By Ashley Davidson
May 1, 2012
Over the last week or so, we've been sharing information about the app we had been working, an app that will give you an entirely awesome mobile experience using Voices.com on the iPhone.
You've also heard about 5 microphones compatible with the Apple iPhone.
Today, Voices.com is thrilled to introduce to you Jamie Klapwyk, Voices.com's iPhone App Developer!
Hear about what it took to build the app, the technology and equipment used in the design process and what drew Jamie to his position as a developer at Voices.com!
Join us in meeting the man "behind the app," Jamie Klapwyk.
VOX: Tell us about yourself. Where did you go to school?
Jamie Klapwyk: I went to Humber College studying for the Multimedia and Production Technician program at the North Campus. Funny how life takes you. I first went to Humber to apply for the 3D animation course there, however, I didn't make it in because I simply didn't have enough art credits. They suggested instead that the Multimedia program would be a good fit for me. So I thought to myself, well I do like coding and the program did have few courses on 3D animation, so I went for it.
VOX: What do you like to do in your spare time?
JK: Spare time, well with two small kids and a third on the way I've been really enjoying the luxury of rest :). Though lately I'm finding I'm really enjoying just simple walks and hikes with my girls and my wife, playing guitar and fixing things around the house. I tend to try to stay away from the computer as soon as my work is done.
VOX: Where did your love for app development begin?
JK: I must say the thrill of creating something in code and being able to see it come alive on the screen would have to go back to my high school days in Computer Science class when I was in a group of three where one guy was a genius and we were assigned to create some application using Turbo Pascal. We went all out. We decided to create a multiplayer spaceship game with a sun in the middle that would cause all ships to slowly move towards the sun's gravity while two players would try to shoot each other down using cannons and guided missiles. I laugh because it was a crazy amount of work but it actually worked.
VOX: What other apps have you built before coming to Voices.com?
JK: At my previous place of employment I had a hand in developing a prototype iPad app for Cisco's Videoscape experience that would allow users to view videos on the iPad and with a tap "send" the video to their TV and back again. As a personal project I've also developed an app called Song Bird Pro which basically solved an issue that I had where I would have a binder filled with songs to play with my guitar and it was just so cumbersome. I decided to build an app that would allow me to take all those songs, put them on the iPad and use the iPad on a music stand instead of the huge binder I had.
VOX: What made you want to work at Voices.com?
JK: What brought me to Voices.com, apart from offering me really good pay and benefits, was the fact that I was going to work on both the design and the development of a totally new and feature filled application, which is an exciting challenge for me. And now that I've been here for a few months, it's been a really great place to work.
VOX: What features of Voices.com were "a must" to include in the iPhone app?
JK: Right from the get go, we knew that we needed the app to perform common tasks that a voice-over talent or client would do from day-to-day. So we made sure the app could allow clients access to all of our talent, post and update their jobs, listen to the responses to their jobs, read their messages and check on their payments. For the Talent we made sure they would be able to update their profile, create and update their demos, read their feedback, get access to jobs which they can audition for on the spot with the new recording audio feature, read messages and check on their payments. Later in production we also realized that we needed to attract people who were not yet registered into our service so now we are allowing them to listen to the talent demos right at the start of the app. Our thoughts were if a business wanted a voice-over, they can download the app, listen to some voice-over demos, find one that they think will be a perfect fit for their needs and right away allow them to request a quote from that particular talent as opposed to scaring them with a login screen at the start.
VOX: What problem were you trying to solve by adding the feature to record demos and auditions right from the iPhone app?
JK: In implementing the record audio feature within the app, we ran into an issue where there seemed to be no easy way to encode as MP3 which is the standard audio format we currently use for the website. We decided to encode recorded files as M4A on the iPhone and then send those audio files to the server where they would then be encoded as MP3s. For the auditions, we found that we needed to retrieve the audition from the server in the background so that the app wouldn't "freeze" showing a loading screen every time talent swipe to the next job. It's surprising how much work goes into simply getting information from the server while maintaining a good user experience. All throughout the app there are places where the app loads information in the background and storing that information in a cache on the iPhone so that the next time the user opens the app, that information is already available to them. All this work is hoping to minimize the horrible loading screens that users have to wait for. As always there's lots of room for improvement and we hope to make the app a much easier and more functional experience with each iteration.
VOX: What was the technology/equipment used in the development of the app?
JK: We are currently using Code Ignitor (Open source web application framework) for much of the backend, XCode on an Appleâ„¢ MacBook Pro for the actual coding of the app, Charles for checking the Server calls and Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 for the design. We test using various iPhones, iPads and the iPhone Simulator which also allows me to test for various iOS operating versions.
VOX: What are some design elements that you brought from the website to the app?
JK: We did bring a few things, like the colours blue and green for the buttons and navigation bar, the brand, the client and talent characters, the grey background and the rounded boxes. However we also wanted to freshen things up by changing the icons. We also felt we needed to make sure that we kept the look and the behaviours of the controls close to what people would expect from an iPhone application. We definitely wanted to stay close to Apple's Human Interface Guidelines. On a side note, early on in the design process it was really helpful to look elsewhere for inspiration, whether it be downloading apps we liked for their controls, trying them out see if they would work well, or use Google images to blanket the screen with various iPhone app screens.
VOX: What is one thing we didn't know about you?
JK: I'm probably one of the few people in the world who actually liked Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars Episode 1. There I said it ... ( hides under desk ).
Let us know what you think of the man behind the app!
To download the app click the following link:
For more information on the Voices.com iPhone App visit, http://www.voices.com/iphone
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