Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Last App of 2013 is...Door 24
You may have noticed a little extra spring in our step today. We can barely contain our excitement over the release of a new math app, Door 24, just before the App Store holiday freeze next week.

We developed Door 24 hot on the heels of the World's Worst Pet vocabulary app for our friends at Curriculum Associates and we're happy to announce that both common core-powered iPad apps are now available for the low low price of...FREE.

Door 24 is a fun way to reinforce basic math facts, number sense, and algebraic thinking. Students can work through 6 different difficulty levels, each with multiple problem sets, as they help fix Victor the robot’s circuits and solve the mystery behind Door 24!

Let me just say, there are a whole lotta ways to make the number 24.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Holiday Gift From Artgig...

Make your own custom card and send to your family, friends, or parole officer.
Our proprietary Holiday Greeting Generator does all the work!

Happy Holidays,


Thursday, November 21, 2013

World's Worst Pet is a Best New App!
We are thrilled to see World's Worst Pet, the game we made for our friends at Curriculum Associates, featured today as a "Best New App" in the Education category.

And you can download it for free:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Get Mystery Math Museum For Free - Friday, Nov 15

If you haven't downloaded our new app, now would be a good time to do it.

Mystery Math Museum will be free for one day only - Friday, November 15.

Or you can go to a real museum but I seriously doubt they will let you keep any of the exhibit paintings for your gallery.

Tell your friends...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Life of Man Website is a Communication Arts Pick of the Day
Really proud that the Life of Man website we made for Esquire was the featured Communication Arts WEBpick of the Day on November 5th.

Communication Arts is one of the few design magazines I still make time for - so it's really nice to get the nod.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

World's Worst Pet - A New (Free) Educational App...

We're pleased to announce an extra special Halloween treat today - a new educational app we developed for our friends, Curriculum Associates, is now available for iPad as a free download.

The game is World's Worst Pet and it's your job to help Snargg, our featured furry chief of mischief, out of some pretty precarious predicaments (again and again) by solving a variety of vocabulary challenges.

Fun and educational - that's our specialty!

What client makes a pillow to celebrate launch? Curriculum Associates, that's who.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mystery Math Museum: App Launch In Pictures

App Store Featured Best New Apps All Categories - Front Page
Our new app, Mystery Math Museum, appeared in the App Store right around the stroke of midnight last Thursday. We timed the launch to coordinate with the weekly App Store refresh and our Halloween marketing push.

The App Store update is always a nail-biter on launch day. It's one thing to go through the Apple approval process and get the "Ready For Sale" green light but it's another thing entirely to get picked by Apple for an App Store feature. I switched my desktop iTunes to the UK store a couple hours ahead of the usual 4pm est refresh to look for any clues that might hint at what to expect when the US store is updated. And last Thursday, I was encouraged to see Mystery Math Museum featured in the UK, so I let myself dream a little...
#99 out of 500,000 iPad apps
When we finally got a look at the freshly stocked US App Store shelves around 4:20pm we were thrilled to see Mystery Math Museum selected as a featured "Best New App" on the App Store front page.

Today Mystery Math Museum is ranked #99 in all iPad apps.

That's 99 out of half a million.

Launch charts #11 Education, #99 Top Overall, #15 Kids, #4 Kids 6-8

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mystery Math Museum is Now Available in the App Store!

Mystery Math Museum Is Here!

If you like Mystery Math Town, you’re really going to like the sequel.
Featuring a brand new town with 8 themed museums to explore and an entirely new cast of quirky characters (along with some old friends), Mystery Math Museum is truly an epic math mystery.

And...we’ve added division to the math practice options.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mystery Math Museum Is Here!

We got the news at 11:38 this morning.
Our new app, Mystery Math Museum, is 'Ready for Sale' in the App Store.
But you still can't have it...yet.
No, that would be rushing things and we try not to do that around here.
We really much prefer to plan our app launches rather than release them all willy-nilly.
After all, we've spent months crafting this game and it deserves a proper release.
We're not planning to make Mystery Math Museum available in the App Store until Thursday, next week.
That should give us enough time to share some promo codes with reviewers we've been talking to, and hopefully generate some buzz before the game appears in the store.
So if you write about kids apps and you want to try Mystery Math Museum, let us know.
The rest of you will just have to wait just a little bit longer.
Hang in there - we think you'll agree, it's worth it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mystery Math Museum Trading Cards - Collect Them All!

With our new Mystery Math Museum app set to launch for Halloween, we thought we'd give you a little treat while you wait.

