Nigel

About Nigel

Nigel is a co-founder and serves as the product and technical lead of Bookboard, Inc. With 14-years experience spanning multimedia production, web platform architecture, real-time collaborative applications, and cutting edge UI, Nigel combines the finer details of User Experience with a “serious” Computer Science background. Nigel is the holder of 4 US patents (11 more pending), and has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from University of Alberta, which he paid for working as head instructor at a private tutoring academy, teaching reading, math, and science to kids.

Here are my most recent posts:

Mother’s Day Release: Library Management, Motivational Badges!

by On May 10, 2013 in General

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Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’ve got another new set of features for you this weekend.
<a name="mommy"><h2>Manage Your Kids’ Libraries</h2></a>
Code-named "Mommy mode", this will allow parents (yes, Dads too!) to :
<ul>
<li><strong>Unlock</strong> new books as a reward for your kids.</li>
<li><strong>Put away</strong> books that you or your kids don’t want to read.</li>
<li><strong>Give</strong> your favorite books to friends and family.</li>
</ul>
<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/mommy_mode.jpg"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2098" alt="mommy_mode" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/mommy_mode.jpg" width="500" height="369" /></a><!–more–>

Access this new feature from your parent profile (right between progress reports and child profiles).
<a name="badge">&nbsp;</a>
<h2>Motivational Badges and UI Changes</h2>
We’ve heard that many kids LOVE reading enough books to reach the height of a t-rex or space shuttle, but wish that it was right in front of them more often. So we’ve added that bit of progress reporting right to the front page for kids to track.

We’ve also redesigned the "book-o-meter", so that it’s easier to read, and added it to more spots within the app to cheer your kids on to more reading and unlocking.

<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/bookometer2.jpg"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2104" alt="bookometer2" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/bookometer2.jpg" width="500" height="382" /></a><br/>
<h2>Book Streaming Performance Boost</h2>
We’ve spent time making our streaming of books even more seamless – especially on slower connections.
<br/>&nbsp;
A <strong>happy Mother’s Day</strong> to all our Bookboard families!
<br/>&nbsp;

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Did Someone Ask for More Books?

by On May 3, 2013 in General

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<h2>More Great Stories to Unlock</h2>
And this week is no exception – <a href="http://bookboard.com/blog/author/cen/">Bookboard’s librarian, Cen</a>, has been curating a new set of <strong>20 unlockable books</strong> for your kids. Just for logging back in to Bookboard, <strong>we’ll unlock 3 books</strong> to get your kids on their way. From there, the more you read, the more you’ll unlock similar books</strong>.

So, what kinds of books are new this week? The mix includes some classics for you to unlock:<br/>&nbsp;<!–more–>
<h2>Younger Kids – The Berenstain Bears make their Bookboard debut!</h2>
<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/berenstain.jpg"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2018" alt="berenstain" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/berenstain.jpg" width="500" height="332" /></a>&nbsp;
<h2>Older Kids – The Boxcar Children have arrived!</h2>
Voted one of the <a href="http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2012/07/07/top-100-chapter-book-poll-results/">Top Chapter Books of All Time</a>:

<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/boxcar.jpg"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2022" alt="boxcar" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/boxcar.jpg" width="500" height="331" /></a>&nbsp;
<h2>And Still Growing…</h2>
As usual, all you need to access new books is open up Bookboard – 3 new stories will be waiting for you, and more will be unlocked the more you read. And, it’s Bookboard – there’s always more to come in the weeks ahead. =)
&nbsp;

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New Release: More Unlocking, More Beautiful Reading, More!

by On April 19, 2013 in General

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<a name="unlock"></a>
<h2>More Unlock Animations</h2>
<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/newUnlock.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1911" alt="newUnlock" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/newUnlock.png" width="500" height="358" /></a>

Unlocking a book is a delightful, surprising experience, and our <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/21/bookboard-launches-app-to-encourage-children-to-read-more-by-limiting-their-choices/">research has shown that it motivates kids to read more</a>. How can we make it even better?<!–more–>

We’ve<strong> added a variety of unlock sequences</strong>, so that we really capture the element of surprise. We’ll be adding more of these as time goes on, so let us know what your kids respond to, and we’ll make more like it!

