EDTECH 597: Mixing Chocolate Chip Cookies and Mobile Apps! Yum!


The time has finally come in EDTECH 597 for me to develop my own app as the final project for the class. I’ve actually been thinking about this for the last several months, because I wanted to not only incorporate some of the elements of app development that I struggled with and finally mastered into one app, but also I wanted to create something that would help my promote my writing business. And because the app’s due date coincides with the end of the semester and the Christmas holiday, I thought I would incorporate a holiday theme into the app as well.

I’ve decided to do a food app would allow me to develop more of a following—especially for my Boise Food Examiner column, which gets quite a few readers this time of year. Since the app is due toward the middle of December it provides me with a perfect opportunity to send a Christmas card in the form of a mobile app and start building a more comprehensive marketing plan for my writing, starting with my food column. For the Christmas holiday, I’ll center thematically on the theme of chocolate since recipes like my chocolate chip cookie recipes have gotten a lot of traffic this year.

Recipes for bacon chocolate chip cookies have been a popular choice for readers of my column.

Developing my Cooking App

As I started developing this app, I looked at several food apps on Google Play as a source of inspiration, pulling the elements that I liked from several of them as well as adding a few ideas of my own based upon what I wanted the app to do as well as on the app building skills I’d still like to develop. I also had to consider the limitations of the App Inventor. For example, I wanted to have a step-by-step feature that would allow the user to click through each step of the recipe so that only one step at a time would appear on the screen, making it easier to read. At first, I wanted to make this feature a change screen feature. However, I realized that doing this would likely put my well over 5 megs, which is all the the App Inventor allows for a single app right now. Therefore, I settled on the list feature coupled with the label feature that we used in the President’s Quiz app last week.

I also wanted to provide a hyperlink to my Examiner page to start introducing some of my travel writing clients to that aspect of my career and to provide an element to the app that constantly brings a new element to the app for the people who already read the column. Each time I publish a new article on my Examiner page in certain categories, that will add to the list of recipes and articles that users of the app will see giving them more choices as time goes on. And from an aesthetic standpoint, these pages of Examiner have a pink color element to them, which is one of the colors that I wanted to use in the app’s visual design (along with browns for the chocolate).

Promoting my App and Publishing More in the Future

To promote the app, I will include a picture of the QR code in the slide shows of my Examiner page. I’ll also send out holiday emails to my clients and promote the app and the QR code on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, which between the two of them have almost 2,000 followers.

In the future, I’d like to roll out an app about every three months, allowing me to build momentum, gather names for my mailing list and launch either a paid app at the end of 2013 or possibly even a cookbook that can be published by a local publisher I know and have a relationship with, Freundship Press.  The company is the publisher of an anthology of women writers called Eclectic Collage. Some of my writing appears in this anthology, so it’s a logical next step.

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  1. EDTECH 597: Developing a Chocolate App Thats Good Enough to Eat! « buffynaillon

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