Monthly Archives: April 2018

Multi student / device support

One of the most popular features requested in the first version of the app, was to allow siblings and school children to use the app and to allow students to keep track of their progress.

Several new features have been designed to achieve this goal.

From the settings within the app, you can turn on multi student mode. Here you can add new students and optionally enable the user toggle button. The user toggle button allows you to tap on the students name on the main screen. This enables parents of teachers to easily switch been students.

Several children or even a whole class can use the app keep their progression through times tables between sessions. We hope this feature will be popular in schools.

Here you can see that a student has completed some tables but is locked out of other tables until they have completed earlier times tables. This ensures that the student has completed simpler times tables before progressing on to more difficult (or more challenging) ones.

As a parent or teacher you can also manage your students and see an overview of their performance

We hope these features will be popular with schools and families.


Siri / Voice Recordings

Siri has become an extremely popular feature in iOS and we have been able to incorporate it into the app. Siri is used in conjunction with recorded voices (provided in English) to cater for several new languages.

With version 1 of the app we investigated the differences between UK and US English, for numbering.

In the UK we would say ten times twelve equals one hundred and twenty.

In the US we would say ten times twelve equals one hundred twenty.

Notice the ‘and’ in the UK, we took care to ensure that these subtle differences were included, which mean a lot to the specific culture.

Obviously cultural knowledge isn’t easy to include for all languages. In version 2 we took the decision to provide the app in additional languages, but as we didn’t have the cultural knowledge, we provided these extra languages with Siri.

We felt it was better to provide the app in these extra languages even if we weren’t able to provide voice recordings, however in the future we hope to roll out voice recordings for other languages.


Universal device support

The first version of the app was designed purely for iPad. However, all of the images in that version have been converted into drawing code. This has made it possible to cater for larger devices without a loss in quality.

Adding support for the iPad Pro 12 inch created some development issues. Drawing code had to be specifically modified to cater for the bigger size. We also support the iPad Pro 10.5 inch and the iPhone X.

The app also now supports Touch ID and Face ID, this is optionally available as an alternative to the pin login feature, which restricts access to the settings screens.

In order to provide multiple student features, iCloud was required to allow students to share several devices, perhaps an iPhone and iPad. Adding iCloud support was complex and care was taken to provide easy to use features which had flexibility for use in schools.

Version 1 of the app had voice recordings, however there was no choice to use siri. English students can now use siri or voice recordings. With improvements to Siri, other languages were possible and have been added to the app for use primarily by non English students.


Multiple languages

In the first version of the app we provided voice recordings, however these were only available in English.

Although it would be possible to provide voice recordings in other languages, this would have greatly increased the development time and as a result made the inclusion of some languages problematic.

Care has been taken to ensure that the translations are of a high quality and that numbering and wording is used correctly for that culture.

The app is now available is UK English, US English, French, Spanish, Russian, German and Simplified Chinese.

You can see a demonstration of the app via the video on your local app store.


How we designed the app (v2)

Please see the blog post about the first version of the app here.

Version 1

Version 2

If you were to compare version 1 against version 2, you may notice that at first glance there isn’t a great deal which looks different.

A lot of the changes have been made for technical reasons and to increase performance.

You may notice, that the monkey looks slightly different. Images do look different because they’ve been adjustedand converted into resizable drawings. These changes make is possible to provide sharp / quality drawings for different size devices.

The app is now available across all iPhones and iPads, including the new iPhone X.

Our times tables apps have grown over several years with each new version we’ve listened to customer feedback from parents and schools.

One of the key feature requests, was to allow multiple students / siblings to use the app and keep track of their progression through tables.  

With version 2, we have introduced iCloud support and multiple student support to make the app available to a lot more students.

We wanted to make the app available to students world wide. This was rather a large undertaking, so as well as UK English and US English we have added French, Spanish, Russian, German and Simplified Chinese languages. But this is an ongoing process and this first step provides these additional languages with Siri Support rather than voice recordings.

This now means that you can use Siri in English too.

With so many new features and options, we needed some settings to allow parents and teachers to turn on these features. We have added a parent gate, which allows settings to be restricted. If your device has Touch ID or Face ID, this can be employed to make access to settings easier.