Ryan Avery

Senior Project


This application that I worked on with four teammates throughout my senior year at Boise State University, was created for Boise State's senior design project in the field of computer science. The project idea was presented to us by Alena Horowitz from Boise State's Venture College, and we decided to take on this project and create for her a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of Little Authors within a years time.

The idea behind Little Authors was to make an app that would allow children to create their own story books. This was essentially Microsoftlarge project picture Paint with clipart and multiple pages, except targeted to young children who were first learning how to read and write. To further cater to this audience, the application focused on text-to-speech and speech-to-text integration. The main feature, however, was to allow the children's parents to send their child's books to a publishing company who would then print physical copies of the books and mail them back.

This was an interesting program to work on because it was the first time I was forced to do teamwork-oriented programming in a completely scrum-based environment. We used Zen Hub to keep track of sprints, tasks, and milestones, and Slack to keep in constant contact throughout the course of each sprint.

Out of all the projects I did at Boise State University, this is the project on which I learned the most. I had to learn about working with people I didn't necessarily want to work with, I had to work with people I did want to work with so much and for so long that I didn't really want to work with them any more, and generally, I had to learn how to get things done in an environment that was highly regulated, political, and paperwork-based.

It took me roughly six months before I came to terms with the Scrum process and all of the paperwork it involves and all of the time it requires you to spend doing non-programming tasks. In the end, however, I am glad this project turned out the way it did. In fact, we started this project using Xamarin in Visual Studio and had to pivot to Android Studio half way through the year. This too, I am grateful for (and I know some of my teammates have said the same thing) because it forced us to learn how to succeed in a project where many (if not most) things were not going our way.