As you may know, I am a huge social media user. I am constantly all over Twitter and Facebook (and blogs, of course), and I dabble in Pinterest, Google+, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram………..well, you get the point. Last year, if you had asked me the best way to find and critique good apps, I would have recommended you use a combination of all of these. “Facebook, Twitter, and blogs will be the most useful,” I would have said. “Join the SLPs Talk Apps group on Facebook, start following #SLPeeps on Twitter, and read blogs like Speech Techie and Speaking of Apps.”
While I still use all of these invaluable resources, it’s not incredibly time efficient. On Facebook, the same questions get asked over and over again, there is no organized way to make thorough or consistent recommendations, and although the posts are made by individuals, intentions are not always transparent. Twitter is very fast-paced, and it is hit-or-miss whether people with real knowledge will happen to see your tweet and give you the information you need. Blogs are far more organized and have credible reviews, but that means keeping up with each of them and constantly perusing old material to find the content that you want. Oh, and there are those fantastic app lists that hard-working SLP bloggers have put together, but they typically reflect introductory information, and you usually still need to do plenty more research to determine if the app is worth your purchase. Is anyone else stressed out yet?! Can’t we just have one place to search for apps that brings together all the features we want: organization, credible and verifiable reviews, consistency, community, efficient and various searching methods, and a uniform rating system? Well, perhaps we can… :)
Many of you know I joined start-up company Yapp Guru in late November 2012 as a Founding Partner and Director of Website Content Development. Since then, we have been working hard to establish our vision for the site, and we are now in Public Beta! This means we’re still in development, but we have the site ready for users (“Yapp Gurus”) and expert reviewers (“Savvy Gurus”) to add and search content! Because nearly all of my content is going to be linked to Yapp Guru, and because I truly believe that this is going to make all of our lives much easier, I wanted to give you a brief overview of Yapp Guru. I also hope that it will help you know how to become involved, since we really need SLPs to use the site during our Beta stage and give us feedback about what you are looking for. We are actively using your feedback to help us become a quick and easy resource to find apps! Here are the basics:
Who We Are: The other Founding Partners are Mai Ling Chan and Tanya Coyle. Mai Ling is our CEO and a CCC-SLP in Arizona who has worked with pretty much every age range and population. Tanya is a school-based S-LP(C) in Canada. Already well-known as a pioneer for SLPs using social media, she is our Director of Social Media and Branding. You can read more about all of us here.
What We Do: Yapp Guru is, in essence, our answer to all the problems discussed above. Here’s how we do it:
- App Directory. Our app directory is limited to therapy-related and educational apps, only. (Though many of them are adapted, not originally intended for therapy use.) It’s easy to search by “speechie” keywords (think: AAC, apraxia, dysphagia…), developer, skills targeted, age level etc.
- App Reviews. We have enlisted an ever-growing number of app experts, or Savvy Gurus, to link their original content to Yapp Guru. That way when you’re searching for an app, you can easily see what your favorite reviewers think about it, and you can easily click back to their original review if you want more information. Again, these app reviews are easy to search by keyword, Savvy Guru, device, and more.
- Rating System. Savvy Gurus will rate the app on a scale of Laid Back to Nirvana within their reviews. However, anyone signed into his/her Yapp Guru account can go to any app listed in the directory and give it a rating. This is what truly allows for our site to offer expert- AND community-based opinions.
Your Role: Yapp Guru cannot be a true community without your involvement. Right now, our goal is to get our users signed up and searching/rating apps.
- Sign up here, and once you’ve been approved, login.
- I’d encourage you to break out your tablet or phone and start searching for the apps you already use. It is just one click of a button to give an app a rating, and it is an easy way for you to contribute and make your opinion heard!
- After you become more familiar with how the site works, go ahead and start searching the directory and reviews.
- Give us feedback! We appreciate your patience, as we are still newly in Public Beta! We are really looking for your feedback so that we can build this community resource the way that the community wants and needs it.
Questions or Feedback: I am more than happy to discuss Yapp Guru with you further. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me through here or email me at aubrey.klingensmith [at] yappguru.com. I cannot wait to see all that this community is able to offer!