept art, all the way through to the in-game assets and even the marketing materials afterwards. You’ll have a decent amount of leeway to create cool, innovative stuff and we hope you’ll be excited to contribute to the overall look and feel of each game too.

Our ideal candidate is someone who has had direct experience in working on computer games and in particular, children’s games. You should be very comfortable with character and in-game asset design. You will be a creative thinker who can contribute and comment on the design process as well as aid parts of production such as asset management and work to deadlines and specification.  Excellent communication skills are a must, since you’ll be working with games designers and developers to ensure that we produce an awesome looking game. Read more…

We’re on the look out for a new developer to join our team. We provide free coffee and an awesome, fun environment. If you’re interested, email your CV and portfolio to kate@interface3.com.

Job Description: Junior Software Developer (C#)

Deadline: 28th Oct 2011

Salary: £competitive

Location: Edinburgh

Description

Interface3 is looking for an awesome software developer to join our technical team in Edinburgh. As a key part of a small startup, you’ll be working closely with the rest of the team in producing next generation multiplayer, multitouch educational games. You’ll be working on both tablets (e.g. iPad) and interactive tables (SMART Table) platforms.

Our ideal candidate is someone who loves computer games (if you know GameDevStory, that’s a bonus) and has a passion for creating games for 4-11 year olds. You should have a real attention to detail to produce something proud to call your own. You should be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and able to move from project-to-project. Most of all, we’re looking for an excellent problem solver and team player with great communication skills.

We love to play. Besides tables and tablets, we often experiment with new tech like Augmented Reality and the Kinect. We expect you to join in the fun: boring people need not apply. Read more…

Our first in-house product for the iOS platform has been released!

Coach Assist: VideoDrills is an iPad app for sports coaches to design, animate and share drills in a video file. Using your iPad, you can pull up existing drills in your drillbook, edit them to suit your next training session, then email them to your players so that they come prepared. Using VideoDrills, you can get inspiration for new drills, or using the multitouch interface, create new ones quickly and easily by moving multiple players at the same time.

You can grab a copy over at the iTunes store!