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Indie Dev Weekly #26: Exploring New Revenue Streams



This week I was happy that my friend in Japan finally came home after 3 years, and another friend rushed back from another city. The four of us high school buddies finally reunited after many years! At dinner we realized we've been friends for two decades, and took a photo at our high school entrance to commemorate our 20 year friendship.


Zen Flip Clock iOS (App Store)

On Sunday I shipped v4.3.2, which took 2 hours 44 minutes from submission to approval. This update:

  • Fixed two bugs with the date on digital watch faces
  • Added Vietnamese localization

I'm also working on adapting to iOS 17 features. I upgraded my iPad mini 6 to the iOS 17 beta and adapted the lock screen widget for iPads. At first I couldn't add the widget to the iPad lock screen and thought it was a beta bug, but later realized on iPhone that the containerBackground widget was needed for it to display properly, so that's likely related. Indeed, once I implemented containerBackground the widget could be added to the iPad lock screen.


YouTube Partner Program

Inspired by my friend @AlchianPeanut this week, I decided to seriously grow my YouTube channel to qualify for YPP. I had previously only uploaded app demo videos, with 270K+ views on the most popular one. There are two requirements for YPP - 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the past year. I already have 24K hours of watch time but only 400+ subscribers.


So I posted across all my social media accounts inviting people to subscribe. I got a few new subs from Jike, WeChat, and Discord. But a single tweet resulted in hundreds of likes and follows, pushing me over 1,000 Twitter followers. My YouTube sub count also jumped by over 300, now less than 200 away from 1,000.


And it seems that tweet also boosted app revenue that day, with a huge spike in sales. I really hope I can get notifications like that every day!


Learning UI/UX

I've been learning UI design all along, just not systematically - dabbling here and there, taking some Udemy courses. I stopped self-studying after starting to collaborate with a designer last year.


This week I felt anxious again about design. The demo for the new app looks so ugly, with lots of interaction issues too. I wondered if I could become a decent UI designer by 40 if I start seriously and systematically studying UI/UX now.

I had this thought Sunday afternoon and asked AI how to become a UI designer, and looked up recommended books/tutorials. One book, Refactoring UI, is only 200+ pages and I finished it that Sunday night, picking up many design tips I didn't know before:

  • Attractive shadows use 2 layers
  • 4 techniques to make text legible on images
  • Headings vs body text have different line/letter spacing
  • A design system can have dozens of colors
  • Adding accent colors to borders is very "designed"
  • Simple repeating shapes make backgrounds look sophisticated
  • And more!