Last month at the MMADNJ user group Nick Landry (@ActiveNick) started doing a ‘show & tell’ segment for published app developers to share some of their work. I talked about Car Dash and shared some tips and free resources I used to make the app successful.
Today I wanted to go into some more details on some of these resources. There a lot of great tools available, and many of them are free for independent app developers.
UserVoice is a great tool for soliciting user feedback. You can get your own uservoice website (I have carstarter.uservoice.com for Car Dash) for free if you only need 1 admin account. You can then have support emails from your app get sent to your uservoice website for easier management.
UserVoice also allows you to get user feedback in the form of ideas/suggestions for new features. Users can vote on which feature they like the most, so you know which feature to work on next. Microsoft actually has UserVoice websites set up for Windows Phone, WPDev and even Cortana!
You should also check out Marco Sicciardi’s blog for additional information on UserVoice. He’s made a number of great posts on how to integrate the service into your app. He’s even created an app for managing your UserVoice account called Voices Admin which I highly recommend.
OneSkyApp is an easy to use translation service. You can upload your apps AppResources.resx file (or several other formats that would be common to Android/iOS etc.) and then add translations for each language you want to support.
The only languages I speak other then English are C++ and C#, so I needed some help to translate Car Dash. You can pay OneSkyApp to translate everything for you, or if you can get volunteers from the community you can invite them to login to OneSkyApp and do some of the translations for you. Between Car Dash users offering to translate and the fantastic #WinPhan community I’ve been able to get Car Dash translated in 8 additional languages.
Once your translations are finished you can download the translated content in any file format you can think of, including a .resx file.
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Most of these free resources will be helpful in the final stages of your app, or after your initial release. If you still need help creating your app though I’d highly recommend Windows Phone 8 Development Internals. It’s a fantastic book for any Windows Phone 8 app developer.
WPCentral and WMPowerUser
Ok this one isn’t another tool like the first two suggestions, but marketing your app is just as important as creating it. If you publish your app without making any effort to promote it you’re not likely to get many downloads.
If you’re reading my blog I’m sure I don’t need to introduce Windows Phone Central. It is the most popular site for Window Phone news and every day they cover news about the platform, devices and new or updated apps for the Windows Phone ecosystem. They regularly write about indie apps, so when you publish a new app or put out a major update it’s worth sending them an email about to see if they’d like to cover your app on the site. Contact info for all the writers is available here: http://www.mobilenations.com/
Make sure that when you write to the WPCentral staff that you make it easy for them to create an article about your app. Attach some screenshots of your app, tell them what the app does and most importantly don’t forget to include a link to your app on the Windows Phone store. If your app isn’t published yet you could even try inviting WPCentral writers to join your beta, or just send them a XAP file so that they can try the app before it’s published.
Another popular Windows Phone news site is WMPowerUser. What’s unique about this site is instead of contacting one of the site’s editors and asking them to write about your app you can submit your own articles. If the article is well written then the WMPowerUser editors will post it on the site. I’d suggest looking at a couple WMPowerUser articles about new apps so that you can grok the format that readers of the site are accustomed to. Here is a WMPowerUser article I wrote when I first released Car Dash (formerly known as Car Starter) last October: http://wmpoweruser.com/car-starter-new-dashboard-app-for-windows-phone-8/
Modern UI Icons
The last resource I wanted to call out is http://modernuiicons.com/. The website contains hundreds of metro-style icons for your Windows Phone or Windows 8 app. For each icon you can get a white or black .png file, or XAML and SVG vector files (which will look great on a large display like the Lumia 1520).
If you find that there is a particular icon missing from the Modern UI Icons collection reach out to the site owner @templarian or submit a ticket request on github. He’s a very talented artist and will probably be interested in creating new icons that you can use in your app (if he does make a new icon for you consider making a donation to the site).
I hope you found this post helpful, if you have any app development resources that you’d like to share please leave a comment below.