2019 Retrospective and 2020 Plans

With 2019 officially behind us, I thought it might be a good opportunity to look back on the things Random Projects delivered this year. I’ll then talk about some of my plans for Random Projects for 2020.

All About Countr

While my day job has me working on several apps, Random Projects is currently all about Countr.

Originally released in 2014, Countr began as a simple counting app focused on a straightforward user experience. In 2019, Countr progressed to version 2 and continued that focus.

The original 2.0 release in March cleaned up the UI across the board. Layouts were more consistent between all phones, from the smaller iPhone SE to the large iPhone XS Max. This also laid the groundwork for a lot of other improvements that came through the rest of the year.

Version 2.1 in June brought improvements to the Watch app, including support for watch face complications. Haptics were also added, making the Watch app experience better. Lastly, a focus was made on dynamic type support in the iOS app, good for users that might have their device text set to a smaller or larger-than-default size.

August brought version 2.2 and the return of Dark Mode. I had added dark mode to version 1 years ago, but it had last been done when the iPhone 5s was the latest phone. I took time during the summer to rethink some of the color choices that were used in the past and brought it more in line with what Apple had created with iOS 13.

I also ran the app through iOS’ accessibility options, particularly Voiceover. It’s not perfect, but as I continue to work on this and other apps, I want them to be as accessible as possible to the broadest range of users.

Just a month after that release, version 2.3 was available in late September and added a few alternate icon options plus support for Siri suggestions. The more you use Countr, the more it’ll suggest it to you from Spotlight, making it easier for regular users to get back to the app.

Lastly, version 2.4 in October synced up Dark Mode with the iOS 13 system-wide setting, plus addressed any iOS 13 issues.

I think 2019 was a great year for Countr. If you agree, leave a tip in the Tip Jar found in the Settings screen. I greatly appreciate it!

Roadmap: 2020

I enjoyed working on Countr during 2019. Doing so helped me polish some internal processes for planning releases and development work. Those improvements have helped me make some solid plans for the future.

So what’s in store for Random Projects in 2020? Here are a few things I have in the works.

Countr 3

Countr 2 was sorely needed. It brought support for a lot of the newer features added to iOS over the past few years, and ended 2019 with a focus on the latest improvements to iOS.

While Dark Mode was a huge feature in iOS 13, there are other features that Countr can support that it doesn’t yet. That’s why Countr 3.0 is in the works.

Countr 3 will make full use of iOS 13’s features, as well as take advantage of some changes in iPadOS 13. And while I’m at it, I’ll be doing a Watch app update for watchOS 6.

Like Countr 2, these updates will be rolled out over several versions. Expect the first glimpses of Countr 3 in the late spring.

Other Apps

Hitting a bit of nostalgia in 2019 inspired me to work on a few small app ideas. These include some small games based on old travel games I used to play on road trips 20 years ago. I hope they’ll be fun for people now as I enjoyed them then! The first of these should be available by summer.