Tag Archives: Amazon

June Mobile App Development Report

6 Jul
2017

June was a month that mostly consisted of finishing an app and then releasing it along with a bit of a positive distraction towards the end.

Quiz of Finance & Investing was released on June 22 but a lot of work went into the app before that in June. When I first started working on design for this app I thought about and worked on a few different dimensions to go for but I eventually firmly decided to go with a standard stock trading screen as the main design influence. Stock trading screens involve a lot of green and red to track gains and losses and moving parts so I incorporated some of that throughout the app without making it distracting from its main focus as an educational app. One of the first things I concerned myself with was finding a text font style that had a professional & computer related look. After looking at a lot and testing a few I ended up going with two different fonts. One mainly for the quiz section which was more standardized and then one for other sections of the app that had an LED dot style. I remember seeing a neat stock ticker banner outside in New York City the last time I was there a few years ago and it had the LED dots type of font to show the stock symbol, numbers & etc so I felt great going with that type of font for the non-quiz sections of the app as well as the promotional images to help drive the stock trading design goal.

Getting ready to do a mock-up of the main menu screen

End result of the main menu mock-up

After picking a font and deciding on the main colors to use throughout the app I made buttons and static text sections. After incorporating the buttons and other text areas I gave the main screen subtle animations to make it appear active and alive like stock trading is during the open hours because of the constant trades and reactions. So on the main menu screen I incorporated randomized movements to the bar buttons that the categories are placed on. The main menu was also the first place that I incorporated the moving ticker at the bottom. I did a lot of testing with the ticker to make sure it looped without overlapping but also somewhat recycled itself to prevent any bog down on the performance of the app.

Working on the main menu layout in Pixelmator

This app doesn’t need or require an internet connection so I didn’t want that to change at all for a cosmetic addition, so I just incorporated some historic data for that ticker to pull from for the main menu. Then on the results screen I added a ticker that gives the results. The results are shown as the focus on the center part of the screen so the ticker is just there to add to the overall design of the app. The last place I added a ticker was on the Statistics screen that repeats the results that are shown in the statistics table.

Which brings me to one of the main additions I added in June. The Statistics section that tracks how many questions you’ve answered in each category along with the correct amount answered and percentage correct. I also incorporated an erase option to wipe the slate if the user wants to. I used the same features in my RX Quiz of Pharmacy app so I was able to reuse a lot of code which was very helpful and efficient when working on this feature. I mainly had to pull the data from differently named sections that were loaded into the app and change around a few numbers since the question count options are a little different in this app. I also added a green/red delegation that depends on if the percentage correct is above or below 50%.

After implementing all the data and design within the app I worked on sound effects. This app isn’t audio heavy so it didn’t take long to finish this aspect. I knew I wanted computer related & breaking news style sound effects so I went into GarageBand with those intentions and created some audio to incorporate. The last aspect of finishing the app build for me was making an icon. I usually wait to make the app icon towards the end of the apps development because by that time I definitely know what the app is about and how I want it represented. I’ve written about the importance of a well represented app icon before and there are plenty of other articles about that as well. At this point of the app process I had the design of the app cemented freshly into my mind so thankfully it didn’t take long to create an app icon that I was happy with. After finishing the icon I tested the app on different devices like usual. I only ran into a couple of functionality bugs and they were easily fixed. I also tested the visibility conditions to ensure the text sizes were adequate for the different categories since they each had a variance in the lengths of the questions & answers. I ended up adjusting the text sizes so they are different but more fitting depending on the category chosen on the main menu and throughout the changes in an Assorted category quiz. After completing a release ready build I uploaded it and worked on descriptions, metadata, screenshots & etc.

Working on the app icon in Pixelmator

After my new app was approved and went live I spent a few days relaxing. It’s deserved! Then while I was on the Amazon developer portal a few days later to change some keywords I noticed an Alexa skill promotion that stated that developers who created a new skill that passed certification in June would receive an Echo dot. I remember seeing this briefly in an email before but this time I thought about it as a challenge. Voice recognition software is neat, I like Amazon as a company, the Echo devices are intriguing, I recently successfully completed a new app and I was up for the challenge of learning and trying something new. So I challenged myself to make a skill in one day. I went through a couple of skill ideas and then quickly decided upon making a Game of Thrones related skill because its my favorite TV show and season 7 is coming out in a few weeks!

