5 app developer New Year's resolutions for 2015

Shane Schick

For a lot of app developers, this might feel like the time to take a breather. 

After all, the holidays are when a lot mobile games and other apps first make their way to consumers who get new smartphones and tablets as gifts. If that's the case, and if installs and engagement are happening, then congrats! Enjoy a little downtime. And maybe use it to think through and reflect on your strategy for the year to come. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

Consider your IAP exit strategy: In-app purchases certainly aren't going away, but if last year proved anything it was that consumers and regulators are being put off by the way they're used in a lot of mobile games. It probably makes sense to take a second look at mobile ads or some other form of monetization to at least balance out what IAPs could bring in. 

Start a wearable side project: No one's saying you have to create an Apple Watch app right away, but just as Apple is positioning its first foray into wearable as a "companion device" to its iPhones, why not brainstorm a "companion experience" for your next app or mobile game as it gets closer to release? It could save a lot of time if wearables take off. 

Act on at least one new piece of insight: If you've never made much use of mobile app analytics, that might be a resolution in itself. But assuming you're one of the many who use App Annie, Flurry or any of the other analytics providers, try formulating a question you've never considered. For example, how many women over 30 play your game, and at what time of the day? If you can get at the answers, what can you do to make your app better or more popular? 

Build testing into your timeline: Crashes lead to uninstalls. Jittery or middling performance ruins a developer's reputation. These are age-old problems, and 2015 should be the year app makers turn testing into something that's valued as much as a great UI. There are more than enough tools out there. Make one of them your own--and master it. 

Take the platform less travelled: iOS and Android are in no danger of losing their dominance on the mobile market, but there are plenty of other operating systems or app ecosystems that are dying for a breakout hit. This includes Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry's BB10 or even HTML5. A developer that can innovate here has a much better chance of standing out, even if it's part of a cross-platform launch that includes the more popular operating systems. 

Of course, these are just some initial thoughts. What opportunities or resolutions have I left out or overlooked? I'd love to hear them, and to share your stories as you carry them out in 2015. --Shane

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