It's a whole new set of virtual trading cards, featuring all of the quirky characters from the game, just like the set we made for Mystery Math Town.

We're releasing the cards on all of our social media streams so watch Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest and collect them all!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mystery Math Museum - Video Sneak Peek

You know what it's like when you're walking around a museum all day and you just want a nice, soothing place to rest your tired feet and maybe have a snack?

Yeah, so do we.

Each of the museums in our upcoming Mystery Math Museum kids app offer a comfortable lounge to relax, because even math detectives need a break every now and then.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mystery Math Museum is Coming This Halloween...

The spooky sequel to Mystery Math Town is coming to the App Store this Halloween.

Mystery Math Museum features an all new town made up of 8 themed museums and an entirely new cast of quirky characters to collect for your gallery.

And...we've added division to the math practice options.

Get a sneak peek here:

The Artgig Apps Parental Gate Button Collection

With the introduction of the new Kids category in the App Store, the issue of properly gating external links so children don't end up in the wild of the internet, has become a hot topic for app developers like us.

Sure, you can make users solve math problems or perform specific gestures to access external links but if you really want to stop kids in their tracks we suggest using the free open source buttons we designed to keep children from scaling the walls to escape your app.

It's the Artgig Apps parental gate button collection...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mystery Math Town In USA Today

The vertical line represents the USA Today story - up to #115 in all iPad apps today!
We arrived at work this morning to find Mystery Math Town surging in sales and rising up the charts, which got us thinking that someone probably said something nice about the app.

A quick search turned up a USA Today story, "Math apps turn learning into a fun game for kids," that was posted yesterday.

We don't usually see a big spike from news but this one seems to have given us a lift.

Thanks USA Today!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

App Store Kids Category Rankings

Photo was edited to show all featured apps without scrolling or tapping

Here's our quick scoop on the new App Store Kids category with a side dish of app sibling rivalry.

We have four apps currently featured in the Kids category: Marble Math and Marble Math Junior, Mystery Math Town, and Alien Buddies.

Needless to say, it's been quite a lift for us.
Sales are up 200-300% since the category launched last week.

Here's what Marble Math Junior looked like on the charts the day before iOS 7 dropped:

And here's what Junior's rankings look like today:

It's interesting to note our apps show nearly identical rankings in both the Education and Kids categories.

Of our four featured apps, Marble Math Junior is the only one to appear above the fold on the front page of the Kids category and that really helps. We know any amount of scrolling or tapping to find things will cost you sales.

Junior's older sibling, Marble Math, can actually be found on the front page of the App Store (all apps) but you have to scroll down and across to find it at the bottom of the page under Kids Apps & Games.

We're expecting to see the features rotate this week as they do in the Education category but who knows what Apple has up their sleeve?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

App Icon Showdown - (A New App From Artgig Apps)

iOS 7 arrives today and soon we'll see shiny new and colorful iPhones hitting the streets.

We've been busy testing our apps on the new platform and prepping for the new Kids App category, and I'm pleased to report that our apps are iOS 7 ready.

(Pause for applause)

But that's not all.

I have even bigger news to share this morning.

We've been busy making the sequel to our best selling education app.

If you like Mystery Math Town...

You're really going to like Mystery Math Museum.

It's scheduled to launch next month for iPad.

But first we have to pick the all important app icon.

We've narrowed the design to two options.

Which icon do you like best - the Artist or the Queen?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Esquire Web App Celebrates The Life of Man

Ever wonder what Derek Jeter is most looking forward to as he turns 40?

What about the best advice Robert Redford has ever gotten in his 77 years?

We're very pleased today to share The Life of Man - a new website we've been working on for Esquire to commemorate the magazine's 80th anniversary.

Users can browse The Life of Man Gallery to see noteworthy men, spanning ages one to eighty, in photographs and video and see what they have to say about their life right now.

If you feel inspired to add your own story, submit your portrait to the Interactive Gallery and join a living exhibit of men from across the country in 2013.
We designed The Life of Man as a responsive website that adapts to a wide variety of web browser scenarios, from super wide windows to mobile devices, to ensure every user has the optimal interactive experience.

So go on - be a man and check it out.

We're pretty proud of it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

If You Love Your Educational App Set It Free

You may have heard the argument against app promotions and giveaways that is centered on the notion that price reductions only contribute to a race to the bottom in the App Store.

You may have also heard that short term app price reductions do not help overall app sales.

Well, I'm here to tell you that you can't afford not to consider price promotions as a weapon in your educational app marketing arsenal.

On August 23rd we set our Shake-a-Phrase educational app to free (normally $1.99) as part of a weekly App Friday promotion and we extended the giveaway through Saturday to make sure everyone had a chance to download it.

