Tag Archives: developing apps

January Mobile App Development Report

6 Feb
2016

January definitely felt like a new journey for me with various changes going on in my life, thankfully most of them were positive. The first week or so I was sick and recovering from a sinus infection which was lame, but I did manage to somehow make progress in app development land throughout the month.

The only app I really worked on in January was Ultra Fortune Ball which involved many improvements for the big 4.0 update that’s set for a March 3rd release. I choose that date because it’s the date this app was first released on the Apple App Store 5 years ago. Ultra Fortune Ball is the first app I ever developed and published so it’s a bit special to me in very unique kind of way. 

I started improving graphics during the last week of December, and then in the beginning of January I continued and finished the graphic enhancements. Pretty much every image in the app is now changed or enhanced in some way. I changed the actual fortune ball itself, but it’s still about the same size as before. Overall I wanted the app to look polished, uniform, and sharp overall. For the ball I made it darker and less blurry on the edges, and then I made the title text darker and sharper. I also decided to go with honeycomb/hexagon graphics for the inside “liquid” part of the ball. I liked the way the honeycomb images looked so much within the app that I eventually decided to make the background stars in the same shape and even the moon also! I also ended up making the buttons have less of a glow around the words and instead made the edges sharper with more contrast between the button and text.

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 1.46.11 AM

Being meticulous about design and comparing a few final images to themselves and other different images.

 

Photo Jan 16, 4 55 49 PM

Quick notes about sizes, effects and other random things.

After completing the graphics. I decided to jump into the mechanics of the app itself and how answers are retrieved. I added tables to make the app perform smoother and more functional overall. After adding tables I was able to delete a lot of old code rules within the app, and the code that replaced it was incredibly quicker to incorporate than what I had done years ago. I also added more responses for both languages. There ended up being 173 Spanish answers and then eventually 0ver 200 English answers. There’s more English answers than Spanish basically because I’m more familiar with various English jargons and sayings. After incorporating the changes to the code of the app I turned my attention back to presentation of the app. I added a vibrate feature so that your phone vibrates after you touch or shake the ball IF you have vibrate turned on in your phone settings. There’s also an option to turn this feature off within the app itself in case you want to keep vibrate on for your phone but not in this app.

On the older version of this app the ball would get smaller and then bigger while the inside spun while it was retrieving an answer. Although that looked fine with the new images I wanted to improve the answer animation to look more refined. So I incorporated a framed animation that uses the different honeycomb images that I made earlier in the month so that the sizes changed while the inside also spins. I tried a few different speeds for the sizes changes and spin until I saw one that felt right. After that I made the ball have a blur effect and a contained movement animation where it kind of bounces around without going off screen. After all of that and towards the end of the month I made new app icon and loading screens using the new images.

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Working on load screens for different device sizes.

Photo Jan 24, 3 25 34 PM

A side by side comparison of the main menu. Out with the old, in with the new.

I’m very satisfied with how the update turned out and I’m glad I decided to take time to work on a substantial update instead of something minor or ignoring it and working on a different app. I can’t wait to release it for all the people who have already downloaded the app, whether it be days ago, months ago, or years ago and of course for future downloaders also. Until next time ∞

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October Mobile App Development Report

4 Nov
2015

October started with a new app release on October 1st, and the rest of app dev work during the month went towards a new app that’s being released today(November 4th)!

The first couple of days went towards promoting and enjoying the release of Word Owl’s Word Search: Halloween Edition.

Then….because I’m a workaholic that set ambitious goals for the rest of the year….I went right into work on finishing RX Quiz of Pharmacy. I finished several tables containing questions and answers  in September so October development went towards implementation of that data into the actual app, design, testing & audio. After implementing the quiz data I jumped more into design, design, & more design. I decided to make the app basically look like a clipboard with pills on it but also have an overall clean bold look. So I made flat clipboard backgrounds and slightly raised buttons that looked like tablets.  For the color of the tablet graphics I used colors from actual real life pill images online. After finishing those graphics I decided to make a statistics page that would store the number of questions answered, number answered correctly, and answered correct percentages.

After the all the work mentioned above was finished, I went into the testing phase. After finding and fixing some of the data issues I went to work on the audio. For most of the audio on the app I recorded sound effects using actual pills and pill bottles. The button click sounds are the sounds of tablets dropping into a bottle. The Start Quiz button sound effect is the sound of a pill bottle opening with pills inside, and the sound heard after finishing a quiz is the sound of pouring pills on a table. I added minor effects to these sounds in GarageBand after recording them to make sound more bounteous. Then after finishing those sounds I also made basic correct & incorrect sound effects.

Photo Oct 18, 11 52 41 PM

Recording sound effects for RX Quiz of Pharmacy

I really wanted to make sure this app looked different from my Quiz of Medicine app, but also kind of pay homage to it because that app inspired me to make this app. When I started working on Quiz of Medicine I thought I was going to make it more focused, but I went a little overboard with the medications and the app ended up turning into a massive quiz app featuring thousands of questions for over 400 medications. However, I definitely wasn’t disappointed with how that app turned out. I still think it’s a great app and it’s one of my best performing and well received apps with a lot of downloads and mostly positive reviews. 

My goal for RX Quiz of Pharmacy was for it to be more focused on pharmacy overall as a whole. I believe I succeeded with that goal by having it feature abbreviations, law, history, and only the top 200 drugs(in 2015 currently). I’m also really satisfied with the look of the app. I even smiled at the app icon for about a minute after finishing it. Working on an app icon is usually one of the final things I do during development, and that was also the case for this app. So I wasn’t just smiling because I really liked the look of the app icon, but also because it was a moment of culmination.

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 8.12.10 PM

Working on the RX Quiz of Pharmacy app icon

Up next on my app development plate will be a finance app and the next Word Owl’s Word Search app. Not sure which one I’ll focus more on, but I’ll be working on both until I figure it out. Until next time ∞

June Mobile App Development Report

8 Jul
2015

June wasn’t as bountiful as May in app development land, but May was a month packed with working on an app, finishing that app, releasing it, and then working on another app immediately after. I also had a lot of non app dev work going on, however, I did make some nice progress with one of my new apps. In June I continued working on the user interface on my new relaxation app. I decided to make the main features of the app the actual main menu/first screen so as soon as the app loads you can immediately go into a realm of relaxation. In the past couple of years I started to realize how important design is within apps and I’ve been intertwining development and design when possible. So instead of mainly developing/coding first or designing first, I often go back and forth between the two to see what looks and feels right.

While working on the user interface for this new app I had a hard time deciding on what font to use. I didn’t want the font to be too demanding to the eye, but I also didn’t want it to be seen as feeble. While deciding I looked at several complete words in different fonts next to each other and within the actual scene in which they would appear in the app. I basically ended up staring at a lot of font styles in different test environments until I eventually decided on one. I don’t plan on releasing this app until probably Fall or Winter this year so I’ll be working on another app that’s near completion in addition to this one in the month of July. Until next time ∞