Color Me!!! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Release Date:January 15, 2010
Summary:A sleek app that lacks ingenuity and creativity.
Color Me!!!, by Izabela Zabek, is a coloring app for kids from 2-6 years old, so the app says, but really I don’t think it’s an app for anyone of any age. Don’t get me wrong, the app is presented very nicely and runs smooth; there are plenty of different drawings which one can color – there are sea creatures, mammals, birds and numbers; the graphics are nice and the previews of the drawings are of exceptional quality; there are nice features such as the color chooser sliding as you tilt the phone. The only problem is that the app lacks any kind of creativity. Here’s the app in a nutshell:
Choose a picture, move the slider and press on the screen to fill in a section of the picture.
What’s the problem with that, you may ask? Well, how is this in any way stimulating? There are plenty of apps out there that are intuitive, pretty and stimulating, but this isn’t one. There is nothing here to stimulate hand-eye coordination or problem solving. In fact, the app is so well developed that it takes away from the functionality. Take, for example, the preview pictures – they’re very illustrious. Now, try re-creating the picture you see. The color pallette at the bottom of the screen does not allow for much of anything beyond the primary colors. There are different shades and different colors, but nothing that resembles the color in the previews. In fact, try to find brown or dark green, I dare you.
A seemingly cool feature this app has is the ability to shake the phone to reset the picture. “Neat”, I thought, when reading about it. But then I realized this was an app for kids. How will a child feel about losing his or her masterpiece on the way to school when the phone drops out of his or her hands as a result of mommy going too fast over a speed bump? The use of the built-in sensors is a good idea and can work, but a simple reset option (with an “Are you sure?” fail-safe) would work better. Sure, the parent may have to intervene, but they already have to intervene in order to export the photo to the camera roll or to Facebook (good idea, by the way, parents love to brag!).
One drastic change I would like to see would be to have the child color in the picture manually, as opposed to just pressing on the screen. Maybe the developer could have the app recognize the area of the screen first touched and only allow that to be colored until the finger is released. This may be difficult to implement, but I’m sure there’s a way to keep the children in the lines while still allowing for creative license.
There are some good ideas in Color Me, and it was developed with care, but the app just isn’t thought out and executed well. Color Me!!! may be worth taking a look at, if your child needs a distraction; or better yet, if you need your child distracted. But all in all it doesn’t stand up to criticism, let alone practical use. And if there’s any demographic that really uses things, it’s children.
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