A little backstory...

Shake-a-Phrase was the first educational iOS app  we produced under our Artgig Apps label over two years ago (that makes Shake like 60 in human years). The app was selected early on by Apple as a featured Writing app and remains forever featured as a result. The app has always been popular with educators and SLP's and we see a good amount of volume educational purchases, but it's far from a sexy chart topper. Of all our apps, Shake seemed like the best candidate for a visibility boost in the App Store feeding frenzy of the Back to School season.

App Promotion Results: 

We saw nearly 21,500 downloads over Friday and Saturday with 15,000+ downloads on App Friday.

We were fortunate that Shake was featured by App Advice for the Apps Gone Free daily listing which always translates to an instant download boost.

Additionally, Shake-a-Phrase was a Top 10 Free Education app for a short while early Saturday morning (luckily my 3 year old woke me up at 4:30am so I was able to snap this picture to prove it):

We also got a couple of new iTunes reviews and a nice new blog review here by the highly regarded @rmbyrne which set off a flurry of Twitter RT's to complement the stellar social media support we received throughout the giveaway. You cannot underestimate the importance of mentions like this.

In all, it was generally a terrific promotion for an educational app that is admittedly a bit long in the tooth.

As I type, the app is #72 in Paid Education when it normally slinks along the bottom of the Top 300 (and I didn't have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to snap this):

So, it's hard to argue about the success of the promotion. We dusted off an old app that is pretty popular in schools and got some fresh eyes on it - and that was the goal.

For kicks, I dug up our original Shake-a-Phrase App Friday promotion from exactly two years ago today.

On App Friday, August 26, 2011 Shake-a-Phrase had 2,602 downloads.

This Friday we had 15, 097 downloads.

What a difference a couple of years makes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School Stress Reliever (App Sale)!

Back to School.

If you're a teacher or parent and the very mention of these three words causes you to break out in a cold sweat, we're here to help.

This Friday, 8/23 we are giving away our featured App Store writing app, Shake-a-Phrase (normally $1.99), to promote giggle inducing grammar fun.

Ahhhh - don't you feel better already?

The silly sentence maker shakes up wacky scenarios and writing prompts in 5 different themes and includes a quiz mode for playful parts of speech practice.

Check out this teacher's review of the Android version of the app to see how Shake-a-Phrase can be used in your CCLS classroom.

Sure, you could probably use a nice weekend at a spa but what do you expect for free?

Download Shake-a-Phrase for FREE on the App Store - Friday, 8/23

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Summer Splash With Our Alien Buddies! (FREE APP INSIDE)

You’re invited to a summer app celebration! 

When: This Friday, August 2nd 

What: FREE award-winning Alien Buddies early learning iOS app (normally $1.99)

Bring your iPad, iPhones (and kids, ages 3-6)

Tell your friends!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer App Promo Results - In Pictures

Mystery Math Town for iPhone in Toca territory - Education Top 10 Free Apps
We'd like to thank everyone who helped to spread the word about our Mystery Math Town for iPhone app giveaway on Friday 6/28.

We let the sale run into Saturday morning to make sure everyone had a chance to download the game.

And the evidence suggests that making your app free for a day continues to be a good way to get the attention of new users.

We're happy to report Mystery Math Town for iPhone was downloaded to over 7,000 devices during the promotion.

That's a lot of fireflies.

Here's what the promo looks like in pictures:

Twitter link clicks peaked the day of the promo

Facebook activity - over 6,000 people talking about the promo (if you believe anything Facebook says)

Blog activity/views peaked the day before the promo

appFigures paid sales - positive trend, even better after the promo
appFigures units downloaded

Friday, June 28, 2013

Get Mystery Math Town for your iPhone - FREE Today!

You say you haven't downloaded Mystery Math Town for your iPhone yet?

Well, we're making it real easy today.

So why don't you mosey on over to the App Store and get yourself a free educational app to keep those math skills sharp this summer.

The Guardian even named it one of the Best 50 Kids Apps of 2013.

Go get it, and tell your friends.

Don't worry, there's plenty to go around.

Mystery Math Town for iPhone - Free Today Only

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Summer App Celebration!

Schools out for the summer!

Now how can we entice you to download our apps?

As makers of educational games, we've come to expect slower overall app sales and fewer spikes resulting from schools who take advantage of Apple's volume purchase program.

Typically, the app dog days languish well into July, like a long summer's nap.

But the arrival of August breathes new life into the educational category as the Back to School buzz rises, reaching a crescendo louder than the song of the 17 year cicadas, in a September app downloading frenzy.