I worked on the skill off & on through the day and stayed up late to finish it. The first thing I did was scour the internet for quotes as well as implementing some of my favorites on a spreadsheet. Throughout development I used a template provided by Amazon and a couple of different articles which were mostly helpful. After having a somewhat finished product I went back and forth with testing until it worked as intended. I got stuck on one part were Alexa would just keep responding with the phrase I gave her to say when she doesn’t understand a request. Eventually I found the error on my part, fixed it, and then the skill worked fine. The first certification review was rejected because my example phrases had an incorrect format which thankfully was an easy fix. After changing those and re-submitting it my Alexa skill passed certification and went live. Overall I made the skill within one day and it was approved within two. This is my first Alexa skill and it’s called Quotes of Game of Thrones. I recently received the email about receiving my Echo Dot too so I should be getting that sometime soon in July. Learned some new things, got a result I’m satisfied with, and I’m getting a neat item for free. Awesome! I may or may not make another Alexa skill down the road, not exactly sure either way right now.

Towards the end of June I decided that I wanted to make a simple to the point trailer for my new Quiz of Finance & Investing app. I probably should have done this before release but oh well. I used Reflector 2 to record the screen on my iPhone to capture different question scenarios from my app so I could pick and choose during final editing in iMovie. After I finished gathering different screen captures I worked on the music. While in GarageBand experimenting I believe I got influenced by a combination of Daft Punk and school marching bands because that’s what the end result of my trailer song reminded me of. I was really satisfied with how the song turned out. It makes me want to move and it has a nice orchestral feel to it.

Alright this post was longer than I initially intended it to be. In July I’ll mainly be working on and hopefully finishing my new soundboard app. I’ll probably post some peeks into it on my Twitter and/or Instagram before release. Until next time ∞

November Mobile App Development Report

8 Dec
2016

Development work in November was mostly devoted to working on the new finance app I’ve been working on & off with. I continued to gather and check information for different categories and arrange  them in separate lists. I also decided on which exact categories to have in the app, which makes information compiling more productive. In December & January I’ll continue working with a large amount of data for this app. No guarantees, but I plan on releasing this app in the first or early second quarter of 2017. I’ll be reusing a lot of the code that I used in my Quiz of Medicine & RX Quiz of Pharmacy apps so that will save me a lot of time after completing the massive data section. I haven’t touched the design aspect of it yet so the timeframe of app completion will then depend on how quickly that progresses. I have a few rough ideas in mind on how I want it to look, but I want to complete the data portion before diving into design this time.

I ported Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade & Christmas editions to Google Play last month. With the release of great new devices, improvements to the developer console, a huge user base, and increasing download numbers for some of my apps, I’ve decided to focus more on the Google Play store. Apple iOS will still be my main target, and Amazon will stay at second in importance, but now Google Play will be a very strong third target for my apps. I already make an Android based build when I’m releasing an app on Amazon so when I make a build for Google Play I won’t have to change a lot. I won’t be releasing every one of my apps on Google Play because I still have some issues with the store, but going forward I will be focusing more energy there with new apps and possibly some of my older apps. Until next time ∞

July Mobile App Development Report

2 Aug
2015

July was an all over the place month in app development land. Worked on new apps and updates to previously released apps, and then there were even some updates to updates. This is what happens when I develop without a clear organized plan…..

During the beginning of the month I worked on my new relaxation app. I continued tidying up the UI that I’ve been working on previously, and then I started implementing logic. As I was deep into development logic I released that I may not be able to finish this app this year because I’m not sure if I’ll be visiting a beach this year. No, that’s not a typo or a mismatched sentence. I really want to incorporate beach sounds in this app, and I want it to record them myself like I’ve done for various other sounds that will be in this app. This app will have a heavy focus on sounds and I want the sound of the beach & ocean to be a segment of it. So the conclusion of this little tangent is that I’ve decided to stop development on this app until I’ve gathered and edited all of the main sounds for this app. I’m still really interested in working on this app and I can’t wait to release it, but I feel like I would prevent a lot of backtracking if I have one of the main focus points of the app finished before I get too deep into implementation of rules, attributes, and other developmental aspects.

