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Are kids these days really as hopeless and self-absorbed as we claim? Perhaps not.
The next wave of tech extraordinaires seem to get younger and younger, and the app-creating students mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg.
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Check out the apps below from impressive, pint-sized developers, who’ve accomplished much more before high school than most people more than twice their age.
New Hampshire’s Hampstead Academy is a strictly peanut-free zone due to the relatively high number of students with nut allergies.
This inspired the school’s eighth graders to create the cleverly named Chow Checker app, which identifies food allergens to determine if certain foods, from grocery stores or restaurants, are safe to eat.
You can create a profile and select up to 12 allergens, and then search for a product name or scan a barcode. Either option pulls up a list of ingredients in that food, as well as nutritional content.
The app taps into the daily updated Nutritionix food database, which includes more than 300,000 food items. You can add notes about the food for future reference.
Hampstead students worked with the MIT Media Lab to write the app, which was a Verizon Innovative App Challenge winner in 2013.
Available for free on Android.
When he was 14 years old, Robert Nay’s physics-based puzzle game, Bubble Ball, unseated the seemingly indomitable Angry Birds for the iTunes App Store’s top spot in January 2011. Not bad for someone who created his first website in third grade and already owns his own company, Nay Games LLC.
Nay wrote Bubble Ball with Corona tools from Ansca Mobile. It took him roughly 4,000 lines of code.
The app capitalizes on players’ creativity, prompting you to set up lengths of wood and metal, and activate various power-ups to manipulate your bubble for the sake of reaching the goal.
There are 144 official levels, and because anyone can create a new level, the game is constantly evolving. There are already more than 200 community-created levels to explore.
David Singer’s app, Backdoor, removes a key component of communication — identity.
Backdoor, which launched in July 2013, is an anonymous messaging app that lets you reach your friends by signing in through either Facebook or Google+. The app gives you clues to learn more about the sender’s identity. In-app purchases provide additional clues, such as gender, likes, interests and more.
Cashing in on people’s desperation and curiosity? Color us impressed.
Singer, who considers himself primarily a UI designer, was 13 years old when he wrote the app. He’s the same kid behind YouTell, the popular website that allows you to post questions and solicit anonymous feedback.
Available for free on iOS.
Second through fifth graders from Jackson County, Mich., worked with two high schoolers in the same district to create iPad app Things to Think About.
Its premise is to jumpstart and foster children’s interest in writing and critical thinking, as well as encourage dialogue about challenging ideas and issues.
The app asks kids to dream big, think through “what would you do” scenarios and expands horizons past kids’ environments.
The students brainstormed 100 writing prompts in 12 categories, including Friends, Family, School, Fun and Feelings. A student’s original hand-drawn illustration and the option of a child’s short voice narration accompanies each prompt.
Available for free on iOS. An Android version is under process.
Welcome to this morning’s edition of “First To Know,” a series in which we keep you in the know on what’s happening in the digital world.
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Today, we’re looking at three particularly interesting stories. Google is fighting the good fight against diabetes in true Google style. The company announced a smart contact lens project on its official blog, and even included a photo of the prototype device. According to a report onRe/code, Twitter could be launching an attack on e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay. And, according to 9to5Mac, Apple is making it easier and less expensive for users to have their broken iPhone screens repaired.
Check out the video above for more on these stories.
Last year was a great year in the web analytics world. We saw awesome advancements from just about every vendor in the web analytics industry.
Some of my favorite achievements of the past 12 months were:
- Google rolled out the Google Tag Manager to the masses and launched very cool functions such as auto event tracking.
- The addition of demographic data in Google Analytics has led to amazing insights.
- Adobe launched a new (much improved) interface to Adobe Analytics which showed how useful a web analytics solution can be when owned by a company that made its name with UI design tools.
- Tag management companies such as TagMan and Tealium landed many great new customers as well as big rounds of funding.
With the start of 2014, we have more experienced web analysts out in the field than ever before and organizations are now relying (rather than hoping) upon analytics for improvements in their bottom line.
In the year ahead, I am optimistic that we will see the pace of advancement in the web analytics world accelerate. Below is my top 10 list of trends that I would love to see over the next 12 months.
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Better Content Analysis Tools,
When it comes to engagement with content (text, graphics, video, etc) most web analytics platforms show the same data – views, landing page visits, next page views, exits, goal contribution, etc. To get reporting on actual engagement with the content, analysts need to implement other tools to track engagement such as scrolling, mouse movement, zooming, and highlighting. This divide in reporting is a major challenge for content producers.
