Fab Apps is a small web + mobile app firm whose fresh style, attention to detail, and easygoing professionalism sets us apart. We’re located in the Washington, DC area and focus on building web + mobile apps that enable learning, reading, and building better communities.
Founded in 2004
Fab Apps was founded in 2004 by new media specialist Christian Susanne MacAuley, when she named a collaboration on a now-defunct CMS project “Fab Apps”. The company has grown up organically since then, launching dozens of websites for our past clients as well as several of our own mobile and web apps.
It was not until after Apple launched its iTunes App Store in 2008 that people stopped asking us what “Apps” meant.
From 2007 until 2011, Fab Apps offered web development and online communication consulting to nonprofits and green businesses such as Green America, America Walks, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing, Unison Agency, and many others.
Working to with these social change organizations was a great experience, and although we decided to focus solely on creating and marketing our own apps in Spring 2011, our company maintains its progressive values and proudly operates as a green business.
Behind the Apps
Innovation is one part imagination … and ten times perspiration, at least. Here’s a behind-the-code look at why our apps were built.
In 2007, Fab Apps colleague Jim Safley decided that common thesauruses weren’t cutting it, so he set out to build a thesaurus that used recursive word lookups (from open source dictionary databases) to come up with many more “related” words for a word — not just synonyms.
Jim shared the tool with Christian, and they contentedly used it in isolation for many months before realizing it was too darn useful not to share with the world. Together they created a website for it, and Wordage.info was born.
Our extended word discovery tool has remained free and become popular with many writers and other professionals.
Christian began to collaborate with crowdsourcing expert Neil Takemoto in 2008 about how to provide the best tools to empower “beta communities” — representative stakeholders who would be gamechangers in community projects. After working together in an actual beta community for months, we decided we needed an online tool that would allow community members to submit original ideas that they could then vote on and discuss. That simple concept became the Bubbly Crowdsourcing Platform.
Since then, we’ve had clients use Bubbly websites to crowdsource community development projects in places like Bristol, Connecticut and Washington, DC. A white-label tool, Bubbly websites are uniquely specialized to collect actionable feedback from online and offline groups.
Christian spent a lot of time looking at her little glowing iPhone screen in 2009. She read dozens of e-books on iPhone, but was frustrated with the reading experience in the mobile web browser — the text was often too small and the fonts were not optimized for small screen reading. So she started hacking out a text-only web browser for her iPhone that provided features like specialized color schemes, font size selection, and a single column reading format. This project became Text Web, which Fab Apps launched in the iTunes App Store in May 2010.
FonQuiz launched in the iTunes App Store in June 2011. Our first title, The FonQuiz Pride and Prejudice Quiz Game, is basically the challenging, informative Pride and Prejudice mobile quiz that Christian wished she could download once while trying to entertain herself on a long car trip.
The next title in development is a quiz game based on the Harry Potter books.