First Words: Learning Animals–A new Windows Phone 7 educational application for children

A new application for Windows Phone 7 was uploaded to the Windows Phone 7 marketplace during the previous week. This application was co-developed by Anlock Ltd. and myself. Application’s name is “First Words: Learning Animals” and is an innovative application for children, allowing them to learn the alphabet, spell and read animal names.

The child can select one out of 30 animals (in the full version). For each animal, the child has to try and match the letters to their original positions. Sounds are played throughout the game in order for the whole experience to be more interactive. There are 16 combinations of difficulty so the parent can modify them as the child progresses while playing the game. Application features studio recording of letters and animal names plus exciting animal and background illustrations.

Check a video of the app in action!

(Please visit the site to view this video)


Application is available in English language, with more languages and more animals coming in soon to be released updates!

Download the app, rate it and let me know of your thoughts!



WARNING: geeky details ahead!

Since this is mainly a technical blog, I couldn’t resist in posting some hints and tips regarding the development of the app!

Flurry is used for app analytics and bug tracking. Awesome and *free* service!

Toolkit’s WrapPanel is an excellent control used for the display of the animals

– Due to the amount of images in the app, BitmapCache is extensively used for better performance.

BitmapCreateOptions.None during image loading is used so as there is no waiting for animal pictures to be shown

– Transitions use TurnstileForward transitions from the Toolkit

– Navigation was made possible due to the NonLinearNavigationService recipe

– Rating control used some code from the Coding 4 Fun toolkit for Windows Phone. We used the memory control from the same library, during development

– Beware of Panoramas! Yes, they arevery  beautiful but using a Panorama in the start screen (instead of the Pivot we’re using now) caused an increase in the app’s consuming RAM by 20%!

– We did lots of .csproj manual fiddling and have various build configurations to have Lite and Full version contain only the needed assets (images+sounds) (hint: use Condition attribute on ItemGroup elements on .csproj file)

– We also used T4 templates to have different WMAppManifest.xml per build (language and version – full, lite)


Don’t forget to check kids' apps for WP7 that I have co-developed here:

First Words: Learning Animals


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