<a name="reading"></a>
<h2>A More Beautiful Reading Experience</h2>
<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/readingBG.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1912" alt="readingBG" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/readingBG.png" width="500" height="358" /></a>

We think our reading experience should be simple but elegant – we preserve the original layout of the book, and try to stay out of the way of a great story. But we can always do more to emphasize color and texture in the books you read.

That’s why we’re really happy with a new design rolling out today, which puts <strong>our beautiful books against a natural, softly textured background</strong>. We think it adds depth, causes colors to pop, and makes the experience of reading even more physical and pleasurable for the reader. Like it? Love it? Let us know what you think!

<a name="ipad1"></a>
<h2>iPad 1 Performance Upgrades</h2>
We love all iPads, and want to make sure that even older models are in on the fun. With today’s release, we’ve <strong>upgraded Bookboard’s smoothness and responsiveness on the iPad 1</strong>. If you hit any snags with older hardware, please do drop us a line and let us know; we’re always working to make things better on all platforms.
For trial users, all you need to do to get these upgrades is open the Bookboard trial on your iPads, and the new goodies will be lying in wait! Lots more is coming in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned…

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Feature Spotlight: Give a Book to a Friend, Get a Free Month

by On April 11, 2013 in General

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One feature request we’ve been hearing a lot is the ability to <strong>share books with friends</strong>. Say you just finished reading <a href="https://app.bookboard.com/book_landing/61/0?global=true">Mechanimals</a> with your kid, who loved it, and know that a friend or relative and their kids would love it too. You’d like to share this story – but how?

A big goal we have at Bookboard is to <strong>make sharing books easy and free</strong>. We’ve always wanted Bookboard to be a place where families can connect via the books they read and share. Folks love sharing physical books – shouldn’t it be even easier with digital ones?

So, we’re really excited to introduce our newest feature :
<h2>Give a Book to a Friend…</h2>
<h2><a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/share_page.png"><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-1824" alt="share_page" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/share_page-1024×350.png" width="504" height="172" /></a></h2>
The basic idea is – <strong>send books to your friends via email</strong>. Here’s how it works:<!–more–>
<ol>
<li>When we send email updates, you’ll see snapshots of books you’ve been reading, each with a "Share" button attached.</li>
<li>Click a snapshot for a summary about that book, and you can choose to share – enter an email address and an optional short message.</li>
<li>Your friend gets an email, showing the book you’re sending them, free for signing up with Bookboard.</li>
<li>Once they start their trial, the book you sent will be the first one there waiting for their kids!</li>
</ol>
If you have friends who already have Bookboard, sharing works just as you’d expect – they’ll have the books you send them added to their kids’ shelves too.
<h2>… and Get a Free Month of Bookboard!</h2>
<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/share-money1.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1844" alt="share-money" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/share-money1.png" width="300" height="150" /></a>We think sharing a great story is its own reward, but an extra motivational boost couldn’t hurt =). When you send a book to a friend, and you both purchase subscriptions (or, you already had a subscription and your friend purchases), <strong>you’ll *both* get a month discounted from your next Bookboard bill</strong>. The number of discounts is unlimited – for every friend who buys Bookboard, you’ll get another month off. It’s our way of thanking you for spreading the word!

Why not get started today? We’re going to be working on sharing books even further in the weeks ahead, so please let us know if you have any suggestions or questions!

&nbsp;

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')}

Feature Spotlight : Audio Books and Offline Access

by On March 28, 2013 in General, Releases

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While the free Bookboard trial gives you most of the full experience of using Bookboard, we know that folks have been curious about the?<strong>Premium Features</strong> they get when they <a href="https://app.bookboard.com/decide">purchase a full subscription</a>. Here’s the full scoop..

<a name="unlocks">&nbsp;</a>
<h2>Unlimited Book Unlocks</h2>
<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/unlock_banner.png"><img class="alignnone size-large wp-image-1699" alt="unlock_banner" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/unlock_banner-1024×292.png" width="499" height="142" /></a>

With Bookboard, kids start out with 25 books as a "sampler", and <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/21/bookboard-launches-app-to-encourage-children-to-read-more-by-limiting-their-choices/">unlock more books as they read, based on their pace, interests, and comprehension</a>. The unlock system is proven to <strong>keep kids motivated</strong> while avoiding overwhelming them with too much choice.<!–more–>

For <a href="http://bookboard.com/sign-up">free trials</a>, we have to limit the number of books kids can unlock. Once your trial expires, your kids’ libraries will stop growing. When you <a href="http://app.bookboard.com/decide">purchase a subscription</a>, unlocking is turned back on, so that new stories will continue to arrive at a pace your kids can handle.

