By Rabbi Yaacov Deyo, COO
Make your own app experience
If you’re looking for a way to help make your torahlive.com experience on your mobile or tablet device feel even more like an app experience, there is a way to do that by creating a shortcut to torahlive.com on your mobile or tablet home screen. Find out how!
One of the questions we’re often asked here at Torah Live is – Why don’t you have an app? It’s a great question. The short answer is that … there really is not a short answer! There are good reasons on both sides! Let’s first discuss the reasons why not.
Ongoing Rapid Development
The new Torah Live site is ground breaking in so many ways. With its gamified learning, RWIs, Challenges, combined Parent/Teacher dashboards, there really isn’t anything like it even in the secular world. On top of that, we’re just starting!
We’re in constant development on new features even now, six months after we launched. Soon we’ll be introducing a new Crowdfunding module, a completely new set of Boosters and Power-ups, and a front-end Course Builder that will allow teachers and lay leaders to start building their own courses. This is all very exciting for us.
We expect to stay in this state of high velocity development for at least the next six months. For this reason, it does not make sense for us to work on an app right now until we finish designing and building the functionality of these new major features. At that point, we can then translate them into the native language of an app. You can’t really build a copy until the original is done, right?
We’re Looking for a Sponsor
App development requires designing, building, and getting approved for both the Apple and Android ecosystems. This is a very expensive and long process. Just consider. Our current site has over 820 pages of interactive content and administrative features. All of that needs to be recoded (and debugged) in two new operating systems. Before we begin this process, we need to secure more funding to support this work. If you know of someone who might be interested in helping us with this project, please let us know.
We Made our Current Site VERY Responsive
In choosing to launch our new site without an accompanying app, we realized we had to do something for all our prospective tablet and mobile users. The answer was to build the site super responsive. This took a team of developers over three months to do. This work, although time consuming, was still far less work than building out the apps – and it gave us a user experience that was equal to 70% of the app experience. We believe this solution would be a very good temporary one for our many users who play on a tablet or mobile platform.
So Then Why are You Still Planning on Building an App?
Despite all the above we do want to build an app for one very simple and clear reason – it will give our players a portable, web-free experience. This is very important to both us and the many families who do and might benefit from Torah Live.
For obvious reasons, Jewish parents want their children connected to the web only as much as absolutely necessary. Our parent surveys convey this message strongly.
Even though our new site has the highest controls and safeguards we could build, it is still an online experience, and children can theoretically click on other sites while their parents are not in attendance. Having an app will allow parents to give their children the full Torah Live experience without any possibility of clicking to an alternate site.
Protection and safety aside, an app will also give children a portable experience where they can enjoy Torah Live while riding in the car, staying in the bungalow colony – or while camping (as in real tent camping) in the woods.
So, stay tuned. B’ezras HaShem, we’ll be able to start work on it soon.