Tag Archives: app development tips

2019 Year in Review for my Software Development

29 Feb
2020

Happy New Year! Is it too late to say that? I feel like it’s only been a few days into 2020, but here we(leap day!), and tomorrow is the beginning of March! Ok, lets get to it. 2019 started off productive for me in regards to my mobile apps. I made several videos for some of my apps that didn’t have a video associated with them, and I also made videos showing off some of the newer updates for my apps that already had videos of their initial release state. Video is an important and useful resource for marketing. Just google “marketing with video” or something similar and you’ll see all kinds of articles on how powerful video marketing can be. In the past I would make videos for most of my apps and release them at or around the release date, but for some of the past few releases I kept putting off making videos. So in 2019 I decided to stop procrastinating with the video for those apps. Previously I used Reflector and Reflector 2 to obtain video screen capture of my apps and then edited it in iMovie to make a final video, but since the update on iOS that allows screen capturing its been even easier to make videos for my apps. Lack of time is usually the reason why I procrastinate with things but the new screen capture feature is a big time saver and a great motivator for me to make videos. So for the videos I made in 2019, I used a mix of Reflector 2 and screen capture.

Having videos for my my apps on YouTube is a great free way to share an overview of my apps with people all over the world, and help those discover my apps whom may be interested with what its providing. It’s a win win situation for me and potential users. Since some of my apps get updates that add new features and graphics, it’s also neat to be able to look back on how an app looked before an update as a way to witness the progress. In the future I’ll continue to make videos for my apps to coincide with their release date, and also randomly as a way to show new features or just to highlight an app for a promotion or just because. You can check out the YouTube channel for my apps at https://www.youtube.com/user/8BitAvrin

In 2019 I also continued working on the educational health app that I was working on & off with throughout 2018. At times I became a bit overwhelmed at all the information I was researching and including within the app, but I enjoyed learning new information and refreshing knowledge I had so I continued with it. I also thought that many people would benefit from this app, but then I started to realize that the app didn’t have a clear target audience. For all of my apps there’s at least one obvious target audience in a niche, and all of them also have other various audiences that are also targeted. For this health education app I couldn’t narrow down to that first main niche target audience and find the route I wanted to take it. While working on the information segment of it, which is the largest time component of creating it, I thought it would somewhat automatically go in a path of a specific niche audience. However, it never really did, the large factual and possible factual data of it somewhat overwhelmed me, and things outside of app development happened that put my in a major damper on my life. I won’t get into the details of all of that, but in the end I decided to stop development on it. I may return to it eventually, but as of right now I’m not sure.

In October I joined an Amazon Alexa Skill challenge to create a skill with an ISP(In-Skill Purchase) feature. I’ve created a few Alexa skills before but never any with an ISP element so I decided to take on the challenge of creating one. In October I was also sent an invitation by Amazon to join the Amazon Alexa Developer Community Contest. In this engagement I was tasked with giving feedback to other Alexa developers about a skill they’ve submitted and was advised that I would also receive an Amazon gift card for being an eligible participate. This was a separate submission from the ISP challenge, although I guess developers could have submitted their skill to that one as well if they met the requirements. I thought this was neat opportunity for developers to receive feedback from fellow developers to help improve their skill and for developers to discover and enable skills that they may or may not have naturally. Amazon picked the first two skills for me to give feedback on and if I had time I could also check out more as well. I ended up being a bit short on time that month so I decided to just check out the two skills that I was assigned. I’m glad I got to participate though and would again in the future.

I went to Disney World in October and it was awesome! I hadn’t been in over 10 years and it was great visiting it again and I look forward to returning. All of the Star Wars in Disney Hollywood Studios was my favorite and Toy Story Land was really neat too. I also really enjoyed Pandora in Animal Kingdom and other areas there, the ambiance of Magic Kindgom, and the food and drink at Epcot. My wife, our kids, and my wifes sister all had a great time overall as well. Very expensive, but very fun haha. We also went to Disney Springs which is a big indoor/outdoor mall. I’m not a big shopper but I really enjoyed that area and my family did as well.