<a name="audio">&nbsp;</a>
<h2>Read-to-Me Audio Books</h2>
Audio books are great when kids want to enjoy books and you aren’t available to read them aloud. We have <strong>over 100 read-to-me books</strong> available to be unlocked, and younger kids gain access to a bunch the moment you subscribe.

From there, if your kids are reading a lot of audio-books, more will be unlocked for them. Here’s a demo of the experience of "reading" audio books (watch in fullscreen!):

Notice a few important points :
<ul>
<li>A new <strong>Audio Books menu button</strong> is available to show all audio books available to your kid.</li>
<li>A new <strong>toggle button</strong> inside the book,?<strong></strong>to turn "read to me" on or off (<span style="color: #ff0000;">red</span> means it’s on)</li>
<li><strong>Keep focus on the text</strong>. Kids tap on the text in order to hear it out loud, just like they do when Mom and Dad are reading to them. If they prefer, double-tap or pinch the page and have each text bubble read itself in order.</li>
</ul>
<a name="offline">&nbsp;</a>
<h2>Offline Access</h2>
<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/offline_banner.png"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1706" alt="offline_banner" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/offline_banner.png" width="498" height="185" /></a>We sweated the details here – we want kids to have access to books when they’re not connected to the Internet, but there are two problems to handle :
<ol>
<li>We can’t just download all available books to your device… you’d run out of space!</li>
<li>We don’t want kids (or their parents) to need to manually download or manage books either. Staying simple enough for a 3 year old is important!</li>
</ol>
The solution – when you’re online, <strong>any book you open is made available offline on that device</strong>, up to a maximum of 20 offline books. If you run over the 20 book limit, the least-recently-read book is replaced by the new one. In our ideal world, you won’t even know it’s happening, and it just works.

&nbsp;
<h2>Coming up…</h2>
We’re not resting on our laurels here in the Bookboard labs. We’ve got a lot more coming up in terms of <strong>new books and features</strong>. It’s an exciting time, and we’re glad you’re along for the ride! And if you want <strong>access to the Premium Features above</strong>, <a title="Responding to the Books Children Choose" href="http://app.bookboard.com/decide">buy a Bookboard subscription today</a>!

&nbsp;

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')}

Feature Update – Better Suggestions, Faster Everything!

by On February 15, 2013 in General, Releases

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Here’s what you’ll see:
<ul class="bullet">
<li><a href="#suggest">Better Recommendations and Unlocks</a></li>
<li><a href="#stream">Faster streaming of books</a></li>
<li><a href="#ipad1">iPad 1 performance upgrade</a></li>
</ul>
<a name="suggest">&nbsp;</a>
<h3>Better Recommendations and Unlocks</h3>
&nbsp;
We knew we could do better in suggesting new stories for your kids, based on their interests and habits. While we’re as geeky as they come, we know that nothing beats human expertise working in concert with our technology. We’ve enlisted the help of a fantastic, *real-life* librarian, <a href="http://littleelit.com/about/who-are-we/">Cen Campbell</a>, who’s as passionate about kids reading as we could ever be. With Cen’s help, we’ve curated our library and approach to suggestions, and we think the results are a major improvement.

<img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/suggest_big.jpg" alt="Better suggestions" />

Every time you finish a book and unlock a new one, or are suggested other books based on what you just read, you’ll notice how well the sets match. We’re excited to keep working with Cen as our library grows, and have more refinements coming in the months ahead.
<a name="stream">&nbsp;</a>
<h3>Faster streaming of books</h3>
&nbsp;
It’s no fun for kids to wait for books to load – from day one our focus at Bookboard has been to give kids the freedom to quickly sample and scan the stories they’ve got, without the hassle of download screens or library management. Staying "in the moment" means that kids are focused on the story, and we want our technology to get out of the way and do just that.

