A developer’s tale on creating a mobile app to help kids wash their hands properly during the corona pandemic
How I’ve Gone From App Idea To AppStore Submission In Under 27 Hours
**[UPDATE April 28th] Washem is now available in the Google Play Store for Android devices.**
**[UPDATE April 21th] Washem got rejected by apple: Read at the end about why Apple dismissed the app.**
In this post you can read on how it took me just over 26 hours and 30 minutes to submit my app idea to the AppStore.
The best ideas are about scratching your own itch, and that was exactly what my idea was about: helping my kids to wash their hands properly.
The result after 27,5 hours is Washem: an app that helps kids (and adults) to properly wash their hands.
Washem is a small app that uses video animations (actually, it’s looping animated GIFs), and a countdown timer to guide kids (and adults) through the steps of PROPERLY washing their hands.
How To Use It?
The usage is quite simple: after placing the phone with Washap opened near the faucet (at a safe distance), you can start the procedure with the press of a button, and follow along with each washing step.
I explain more in depth how I got the idea in this previous post about Washem.
How Does Washem Help?
Using animations and a countdown timer, following all the proper washing steps becomes really easy.
In Washem, the steps for washing your hands are explained plain and simple:
- You place the phone with Washem opened at a safe distance from the faucet
- Click the start button
- Washem shows each step with an animation, and a countdown timer shows the remaining time
Making the steps visual and easy to follow makes this app especially suitable for kids from age 4 and above.
Is Washing Hands That Hard?
You probably think it isn’t that hard. But, especially when hygiene matters most — like during these #covid19 #corona times — making sure that you’ve disinfected your hands after visits to the store, public places or even your kids visiting a playground that’s nearby your home got even more important than before.
As it appears, it takes a couple of different manoeuvres to actually touch all the spots on your hands with soap, making them clean and safe again.
It is easy to forget that you need to pay attention on cleaning spots like:
- the areas between the fingers
- the tips of your fingers
- on the back of your hands
Luckily for us, the World Health Organisation (WHO) already thought of a good procedure covering all those spots (and then some) with a procedure consisting of around ten steps.
To be clear: even I myself, a 39 year old male, didn’t know all these steps before so building the app actually helped me learn how to get my hands clean and safe for myself and my loved ones.
The Steps Idea to AppStore Submission
What started as a simple idea that I began working on last Easter, I got to finish tonight (Sunday the 19th of April 2020).
During the 26,5 hours I spent on the idea, I:
- outlined the idea
- created a simple landing page (https://www.washem.app) using Carrd.co
- re-enabled my expired Apple Developer account
- selected the right video material and washing procedure steps from the World Health Organisation and the Dutch instance that publishes those (RIVM)
- I used Xamarin.Forms to create the cross-platform mobile app with a simple custom state manager and implemented the washing steps
Going That Extra Mile
I got up early a couple of days, worked during evening time on my days off my (part-time) day-job (for whom I also needed to spend time to make my hours — which I succeeded at).
I also tested the patience of my wife and three kids during this period as I “just needed a little longer” to get things submitted (which turned out to cost about two thirds of the weekend).
But I kept going, and stopped wasting time on doing extra things. I just wanted to ship the very core concept of my idea.
The app isn’t polished yet, and there are features and ideas that will make the app easier and more fun to use.
But because I focussed with shipping on my mind, and on getting it out there, I prevented to fiddle around at things that provide less value.
So, here we are now. Washem’s fate in the hands of Apple’s approval team, awaiting their consent.
Let’s hope it will get through so more kids (and adults) can get Washem’s help with washing their hands and keeping them and their loved ones safe.
Apple relates handwashing to the COVID19 situation, and because I’m not a formal instance (like an university, WHO, etc..) I am not allowed to share handwashing information in my app.
I get that there is a lot of crap coming up their way with all sorts of people that know how to take on hygiene, health and all during these #covid19 times, but I did see first hand how the app learned my 7yo kids to wash their hands properly. I’m not sour, just sad that this idea becomes collateral data because of the strict stance that Apple takes on health related apps right now.
Anyway, they won’t allow me to publish it in the AppStore and the solution won’t be distributed via the AppStore.
PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME IF YOU KNOW ANY CONTACT at the World Health Organisation that might help to publish it via their account 🙌🏻
Keep clean and keep safe