The Making Of SafelyHome - Part Two

Published: 13th June 2023

Behind The Scenes

SafelyHome: From a simple idea to a transformative personal safety app. Learn how a park bench conversation led to the creation of a not-for-profit app that promotes safety on nights out.

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Oli Bourton

SafelyHome Co-Creator

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Creating SafelyHome was complicated. Like so many projects that somebody undertakes through life, the unforeseen difficulties along the way tend to hamper the progress made. The outline of SafelyHome’s chronology thus far was given in Part One of this blog series. This blog will delve a little deeper into those tough moments which really hampered progress, and how we managed to get around that. Spoiler alert: ingenuity, teamwork, and a lot of hard graft!

One of the earliest difficulties was inextricably linked with the concept SafelyHome. To make an app that simulates not just the ringing of a phone and the look of a phone, but also allows someone to ‘make conversation’ with it was what really made this app stand out. The team all agreed, we wanted something that could be engaged with, in a convincing and effective way. Although the script writing and building were both hard tasks in their own right, neither Adam nor I had considered just how hard it is getting realistic voice acting that underpinned the entire usability of what we needed to make.

How do you build a not-for-profit app, with no money behind it, which is built on a multitude of skills, not all of which we possess?

In our earliest models, I had read the script for the recording. It was crude and short, but not terrible or unusable. However, both of us were aware that accents were not our strong suit – and we certainly couldn’t voice all the scripts with just our two voices. We needed some help. But, as two students building a passion-project, we weren’t able to just hop on a freelancing website and source them that way.

Hence, the project reached a standstill. Our lives continued to fill up with more things but, as Adam said, SafelyHome was never far from our minds.

When Luke Meir decided to get us involved in his idea of creating Appatree - A software development company, SafelyHome was adopted. Once more, it had a family of resolute people, rejuvenated and well-structured with Luke’s guidance. He recommended we take time to collate a list of voice actors and draft reach-out emails to appeal for help. We got to work.

Then something happened. Voice actors started responding, but instead of rejection we found that many people were actually excited to be part of the project, and donate their time and invaluable skills to realising SafelyHome! It was fantastic. So many incredibly talented people took the time to record their voices for us. You can find all those people’s names credited on our website. It really wouldn’t have been possible without them!

SafelyHome flew from then on. Luke Chester joined the team of developers and we were firing on all cylinders. We were able to release our beta test onto the app stores – but the team knew that, once again, despite our talents we needed help. The premise and the build was great, but the design and interface needed a little TLC. Fortunately, Theo Griffin joined our team to oversee the design process and give SafelyHome a well-needed facelift.

There are so many talents that went into SafelyHome, and continue to keep it running with updates, new features, and these blogs! At first, we wanted to build an app. Now, we want to build a movement. The passion and drive we put into SafelyHome’s creation remain just as strong as before.

If you think you can help and feel compelled to do so, consider emailing us at oli.bourton@appatree.com – we’re always looking for new blog writers, developers, content creators, and even more roles!

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