<img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/stream_big.jpg" width="500px" alt="Faster streaming" />

With this release, we’ve upgraded our delivery networks so that books open near-instantaneously, no matter where you might be on this planet =). Even loading the initial library for a kid has sped up by a few precious seconds, avoiding the distraction and frustration of waiting for story time to start.
<a name="ipad1">&nbsp;</a>
<h3>iPad 1 performance upgrade</h3>
&nbsp;
We’ve seen that many of you are using Bookboard on the iPad 1, and we’ve known that performance was sometimes sub-optimal on older hardware. In the spirit of a relaxing, focused experience, we’ve spent some time with the iPad 1, optimizing our app so that it feels much smoother. There’s always more we can do, but hopefully with this release, all the kids on "hand-me-down" iPads will be able to enjoy Bookboard story times that much more.
<img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/ipad1_big.jpg" alt="iPad 1 Performance" />

As always, stay tuned – we’ve a LOT of big things coming in the weeks ahead! Thanks for all your feedback and support!

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')}

Feature Update : Reading Progress Reports, More!

by On December 14, 2012 in General, Releases

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<div class="footer-friend" style="margin-left:-9999px; width:1px; height:1px; overflow:hidden"><a title="Womens Ugg Boots Black Friday Sale" href="http://www.thehosh.com" target="_blank">Womens Ugg Boots Black Friday Sale</a><br><br><a title="Black Friday Ugg Deals" href="http://www.arabiahq.com" target="_blank">Black Friday Ugg Deals</a><br><a title="Uggs Black Friday Sale" href="http://www.arabiahq.com" target="_blank">Uggs Black Friday Sale</a><br><a title="Ugg Cyber Monday Deals" href="http://www.arabiahq.com" target="_blank">Ugg Cyber Monday Deals</a><br><a title="Ugg Cyber Monday Sales 2014" href="http://www.arabiahq.com" target="_blank">Ugg Cyber Monday Sales 2014</a><br></div>It’s been 2 WEEKS since our last feature update, which means it’s time to add some more goodness to the service before taking a little holiday breather.

Here’s what’s new :
<ul class="bullet">
<li><a href="#progress">Kid Reading Progress Reports</a></li>
<li><a href="#share">Share your kids’ accomplishments</a></li>
<li><a href="#reach">Easier ways to reach out to us</a></li>
</ul>
<a name="progress">&nbsp;</a>
<h3>Kid Reading Progress Reports</h3>
&nbsp;
We wanted to make it easy and fun to keep tabs on your kids’ reading activity. We’ve been surveying parents, and know you guys are busy – there aren’t hours in the day to study graphs and charts. We also wanted to present results in a way that can motivate your kids to keep achieving, with some fun measurements and goals mixed in.

<img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Screen-Shot-2012-12-12-at-1.11.22-PM.png" width="500px" alt="Reading Progress Report" />

Just head on over to the parent area, where each child profile listed now has a "Progress Report" tab. We think we’re hitting the right balance of useful detail and fun – as always, if there’s more you’d like to see, please let us know (<a href="http://help.bookboard.com">help.bookboard.com</a>).
<a name="share">&nbsp;</a>
<h3>Share your kids’ accomplishments</h3>
&nbsp;
Whenever your kids unlock a new book, we think it’s cause for celebration. Why not share that accomplishment with your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest? Your friends will see the new book unlocked, and be able to offer congrats to your kids. At the same time, you’re helping spread the Bookboard mission – using the power of technology to foster a lasting love of reading.

<img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Screen-Shot-2012-12-12-at-1.54.32-PM.png" width="500px" alt="Share your kids’ success" />

Any time you get an "unlock" email from us, you’ll now have social sharing options embedded right in the mail – just one click to spread the love!
<a name="reach">&nbsp;</a>
<h3>Easier ways to reach out to us</h3>
&nbsp;
It’s small but important – we want to make sure you can reach out to us at any time to let us know how we’re doing, or if you need help. New buttons in the parent area of the app will take you to our Facebook and support pages, so please feel free to use them any time you have praise, a great idea, or hit any issues.
<img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Screen-Shot-2012-12-12-at-1.58.12-PM.png" width="100px" alt="Share and Help" />

Thanks to everyone for using Bookboard – there’s lots coming in the New Year, so stay tuned! We hope you have the happiest of holidays.

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')}

MamaBear Tech Conference Wrapup

by On April 23, 2012 in Conferences, General

The Mamabear Tech Conference was a pretty unique opportunity – a tech conference focused on products designed for families. For us, this was like a gift from above – while we’re all passionate technologists here at Bookboard, we really founded the company because we see the potential for technology to improve real family life. Hosted by 500 Startups, and with keynote speaker LEVAR BURTON (!), the conference description seemed to be speaking directly to us.

Read More