Ahhhhh - summer.

Let's celebrate now.

We've got something special planned for you next week...

See you Friday, June 28th.

Monday, June 10, 2013

WARNING - App Marketing Misstep

We've been feeling good about our educational app, Mystery Math Town, since we launched the game in April.

The app debuted as our best yet, easily eclipsing the previous successes of our Marble Math and Alien Buddies apps. Mystery Math Town was picked by Apple as a featured iPad Education New and Noteworthy selection and it even spent some time on the front page of the iPad App Store. We also received an outpouring of critical praise and user feedback, telling us how much people enjoy playing the game. But amongst the positive buzz and back-patting, there was a small but very vocal group of iPhone users who felt slighted - because we'd released Mystery Math Town for iPad only.

When we next gathered around our developers round table to plot our app updates, we quickly decided to fast track development of an iPhone version of Mystery Math Town. It seemed like a no-brainer to create a separate iPhone app for a number of reasons:
  1. It would satisfy a clear market need - we knew users wanted the app for iPhone.
  2. It would allow us to test the performance of an iPhone app in the App Store. To this point, our apps have all been universal (iPad and iPhone) or iPad-only. Apple only gives you combined sales in reports so there is no clear way to separate iPad and iPhone sales for universal apps.
  3. We already had a successful marketing campaign in place for the iPad launch and we could repurpose some of those materials for iPhone.
  4. People already love the iPad game!
It was an easy decision. We immediately defined the work we needed to do, which mainly required a re-thinking of the UI to take advantage of the phone screen real estate at different sizes. Once we settled on the adjustments to ensure a good user experience on the phone, it took about 70 hours in total design and programming time to make the changes.

We released Mystery Math Town for iPhone last week on Wednesday June 3rd for $1.99.

To date it has been downloaded 38 times, selling an average of 5 apps/day and earning a whopping $40.89 in total sales. That doesn't even cover a single hour of our development time.

Let me be clear, we never expected to repeat the success of releasing a brand new app. We also know that iPhone sales are significantly lower than iPad sales in the education space.

Sure, the timing isn't great. It's the end of the school year and there isn't exactly a frenzy of educational app purchases in June...or July for that matter.

We've worked hard to cultivate our Artgig Apps brand and we have a pretty loyal following of educators, parents and app reviewers who know we produce quality games. Our family of apps consistently rank in the Top 5% of all iPad apps in the App Store Education category.

I would think on the strength of the family alone, we'd be selling more than 5 apps a day.

But in order for the concept of App Store cross promotion to work, people have to see that your apps are related.

And, in the case of Mystery Math Town for iPhone, we've learned a very hard lesson.

Apple does NOT consider Mystery Math Town for iPhone to be related to any of our family of apps, because we have not produced any other iPhone-only apps. Actually, that's not entirely true. If you're looking at Mystery Math Town for iPhone in the App Store, and you search under "Related," you'll find exactly what you'd expect - more apps, like Marble Math, that you can play on your iPhone by the same developer (us!).

But our primary challenge with a new release isn't helping users to find other apps we've produced. The big challenge is helping users to find the new release (i.e. Mystery Math Town for iPhone).

In the App Store ecosystem not all family members are so sunny when speaking of their relatives. In fact, some of them flat out refuse to say a single word about the family.

If you're looking at the Marble Math App Store listing on your phone, and you say to yourself, "let me see what else these brilliant developers have produced" and you naturally select "Related" to peruse the other apps you might consider purchasing, Apple has apparently made the decision to exclude Mystery Math Town for iPhone, because it is an iPhone-only app, and you were looking at a universal app, so that must be all you are interested in.


That's where we stumbled and sprained our app marketing muscles.

It's pretty incredible to me that in the vast sea of the App Store, Apple is actively squashing the idea of cross promotion.

But there you have it.
The screenshots do not lie.

If you're considering developing an iPhone-only app - you might want to think twice.
Unless you're prepared to produce iPhone-only versions of your other apps, you'll miss out on one of the few opportunities available for app cross promotion.

This PSA is brought to you by Artgig Apps.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mystery Math Town for iPhone is Available Today!

iPhone users spoke and we listened!

We’re pleased to announce the release of our hit educational app, Mystery Math Town, as a separate version designed for iPhone and iPod Touch.

You can download Mystery Math Town for iPhone today on the App Store at an introductory price of only $1.99.

It’s the perfect game to avoid the dreaded summer brain drain!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mystery Math Town for iPhone Spotted!