Better Tools for Integration with Third Party Data,
If 2013 was the year for “Big Data” then 2014 should be the year for data integration with web analytics. While platforms like Adobe Analytics and IBM CoreMetrics did a decent job at enabling analyst to integrate data from multiple sources (i.e. CRM, Call Center, Lead Nurturing) with web analytics data, most platforms are lagging in this area. This year we want to see web analytics platforms help site owners to have a more 360⁰ view of their prospects and customers by providing excellent tools for integrating data from other platforms into the web analytics environment.
Multi-visit Click Paths,
Unless you’re selling competitively priced pencils at auction, odds are that your visitors are looking at your site multiple times before (and after) converting. But today almost all web analytics platforms focus on reporting for a single visit. There are persistent tracking variables that can be used to show multi-visit attributes. But site owners need to see how visitors’ behaviors change as they learn more about products/services and as they start to interact with the organization offline (i.e. sales calls).
Physical Interaction Tracking,
Better Video Tracking,
Many corporations big and small have multiple sites across multiple domains. Their prospects, customers, partners, employees, etc likely traverse across domains in multiple visits or possibly single visits. But today, most (not all) of the web analytics platforms don’t do a thorough job of enabling site owners to track visitors across domains. While this is not a problem for most site owners, for companies with diverse initiatives in marketing, demand generation, lead nurturing, and customer support this can cause a major gap in tracking the customer journey. In 2014, we want all major web analytics vendors to solve this tracking problem with easy to use configurations.
Compensate for “Not Provided”,
As Google continues to encrypt more and more user search submissions we have seen the percentage of users with Not-Provided search phrases grow by over 100% across sites that we monitor in the last year. This makes measuring SEO performance and optimization very difficult. Analysts need Google to provide some sort of help with this. If not showing the exact search phrase, perhaps they can expose search phrase categories or better integration with Web Master Tools. It would be easy for tools like Google Analytics to create reports that show which search phrases generated traffic without associating the phrases with individual users. This would help site owners with SEO reporting without risking user privacy or website security.
CMS integration with Web Analytics,
The most commonly used administrative tool on most sites is the content management system. This is the area where people making site updates need information on how pages and pieces of content are performing and how visitors are interacting with the site. We are hopeful that some CMS vendors will make big improvements in 2014 by enabling plug and play integration with web analytics tools to empower their internal site owners.
Better Data Exports,
Google made some great strides in 2013 to share Google Analytics data with other platforms and a large number of dash-boarding companies built/updated plugins for Google Analytics. But almost every other vendor in the web analytics space does an insufficient job at sharing data which makes dash-boarding and analyzing closed loop sales cycles unnecessarily difficult. We are hopeful that the other web analytics vendors will follow Googles lead this year.
Data Manipulation within Web Analytics,
Platforms such as Google Analytics, Webtrends, and Adobe Analytics are great at tracking visitors and then presenting the data. But the platforms do no provide much functionality in terms of manipulating the data once it has been brought into the platform. Providing tools for editing fields and values would provide web analysts with powerful Business Intelligence capabilities to fit the tracking to the organization.
This year has barely started, but I am very hopeful that it is a defining year for how organizations worldwide gain and utilize customer intelligence in the digital channel. While few organizations fully utilize the web analytics tools they have in place today, there are progressive teams pushing the limits of what website tracking can do to improve digital experiences and I am optimistic that in 2014 the industry tools are going to evolve even farther to drive the entire web industry to new heights.
Drawing and sketching were once activities limited to pencil and paper, but for budding artists in the digital age, there’s a wealth of online, browser-based tools to let your creativity run wild.
It doesn’t just have to be a hobby or pastime, though — drawing is useful for brainstorming and problem-solving, and these web apps can aid in any profession.
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We’ve picked 12 of the best drawing and sketching apps to suit any level of artist, ranging from professional-grade applications to simple tools for doodling. They’re all free, and since they’re all online, they can be accessed from anywhere.
Sketchpad is a browser-based drawing and image editor built in HTML5, combining WebGL effects with vector editing. Its rich, flexible feature set means you can create almost any image you want. It’s super simple to save your work — just click the disk icon in the top right of the screen, and the program displays your image as a PNG, which you can then save to your desktop.
The drawing tools include text, brush, shape, pencil, paint bucket, stamp, spirograph, calligraphy, marquee, crop, eraser and color-picker. Sketchpad also supports gradients, and the History palette allows you to review previous revisions.
PencilApp is a recently released, simple, browser-based pencil application that is perfect for quick sketches and drawings. It features a minimalist interface with just a pencil, eraser and a text-typing tool. You can change the size of the text and choose from one of the five pre-defined colors.
While there’s no “undo” command, you can choose the eraser tool and edit out something you’ve drawn. The Save function allows you to save your artwork as an image.
PencilApp is built using HTML5, CSS3 and the (jQuery) jqScribble plugin.
