We spend a third of our lives in the land of slumber, completely cut off from the our waking life, in a world of our own; it’s fascinating to think that the time that we spend asleep could be explored and even more exciting that it can be documented on an iPhone app. Developed in consultation with an analytic psychologist, In Your Dreams helps you to explore the meaning of your dreams by using an interactive dream journal and includes an illustrated ebook that covers the history and science of dreaming, symbols and archetypes, and additional guidance for using the app for dream interpretation. iPhoneAppCafe caught up with developer Belinda Recio for a quick chat about what goes on inside her head…
iPhoneAppCafe: Hi Belinda, thanks for talking to us about your app. So, tell us what made you want to design In Your Dreams?
Belinda Recio: I have been a content developer and designer for years. I started out in educational publishing at the Museum of Science in Boston, where I established a book and product development program for the education department. After ten years at the museum, I left and started my own company, creating educational kits, games, and books for clients such as the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Scholastic, and writing my own books, too.
Most of the companies I worked for back then distributed their products through specialty retailers. The specialty market was strong through the nineties, but by about halfway into the last decade, that market just about vanished. One of the biggest reasons was that everything was going digital. So I changed careers, started an art gallery and just watched the industry from the sidelines for several years.
Then last year I received a letter from Google about one of my books involved in the Google Books settlement. That letter was like a light bulb that lit up over my head. At that moment, I realized that I could re-package my intellectual property into digital versions of my books, kits, and other products. Of course, the writing had been on the wall for a while, but loving books and paper as much as I did (and still do!), I hadn’t seen it.
So I decided to make my entrance into the digital market with a previously published book and card set on dream symbolism called Box of Dreams. I created Box of Dreams with my friend, Eileen London, in 2000. It was published in 2001 by Bulfinch, Little Brown, sold well for years, and then went out of print. We still owned the rights, so we decided to turn it into an app for Apple’s iOS devices. Less than one month into the process, I decided to begin work on several other apps as well. I am about to release my second app, a game, within the next few weeks!
iPhoneAppCafe: Do you dedicate all of your time to In Your Dreams?
Belinda Recio: No, it’s a half time job for me. I still run the art gallery (www.truenorthgallery.net), but I’m always working on apps in between customers.
iPhoneAppCafe: What do you love about your app and do you think that you can top it?
Belinda Recio: I like it because it is visually pleasing, well written, and has a really elegant user interface. But I expect that I will like my forthcoming apps just as much.
iPhoneAppCafe: What advice would you give to budding young app developers wanting to emulate your success?
Belinda Recio: Well, I am still pretty new to app development myself, but as seasoned content developer and designer, I would suggest coming up with a good idea and then making sure it stands out from the other good ideas by being a perfectionist. If your idea has a lot of content, make certain it is accurate and clearly presented. If you can’t afford a professional editor, call up your long-lost cousin who edits and ask her to lend a hand. Create good-looking graphics or hire someone who can. Really think through the navigation, the UI, and every detail. Chances are that no matter what idea you come up with, someone else will come up with it, too. So the way to succeed is to make your app that does X better than all the other apps that do X.
iPhoneAppCafe: Tell us a few highlights during your journey to becoming a successful app developer.
Belinda Recio: There were two major highlights. The first was that the transformation from paper to digital was much more of an “upgrade” than I expected. I love books and the only reason I wanted to convert Box of Dreams into an app was because there was no denying that digital publishing was here to stay. So I started out from a position of resignation, so to speak, thinking, “Okay, there’s no avoiding it, let’s go digital like everyone else.” But then we soon realized that the possibilities offered by the app platform really improved the paper version in every way. The kind of interactivity we originally envisioned for the paper cards was significantly enhanced in its app format. The cross-referencing between cards and key words was easier, searching by name or category was instantaneous (no flipping through a deck of 99 cards), and the interactive journal could harvest data from the cards. Even the images looked better back-lit and enlarged. Everything was better.
The second highlight was cost to the consumer and hopefully the environment. When we think about how the paper version sold for $20 and the app sells for $3, the app value for the end user is unbelievable. And no paper was used, though the use of electricity to power the digital world verses the use of trees for paper and electricity for manufacturing is something I don’t know enough about.
iPhoneAppCafe: What have been the main challenges that you have had to face in the development of In Your Dreams?
Belinda Recio: Timing and marketing. Ideally, you want to release your app that does X before others release similar apps that do X. There are still ways to get around not being first in line, such as doing X better than the other X apps, but getting there first seems to help. So you feel a bit pressured, but at the same time, you don’t want to rush and sacrifice quality. And then there’s marketing, which always takes up more time than most people realize.
iPhoneAppCafe: Tell me anything else that iPhoneAppCafe fans might be interested to hear.
Belinda Recio: Sure. I’ll tell them why they should buy our app, In Your Dreams. First, it’s good looking, and let’s face it, you need that initial spark of visual attraction to have a lasting relationship with an app. But even more importantly, the app has heart and soul. It provides honest, responsible tools for dream exploration. We don’t pretend that our app can tell you what your dreams mean. Only you and possibly an analytic psychologist can do that. But with the symbol cards, interactive journal, and e-book included in the app, anyone can start to gain an honest understanding of what their dreams might mean. We developed both the print and digital versions in consultation with experienced and published analytic psychologists, and after doing our own dreamwork for years. So we did our homework, worked hard, and created a great app. Check it out!
iPhoneAppCafe: Thanks Belinda, great talking with you and the best of luck with all of your plans for the future!
To read another interview with a young app developer who has managed to achieve 11,000 downloads by the tender age of 18 click here!