I want to kick off with some total honesty today. I’m about to talk about a brand new app that went live literally one week ago (April 2018). The Grasshopper app has been created by a team within Google called ‘Area 120’ (sounds cool, right?!). Aside from creating cool coding apps, they’ve launched a bunch of other stupidly handy apps that you may well use. UpTime for Youtube, anyone? Yup, made by these guys.
Here’s the honest part; I’m in no way sharing this today as part of any kind of collaboration, I simply downloaded this app last week and have struggled to switch it off since!
So what is the grasshopper app then?
Put very simply, Grasshopper is a coding app designed for total beginners to learn the basics of coding. It’s set out to feel like a game, with levels and quizzes after each short section.
The grasshopper app developers over at Google HQ (or Area 120?!) have put a lot of thought into the user experience. The levels and ‘tasks’ are lighthearted, making what could be seen as something epic-ly booooooring feel much cooler.
Also, each level takes about 5 minutes or less, meaning you could probably get through 3-5 levels on the morning commute. Fancy starting your day feeling like a superstar accomplished badass?! Try completing 4 levels of coding before you start work! There’s something about coding which feels mysterious and elusive to most of us. It’s thought of as crazy difficult to master or understand. There’s no better way to start your day than by smashing something out you always thought was impossible.
Still think you’re not interested in coding apps?
It’s cool, I won’t be offended. But, I do want to share some things that might change your mind.
The whole premise behind the development of the grasshopper app was simple; coding is important for everyone, and is only going to get more important. It’s fast becoming an essential skill. Coding is a skill that I will make sure I teach my kids as soon as they can read proficiently enough. I truly believe it will be a skill that they will need in the not-so-distant future.
During testing of the Grasshopper app, over 5000 people completed all the available levels, with about half of them not coming from any tech background. If they can do it, you definitely can!
Using coding apps is great for cognitive function. In other words, 5 minutes in the morning will do wonders for blowing away the cobwebs and getting you set for a switched on day.
Why do I love the grasshopper app?
The obvious answer to this is that I’m a total geek, and absolutely proud to be one. But this coding app could have very easily been a total flop, even for a tech geek like me.
What the Area 120 team have accomplished well is making the app feel totally accessible to everyone. Yes, even those who’ve never even seen a line of code before.
It feels like a game, and it doesn’t take an age to complete each level. The app offers quick wins, and teaches without lecturing. Quite frankly it makes you feel like a total tech rock star each time you complete a level or write a string of code.
Even more reasons to love coding apps
As I said earlier, coding is fast becoming an essential skill for everyone, especially our kids. The app is perfect for children who can read as an introduction to coding. It’s easy enough to use, and feels enough like a game to hold wandering attention spans.
I’ll be giving the Grasshopper app to my kids when the time is right, that’s for sure.
Grasshopper for bloggers & entrepreneurs
If you’re a blogger, small business owner, or online entrepreneur, having a basic understanding of code and how coding works could very well save you on a number of occasions. Those of us who blog will know that 99.9% of our time is spent hoping we don’t break our own websites.
A basic understanding of code would mean that adding your Google Analytics code to your site’s <head> tag would be a quick and painless 2 minute task. Which sounds waaaay better than the 4 hour headache that many of us endure to get it in there, only to log into GA and find it’s not even tracking anything.
Getting to grips with the essentials could even mean you can finally change that one awful colour within your theme that has almost made you go through the trauma of a total theme change, and had you considering shelling out for someone to fix it for you.
There’s absolutely no shame in enlisting help when you need it, in fact I fully encourage it. Too many of us struggle on alone when we really probably shouldn’t, and support from the right people is invaluable. But what if your designer, coder, or VA is on holiday and your site crashes? Wouldn’t it be nice to know you could at least have a look yourself for the error? Sure, you might not be able to fix it, but to feel confident enough to have a look is so empowering.
What’s more, if you can call your tech person (I’m a tech person and I still almost typed “call your tech guy” *sigh*) with at least an idea of what you think has happened, as opposed to a vague “ahhhh, my site is brokeeeeeeeeen!” you could even end up saving yourself money on tech hours.
So is the Grasshopper app worth it?
I mean, if you’ve read any of the above the the answer is pretty obvious; a resounding “hell yeah!”
The app is free, and unlike the other games on your phone won’t try to bleed your bank balance dry to keep you in keys, or whatever. The only thing you’ll be giving away is storage on your phone, and even then mine’s using 17.6MB. Out of all 102 apps on my phone, only 21 apps use less memory than Grasshopper, and to be honest they’re mostly the apps I don’t use like the compass.
If you don’t like it, just delete it (or give it to your kids to try 😉 )
If I’ve persuaded you to give coding a go, you can download the app here;