During the middle and end of the month I worked on several updates to previously released apps. Some of them were minor and some of them were more substantial. Gift Wrap Difference, Light Up The Tree, & Zompy Jumpy all received 64-bit support updates which also decreased loading times. Right after the Light Up The Tree update was released I realized that I needed to fix a couple of links within the app. So I quickly fixed those issues and published another update which is currently waiting on review with Apple. After the Zompy Jumpy update went live I realized that I forgot to include a pre-typed hashtag within the tweet feature. I know it’s a very minor mishap that can even be added or deleted by any user, but I’m really into minor details. Usually the minor details I may revisit pertain to graphics, sound, or code, but this time it was a preloaded tweet. Yea kind of ridiculous, but I should have noticed it during the initial update I did this month. If I would have been more patient I could have avoided these two back to back updates. The latter two updates were minor but they were still time consuming in a month were I didn’t have much app dev time to consume. I’ve learned my lesson from these mishaps though and hopefully I’ll avoid these similar situations in the future.

In July I also worked on the Fireworks Showeator 1.4 update. More info on the update itself and the reasoning behind a part of it can be found on the linked post. Fireworks Showeator also received a minor iOS update after version 1.4 went live that was similar to the additional update that I submitted for Zompy Jumpy.

Last month I also finished my newest game. It’s a quick fast paced arcade game that I initially created during a space themed game jam. After the game jam I put it off for a while and went back to working on other apps. I recently decided to revisit the game, finish it, and release it on the Apple App Store. I may end up including the main gameplay of this game into a larger game in the future so I want to see how it’s received by the public. Most of the game has been finished for a while, but in order for me to feel fine with releasing it on the App Store I wanted to add a leaderboard and fully test it on different devices. So in July I incorporated Game Center leaderboards, added a main front screen to prepare players for the challenge, and then I tested it on different devices. The game has actually already been in front of you multiple times, but it’s just waiting on August 8th…..that’s a really lame inside joke that will make more sense when it’s released….

I recently quit a job that wasn’t related to my two separate ongoing careers (healthcare & app development) so things are going to start ramping up even more in app development land for me. My career focus is to stay on track with my two different paths, any other work is kind of a waste of my time, and I really don’t like wasting time. Anyways, I’m really excited about working on various new apps and sharing what I’ve been working on! I think I’ll start incorporating more images in these post too. I’m a visual person and I know a lot of other people are too. I’m excited about my healthcare career that’s been going well too, but this site isn’t about that. Back to the mobile apps. Until next time ∞

Ultra Big Celebration Soundboard App Trailer

30 Mar
2015

The trailer for Ultra Big Celebration Soundboard is here….the app was released a few months ago, but……hey look it’s a to the point app trailer for an awesome sound effects app! I bought an excellent piece of software called Reflector a couple of days ago, and now my life has changed in regards to videos for my apps. Seriously, Reflector is awesome and I regret not checking it out earlier. This is my first trailer using it and I can’t wait to use it for my next apps. Ceeeelllleeebrate good times, come on!

July Mobile App Progress Report

2 Aug
2014
  • Ported Professor Piggy Bank to the Windows app store. My apps on Windows are still only available for tablets & PC. I may eventually have apps available for the Windows Phones too, but not anytime in the near future. For some reason the architecture for Windows tablets & Windows phones isn’t similar like the iPhone & iPad on the main engine I use.
  • Released Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade and Second Grade editions on the Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Windows App Stores. The Word Owl Word Search series is now complete. I really enjoyed working on these apps, and I’m pleased with the way they turned out. I hope a lot of children & parents find them useful and enjoyable!
  • I arrived at the conclusion to only release my future apps in the Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Windows App Stores, in that order of importance because that’s the order in which I obtain the majority of downloads. My main focus will be Apple & Amazon though because I’m most impressed with their devices, user numbers, and app store design & functionality. Porting to different app stores and working on different builds is becoming too time consuming. I’m excluding Google Play completely because I continue to run into problems with it. The search on Google Play is horrible, which is odd because Google search is great, and I barely get any downloads on it. For now I’ll continue to keep my apps available that are on that store already though.
  • Decided on which app I’ll be working on in August. I’ll be working on an entertainment app that’s similar to a couple of my previous apps. It shouldn’t take that long to finish this app, and after I finish it I’ll be jumping right into development on an educational game for kids. The educational game for kids will feature a unique colorful art style and hidden object gameplay.
  • I have several ideas for different “indie games” I want to eventually work on, and I really can’t wait to start working on them. I’m hoping to start development on one of those ideas when my full-time career situation becomes stable. I’ll continue to have development plans for educational apps and other categories, but I’ll eventually start to focus a bit more on games.
  • Last but not least. Amazon reviewed all of my apps currently on their app store and approved the ones below to be also available for download on their new Amazon Fire Phone!
  • IMG_1480

