I have been thinking the last couple of days of a target audience for the BasicBookReader. I have come to believe that the perfect target audience would be teachers/students. I could build a library of free novels, poems, and essays and the teachers would be able to examine exactly how often their students read, what sections they are having trouble with etc. It could even be used for grading purposes, it could be gamed, but it would be rather difficult because you could tell if a person spent way over/under the average time per page (i.e. identify cheaters).
I already plan to send all statistical data to a database for public analysis (as an opt-in feature). However, I could also enable either a local database to be housed on the school/district/college, which would be private. I could further enable logins, passwords, and classroom selection. This would allow for students to be categorized by teacher, and the teachers could then review the statistics for their given classroom. I was fairly certain this idea has been attempted before, so I really need something to stand out.
What makes BasicBookReader different:
Originally, this Ebook reader was going to be developed for a project dubbed Remotiv, and I may change the reader to that in the future. The reasoning behind this, is the BasicBookReader is/was an attempt to create a Ebook reader that can be compiled to any platform, and basic enough anyone can figure out and use.
My original intent with Remotiv was a bit different, I needed a way to remotely gather information on what/how people interpreted a story and what motivated them to continue reading. To achieve this goal I needed a Ebook reader (still in development) and a solid amount of statistics (still in development). One particular way I was going to gather statistics I will keep a secret, but I believe it’s a big improvement in education, and it can be used to determine anything from slow readers, reading disorders, to ADHD. This statistics model would be perfect for places such as Sylvan Learning Centers or schools analyzing how to best help their trouble students.
Software Bloat – Starting with the goal to gather “data” as opposed to creating a good Ebook reader could cause a problem. However, in my opinion it has set an interesting focus. I am always trying to make things as easy and intuitive as possible, this means that my UI is going to be lightweight, and easy to use (for children and the like). Although the features may be nice, in many cases this just leads to feature creep, something that simply wont happen on my project because that’s the exact opposite of my goal. Of course, there is the potential for feature creep in the statistical analysis tools, however I intend to keep that entirely separate from the Ebook reader so the user will not be affecter. Further, I intend the statistical tools to be where I generate revenue for the project (i.e. to keep the servers running), so the software will be basic and the user will pay extra for specific features as well as tech support (similar to the way open source foundations make money).
The clients – Obtaining clients is always one of the more difficult challenges, however I feel I have a few things going for me. For one, technology is always becoming cheaper and at this point nearly everyone has access to a computer, even if they do not own one. This means, books for example, should be readily available to internet users, which for the most part they are. However, the education system has a tendency to avoid such uses, so I would like to develop an alternative which is easy to use with excellent statistics to track learning. This would improve the students ability to learn and in my opinion would benefit the education system. Convincing people that this is true is the hard part, so my goal is to focus particularly hard on tutoring institutions. I would like to focus on them for three reasons, (1) tutoring institutions often try new things (2) less bureaucracy, they are small and nimble, (3) they would provide me with insight to improve my product. A final reasoning for focusing on tutoring institutions (at least to start off) are that they would be able to show improvement via a graph, which would be a boon to their business.
Loneliness – I really need a partner to work with. I believe this to be a great idea, but I am currently doing too much. I am treasure of the local ACM chapter, the chair of said chapters SIGBio, I have another business I am working on and attempting to get off the ground, I have research in computer vision that I find interesting and am hoping I will be an author for the paper, I have a girlfriend I want to spend my time with, I am in school (interesting how that’s the last thing I could think of…). I need a partner for this venture and currently I have none. I know it’s a good idea, perhaps a million dollar idea, but I simply don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep working on it, but it may take too long and another product may outpace it. I hope to finish up the product for a demo within the next couple of weeks and I’ll likely launch a kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign on it, more to see if people are interesting than anything. If they are perhaps I can raise enough to hire someone to work with or I could justify shelving some of my other work.