Ok, now back to my software in 2019. For the Amazon ISP Alexa Skill challenge I created a skill called Stock Market Help, and I believe it’s useful for beginner, amateur and even professional investors as a way to learn terms or refresh knowledge. With this being my first skill with ISP I did run into some issues that held me up during the certification process, but I was eventually able to find solutions to the problems I ran into and get my skill through certification by the deadline. I didn’t end up winning the challenge, but Amazon did give me a consolation prize of a $50 Amazon gift card which was nice. Regardless, I’m glad that I entered the challenge and made this skill. Not only because I like the way the skill turned out and believe it will be helpful to use for myself and others, but also for the experience I gained while creating it.

My Alexa Skill with the most enables in 2019 was Jesus Said. I was slightly surprised by this one because it’s one of my simpler Alexa Skills in terms of its build, but sometimes when it comes to code, design, product, design and more……..simpler is better. The subject matter in this skill is very important, meaningful and motivational to a lot of people so I’m sure that’s part of the reason why it had the most enables of all my skills. In relation to total enables and downloads, most people don’t leave reviews for skills and apps, but this skill has received some good ratings which is nice to see.

 

My mobile app with the most downloads in 2019 was Quiz of Medicine. Released in 2014, but still going strong with its downloads. This was the first quiz app that I ever developed so it holds a special place with me for that fact and for other reasons as well. I learned a lot while making this app, not only about the subject matter, but also about development and design as well. This is one of the apps that helped me realize how much I adore minimalism and efficiency in design. It also helped continue my interest in making educational software. Since releasing this quiz app, I’ve created and released three other quiz apps and four quiz related Alexa skills. One of the main reasons why I like making educational quiz software is because its a neat way for people to obtain new knowledge and refresh the knowledge that they’ve already acquired. Quiz of Medicine doesn’t have many ratings, except on Google Play, but its usability, effectiveness, amount of information, and volume of downloads overall are awesome.

 

Below are my top five mobile apps with the most downloads in 2019 and the top five countries where most of my app downloads came from. Also since I have more than a couple of Alexa skills now, I’ll also list my top five Alexa skills with the most enables in 2019.


My Top 5 Apps Downloaded in 2019

  1. Quiz of Medicine
  2. Ultra Fortune Ball
  3. Quiz of the Christian Bible
  4. Motivational Quotes to Inspire
  5. Quiz of Finance and Investing

Top 5 Countries That Downloaded My Apps

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

My Top 5 Alexa Skills Enabled in 2019

  1. Jesus Said
  2. Quotes of Game of Thrones
  3. Quiz of Medicine – Brands & Generics
  4. Quiz of Medicine – Indications
  5. Kids Coin Quiz

As of now I’m working on finishing updating all of my apps on Google Play to be compliant with the 64-bit requirement, which is somewhat time consuming. After finishing the updates I plan on working on my new mobile app company which will be separate from 8-Bit Avrin Apps. However, that does not mean I’m abandoning this though, definitely not. I’ll continue to promote my current software, offer user support, and update when needed. I still really like my apps and skills, and I’m proud of them, some more than others but there’s at least a few things about all of them that I really like a lot overall. Also, the number of app downloads and skill enables in 2019 was better than 2018 overall so that’s ace. Looking forward to promoting my apps more in 2020 and hopefully increasing downloads. Most of my software is targeted towards certain groups and audiences so hopefully the people that are interested will continue to find my apps and those that have them already will continue to enjoy them. Thank you to everyone who downloaded my apps or enabled my Alexa skills in 2020! And thank you to everyone who told others about my software as well! To everybody whom has used my software and enjoyed it, thank you and you’re awesome!

