As night falls, a hint of light escapes from a window of a building. Members of the Ewha Appcenter are gathered inside around a long table putting their heads together to bring about an innovative idea for a new application project.
Professor Nam Yang-hee (Digital Media) first teamed up a group of students to create the Ewha Appcenter in 2010, tapping into the application development boom of late 2009 that came with the advent of Apple’s iPhone.
Divided into four teams—Planning, Design, iPhone Development, and Android Development—the center operates under a “one project per person” system.
From various schools and majors, the members meet once a week to develop smart phone applications with Ewha as its base.
Although the center was formed under professor Nam’s guidance, approximately 30 students hold weekly meetings to plan, design, and publicize their products, carrying out every project on their own.
“Each student of the four teams takes part in a project once it is initiated,” said Shim Kyu-chang (Statistics, 4), the vice president of the Ewha Appcenter. “All members therefore become responsible for two roles, as a planning team’s member and as the planner of an independent project they are associated with.”
The Ewha Appcenter started smoothly with notable achievements last year when they launched their first project application, “Angry Halmoni (grandmother),” after a full year of careful planning and development.
The smart phone application was hugely popular, climbing to rank third in the Korean Android market.
“We were aiming for a positive marketing effect from the application name as it was very similar to ‘Angry Bird,’ which was one of the most popular smart phone game applications at that time,” said Lee Youn-jae (Computer Science & Engineering, 4), the president of the Ewha Appcenter. “I believe the most appealing aspect of the application is in the different voices of the angry grandmothers, as they are the recorded voices of the team members who created the game.”
After the successful debut, the Ewha Appcenter continued collecting members from diverse backgrounds, such as students majoring in Industrial Design, Global Media, and English Language and Literature.
“We are able to apply our thoughts to a broader field of consumers in their 20s rather than only focusing on the female consumer range by having members from co-ed universities,” Shim said.
Members believe such diversity has let them to gain unexpected opportunities.
“Although I am majoring in Industrial Design, I applied for the planning team,” Choi Yeon-hee (Industrial Design, 3) said. “I was able to contribute my ideas on a project, which was later visualized as the Android application Kkokio (Korean onomatopoeia for cock-a-doodle-doo) Alarm, launched this May.”
Such positive results do not always come easily.
“During the semester, exam periods and assignments make it difficult for members to actively participate in projects,” Lee said. “The hardest part for me seems to be motivating members to stick with the previously set schedule, which is sometimes hard even for me to do.”
Members also say that the hardest part of the development process is to encourage effective communication between the different teams.
“Planners constantly come up with ideas and request them to the development teams,” Kwon So-yeon (Yonsei University, 4) said. “However, since the requirements can sometimes be hard to actually develop as student developers, it is difficult to find a mutual agreement and to compromise on suggestions.”
By overcoming such difficulties, members feel deeply committed to each project. The center is ready to launch five new applications in the upcoming month: Two iPhone applications, “Ticket Collection” and “Touch Your Heart,” and three Android applications, “Thinking Bus,” “Dragon Ball,” and “Penny Wise.”
“We hope to recruit students with passion and affection for this field so the center becomes a meeting place where students come to share their creative ideas,” Lee said.