Don't worry, the numbers are not reversed in the game!
I know, we've been unusually quiet since launching our Mystery Math Town app over a month ago. Let me just say, the overwhelming response from thousands of iPad users all over the world has been fantastic. And we thank you for downloading the game.

There is however a segment of the iOS market who is feeling somewhat neglected - iPhone users we've heard your cries and for that, we apologize.

Today, I'm breaking the silence to offer you a sneak peek at something we made just for you. This picture was snapped last week at Artgig headquarters.

To all the iPhone and iPod touch users asking us when Mystery Math Town will be available for you, we finally have an answer...

Real soon.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Building a House in Mystery Math Town [video]

We are absolutely thrilled by the fantastic response to our New and Noteworthy Mystery Math Town app, and we’d like to take this moment to thank you for your support.

As a small token of gratitude, we thought you might appreciate this exclusive behind the scenes developer video, demonstrating our custom house editor.

We built the editor to make it easy for our designers to construct houses and arrange rooms, in Mystery Math Town. The simple drag and drop interface allows for quick and easy testing of configurations using art we created for doors, windows and passages, and objects like firefly jars, numbers and other goodies.

As one reviewer put it, "no sane architect would actually design a floor plan that appears in any of these houses, but that's part of the fun!"


Thanks for playing Mystery Math Town.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Case of the Mystery App Store Sales (With Exciting Pictures and Charts)

A funny thing happened amidst all the hoopla surrounding the big debut of our New & Noteworthy Mystery Math Town app.

One of our other math apps, Marble Math Junior, made a stealthy run up the Education charts, and is currently jostling for position in the Top 75 (up from 250).

We actually noticed the increased sales in late March just before we released Mystery Math Town on April 3rd, but couldn't see a direct reason for it, and well, I suppose we can also be accused of showering the new 'baby' with all of our attention, and neglecting poor Junior, so we didn't exactly launch a full investigation.
Marble Math Jr Rank Trending 3/24 to 4/16
Normally, when sales jump over 60%, we can see a big Education purchase, or we can point to a promotion or feature, but the only event I could see as a launching pad for Marble Math Junior was the Common Sense Media ON for Learning Award, which would make sense IF the 'older' Marble Math also saw a sales increase, since they both received the Award on the same day. We did see a Marble Math spike at the same time Junior took off, but Marble Math immediately dropped, while Junior just kept climbing.

The mystery of your app sales in the App Store can be tough to solve. Apple only provides aggregate buckets of information - we can see daily totals for downloads, gifts, promo codes used, returns, and educational purchases. That's it.

We use tools like appFigures and App Annie to collect our sales and ranking data from Apple and report back to us with colorful graphs and charts. They also report when apps are Featured in the App Store...sometimes. Unfortunately, the Featured app reporting seems to be somewhat sketchy. Mystery Math Town, which has been a Featured New and Noteworthy selection since April 4th, and has a giant banner in the Education store right now, is not showing up in any of the reports as Featured. So it often takes a bit of good old fashioned detective work to discover why people are suddenly downloading your app.

So, I packed my pipe and put on my best sleuthing cap and set out to discover what favorable forces had propelled Marble Math Junior to its lofty position on the charts.

This is what I found:

Evidence suggests that on Thursday, March 28th, Apple added a new "Entertain Your Kids" banner to the showcase carousel on the home page of the App Store.

I present Exhibit A:

A deeper analysis reveals you'd likely discover Marble Math Junior as a featured Game if you were inclined to tap into the banner:

It appears that one week prior to the Mystery Math Town release, Apple did feature Marble Math Junior in a rotating feature, AND that our reporting tools did NOT report this fact.

Since the release of Mystery Math Town, Apple has added two more of these rotating Education banners, Apps for Preschool & Kindergarten and Apps for Elementary School, that expand into various categories and also feature, quite prominently I might add, you guessed it...Marble Math Junior.

So, what does this tell us?

A.)  Apple has a big heart.

B.)  Apple is trying to curate apps to offset the daunting prospect of searching the App Store.

C.)  Given the current App Store design and limited availability of real estate, the only decent display option for pop-up curated app collections is to put them in big splashy banners that rotate, so your potential customers have to be looking at the banners at the precise moment your collection is visible if you're to realize a single additional sale.

D.) Being an app developer requires the wearing of many hats if you hope to understand your business.

If it sounds like I'm complaining about Apple, I'm not - see A. and B.

Also see the mystery of our nonexistent Shake-a-Phrase sales on Android and Windows - that's a case to crack another time.

I'll be back with a report on Mystery Math Town when the dust settles.