One more thing…..Even with the new app company in my mind, I’m also floating around a couple of ideas for a new app under Avrin Ross/8-Bit Avrin Apps to work on and finish in 2020. I’ll post more about that as more work on it gets done.

“Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

I hope you all have an awesome 2020! Take care!

September Mobile App Development Report

9 Oct
2015

September development time consisted of a lot work on two new apps. Most of that time went to working on and finishing Word Owl’s Word Search Halloween Edition, but work also continued on my new educational medical app.

  • In the beginning of the month I continued working on organizing words for Word Owl’s Word Search Halloween Edition. I grouped the words into similar categories for some of the puzzles and then eventually randomly jumbled some of them together. There’s an option to hide the words to seek out to make the game more challenging so I wanted the earlier puzzles to have similar words. By doing this the players will get the idea of what words to possibly look for in later puzzles if they’re playing with the Show Words option off.

 

  • During the beginning and middle of the month A LOT of design work went into effect for the Word Owl Halloween app. I completed the look of the main menu which consisted of working on button graphics and the overall layout. On my previous Word Owl word search apps I have the owl popping up on different areas of the main menu screen but I decided to have a window where it could pop up from in different areas. I ran into some problems with layering and transparency on the main menu, but ended up working those out during a late night session. I also worked on the ghost costume for the owl and its candy bucket that shows up after puzzles and on the loading screen. I already had white and black letter blocks from previous apps so I just had to make orange ones this time and then incorporate some rules in game to have a mixed color block option. I also made different backgrounds, some really simple, and some more elaborate. 
Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 8.07.11 PM

Eventually ended up removing the ears from the owl while in costume, and changing the color on the main menu window to a layered gray instead of white.

  • I was able to use a lot of the code from my previous word search apps so I saved a lot of time in that area during development of this game, but I still had a decent amount of work to do in that area though. It definitely wasn’t just graphics and audio work for this app. After completing the game and finishing testing I submitted the app to the app stores and set the release date to October 1st. The app was released earlier on Barnes & Noble store because there’s no way to set a future release date on that store. I also submitted to the Barnes & Noble store earlier than I wanted to because I tried to make a promotion deadline for them but ended up missing it by a day. Apple and Amazon are usually my main stores in terms of downloads, so it wasn’t a big deal that I ended up missing that deadline. While the app was waiting on review I made some promo images, a gameplay video trailer, and wrote the press release. 

 

  • I really like the design of my word owl games and how they all have things in common, but they also each have their own identify. The sight word apps have their playful classroom feel, the Christmas edition is wrapped in Christmas joy with the art and sound, and now this Halloween edition has a definite kid friendly Halloween focus with its look and sound. I like for the design of these apps to be big & bold, approachable, and colorful in their own theme. I try not to make them look too detailed, but I also make sure they don’t turn out plain and/or bland. I plan on making two more Word Owl apps eventually, and then that will probably be all for the Word Owl Word Search series. I’m planning on making a third grade sight words edition, and then an Easter edition. On the iOS App Store there will eventually be a classroom bundle and then a Holiday bundle, and they both will be available at discounted prices. If any of the other app stores they’re on give developers the option of making bundles then I will definitely share the bundle love with their stores customers too.

 

  • Throughout the month during dev time I took a couple of breaks from the word search app to continue working on my new pharmacy quiz app. There are going to be six quiz types, plus a mixed/assorted option. I finished the questions for the brands, generics, indications, and drug class category quiz modes. There will also be a top 100 or 200 drugs option for those quiz types to narrow down or widen the scope of questions. I also worked on questions & answers for the other two quiz types. Hopefully I’ll finish this app in October, but I’m not sure what exact date I’ll release it….probably towards the beginning of November.

 

I would like to finish and release at least three new apps by the end of 2015, including the pharmacy app mentioned above. However, with everything going on in life there’s a chance that number may be lowered to two, but then there’s also a chance that number could be four! We’ll see. Until next time ∞