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Interview with Julian Stokoe

Have You Heard?

Have You Heard?

Today I talk to Julian Stokoe, from Yoozoo Books. He is the author of Have You Heard?, our October’s App of the Month.

Tell us a little bit about you and your studio. Where are you based and what is your “story”? 

Yoozoo Books is the book + game app department of Yoozoo Ltd based in Auckland, New Zealand. We are a small but perfectly formed team consisting of myself and my wife Sarah. Our two kids are also a big part of the company, being an endless source of inspiration. Yoozoo Books was formed as the home to a menagerie of characters who will appear in a series of stories planned for release as book + game apps for IOS and Android.

How did you enter the storybook app market? Is Have You Heard your first app? 

Have You Heard is Yoozoo Books’ debut release. Having published a series of picture books for kids in the past, I had started Have You Heard with the same traditional print distribution in mind. After learning about and researching the new medium of the book app, I became more focused on releasing Have You Heard in this format. As a animation director in my day job, the idea of combining writing, illustration with animation and sound into a kid’s story book seemed like a dream combo.

Can you share some words on your experience with Kwik/Kwiksher? 

While researching ways to actually produce book apps, Kwik caught my attention as this plugin for Photoshop. Being an Adobe user, starting the app production right inside Photoshop would fit perfectly with my existing production pipeline. Using Kwik fast became second nature. It was a blast to be intuitively creating pages of animation and audio that could be built for device so quickly. Alex is this amazingly responsive developer of Kwik who has a great deal of patience and involvement with the Kwik community. Actual feature requests I had (nested groups, play action upon completion of animation) were implemented by Alex in real time, just unheard of in software development.

Can you share your design/production process? How does it work? 

The app was first designed on paper – illustrated, written and code structure. Then art work is traced in CorelDraw (secret weapon), finished and organized in Photoshop for export through Kwik into Corona. Audio is on-going throughout this process. Music was made on the iPad in GarageBand. External coding took place in Sublime2. Rhys Darby was recorded when everything was working in the app. In fact, he recorded the story by reading it in the studio right off the iPad.

I noticed you have used external code to enhance a few things. Could you share where did you need code and the reasons why?

Main areas of code include creating a navigation module. This includes navigation to any page, plus a place to set the global audio properties and the mode of interaction. Audio is also handled in its own module so that onComplete can be used to step through stages on a page. This also helps with the 200 variable issue to put audio handles into a table. The memory drag and drop game is all coded externally.

Any tips and tricks to someone willing to follow your steps?

Try out some cool animation by using the nested groups and play action upon completion option. Think about the marketing angle on your app before you start it.

Are you doing or planning to do any marketing initiatives to promote the app? 

Right now we are sending out our release news to as many reviewers and relevant outlets as we can find. Beyond that we have a few other ideas to be released soon.

What is in the future for your studio?  

We are currently adapting Have You Heard for iPhone and Android. After that, we will release a new activity app. But we really can’t wait to return to another two story book apps which are in various states of production.

Any final words to Kwiksher’s readers? 

In the wise and immortal words of Buzz Lightyear. To infinity and beyond!

Thanks a lot for your time and this really amazing app of yours. For sure you got lots of new fans!


Thanks for using Kwik to make this gorgeous app.

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