AWW (which stands for A Web Whiteboard) is an online whiteboard and drawing app that allows for basic collaboration with a group of people using a variety of devices. The simplistic nature of the interface and controls means there is a low learning curve and you can get started straight away.
It features a choice of seven colors, three sizes of pencil, an eraser and a text tool. To invite others to collaborate, just send them a link to your drawing board and they can join the project. You can save the drawing as a PNG image and upload, share or send through email.
You can embed AWW on your own site using the plugin or API.
Sumo Paint is a fully featured image editing and painting app, which at first glance feels like a browser-based version of Adobe Photoshop. You can edit existing images or start with a blank canvas, with a wealth of advanced features to make use of, including layering tools, blending modes, blur tools and the ability to make finite adjustments to an image to improve the quality.
Other options include contrast, color balance, brightness and more. Once you’ve finished your creation, you can save the image to your desktop in PNG or JPG format, or as a SUMO file that you can open and edit at a later time.
QueekyPaint is a unique online drawing tool that allows you to create videos of your work while you’re painting. You can create your own speed paint artwork, or visit the galleries to learn from the creation process of other artists. It also offers you the ability to edit your photos, publish your artwork and collaborate in projects and groups to meet artists with similar interests. You can even create your own group for a specific topic and invite others to join.
Save artwork to your desktop or Queeky account, or export it as a JPG, GIF or PNG. You can edit images using the suite of tools provided, which includes generic tools, layer effects, filters and adjustment options such as contrast, brightness and more.
Pencil Madness is a simple app that lets you draw and publish images to the Pencil Madness gallery. You can save Images to your desktop as JPG or SVG files once you’re finished. The app features a number of brushes and brush effects to draw whatever you choose, along with a range of colors. You can change the size and opacity of the brush, use the eraser, zoom in and out, and even undo and redo actions. Extract colors from an image to create a color palette to use within your drawing.
The app is also available on the Amazon App marketplace to use on your Android mobile device.
Sketchpad is a fun, feature-rich drawing application written in HTML5. It’s non-destructive and doesn’t limit itself to just drawing and sketching — you can even sign PDF documents and export them to your desktop, which is much more efficient than downloading, printing, filling in, scanning and so on. It features an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface with many tools, including text, paintbrush, pencil, calligraphy, stamp, spirograph, crayon, arrows and more.
You can undo, redo and erase any part of your creation, and even take images using your computers in-built camera.
Sketch & Paint allows you to get creative and get started quickly. Its simple interface and variety of sketching tools include a paintbrush, color kit, zoom view, eraser and opacity. You can set the dimension of the canvas, set your color and brush properties (such as size, pressure, diffusion, scatter and shake). Multi-level undo and redo is included, and every line you draw is treated as an individual object and can be dragged and deleted separately.
Keyboard shortcut functionality is provided, which makes it easy to select and adjust tools and settings.
Draw Island is a simple web-based tool for creating drawings and GIF animations, with the option of various canvas sizes, and featuring pencil and paintbrushes. You can increase the brush size and opacity level, or choose between the shapes available to create your drawing. There’s an undo and redo function, as well as an eraser to remove any unwanted parts of your artwork. You can use the color wheel to pick any color you want, or you can enter your own Hex code.
You can import images, easily create a GIF, control the animation delay, and add text to any drawing.
Slimber is a browser-based app that allows you to draw, replay and save your artwork. It’s easy to get started — just choose your canvas dimensions and begin creating. A palette of tools is provided, which includes a pencil, brush, line, shapes, paint bucket, eraser and color-picker. You can choose the size, spacing, shape, overlay and flow of your paintbrush and specify your preferred RGB color.
Once you’re finished, you can click “play” and it will rerun your artistic process. Then you can save and write a description of your artwork. Submit your piece to the gallery to see your creation and receive the URL address or embed code to share.
deviantArt Muro is an online HTML5 drawing application, released in 2010 as a celebratory offering for deviantArt’s 10th birthday. It’s perfect for both hobbyist doodlers and professional artists. Your work is saved automatically (to your Sta.sh account) from your first brush stroke, and you can share your creative process to be replayed, published and shared. There are more than 20 brushes to choose from, and you can specify brush opacity, size and fill opacity. You can add or remove layers and adjust brightness and contrast. Filters include blur, sharpen, high pass, emboss, noise and more.
Images can be exported as PNG, layers or saved to your Sta.sh account.
FlockDraw is a seamless collaborative drawing and painting tool that makes it easy to draw in real-time with other people (or simply create your own art). To begin, click “Create your session” and start drawing, and invite others to join by providing them with your unique URL.
Use shapes, text, lines, the brush tool and the provided color palette to create your own drawing. You change the size of your brush, and save your image to the gallery or share it on social media or via the unique URL.