New Release: Word Owl’s Word Search First Grade and Second Grade

10 Jul
2014

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Available on the Apple App Store  amazonappstore-black_badge_updated

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Available on the Apple App Store  amazonappstore-black_badge_updated

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Word Owl’s Word Search is a big and colorful word search for children. The First Grade and Second Grade Editions of Word Owl’s Word Search feature 200 sight words each for children in or around the 1st & 2nd Grade. These words have been compiled from numerous sight word lists provided by real 1st and 2nd grade classes in different schools. Help your kid learn and retain several words while having fun!

Simply slide your finger across the letters to form a word that’s displayed on the left side of the screen. The words are in the word search vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. All of the words are displayed in a forward  facing manner in the First Grade edition. Some of the words in The Second Grade edition are displayed in a backwards facing manner for an added challenge for the second graders.

√ 200 different sight words
√ Ten words to find per puzzle
√ Customizable letter and background colors
√ Nice colorful high-definition graphics
√ Features popular sight words used in numerous schools & books

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New Release: 8-Bit Eagle Smash

19 Feb
2014

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Available on the Apple App Store

Tap the screen to fly. 
Fly into every pipe to destroy it.
See how long you can fly before missing a pipe.
Are you ready for this challenge?

8-Bit Eagle Smash is a challenging endless runner/flyer with a retro art style. The goal in this game is to fly into every pipe before it goes off the screen. 8-Bit Eagle isn’t afraid of pipes. Pipes are afraid of 8-Bit Eagle. 8-Bit Eagle don’t care!

Smooth one finger gameplay that’s fun and challenging.

Developer Notes:

Continue reading

8-Bit Avrin Apps 2013 Overview

18 Jan
2014

My App Releases In 2013 Banner

2013 was a year of great forward progress for my old and new apps. Some of my older apps received updates that improved their performance, and some of them received updates that added content and/or features. In 2013 I also went from being in three app stores to being in five by expanding into the Windows and Barnes & Noble app stores. My app development time in 2013 was all over the place. Porting apps to new app stores, updating apps with improvements, and developing new apps that were released in 2013. Definitely a busy and successful year.

2013 wasn’t by any means perfect though. I had a few set backs in development, and some of my apps didn’t perform as well as I thought they should. Marketing is still the hardest aspect to grasp in the mobile apps business for me. I still plan on concentrating mainly on the app itself though because if the app isn’t great it doesn’t matter much if the marketing is good. However, I did release some of my best apps ever in 2013, and some of them performed very well on some of the app stores. I’m very pleased with most of my new apps and the outcome of 2013 overall. I’m learning from mistakes I made as well as learning & thriving on the positive leaps and bounds I made. My development and design skills are continuing to improve greatly and they’ve shown through the apps I released in 2013 on the inside and outside.

Amazon and Apple continue to be the best outlets for my apps. However, things started off fairly bright on Windows and Barnes & Noble was definitely a nice addition for my apps. Below I’ll list the top 5 countries where I received the most downloads and my top 5 apps that were downloaded the most. As usual I won’t be posting any specific numbers because I don’t do that. I’m not rich though so don’t get that idea.

Top 5 Counties That Downloaded My Apps:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Germany

My Overall Top 5 Downloaded Apps:

  1. Jumbo Egg Hunt
  2. Jumbo Egg Hunt 2
  3. Professor Piggy Bank
  4. Raven’s Hidden Hollows
  5. Ultra Retro Game Soundboard

I’m planning & working on some great things for 2014 and beyond when time permits, and I can’t wait to share more info on them. I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has downloaded any of my apps, and another big THANK YOU to the people in my life that have been supportive. I develop apps for you random people out there and because I have a bunch of ideas that pop in my head that I need to eventually get out. Have fun!

2012 Overview: https://8bitavrin.com/2013/01/05/my-top-downloads-in-2012-etc/