5-minute sit down with Dr. Jakin Vela, Apps UP 2022 Judge

Ahead of this years’ Apps UP 2022 competition, one of the judges for the contest, Dr. Jakin Vela, Executive Director of International Game Developers Association (IDGA), shares his insight into what he thinks developers need to succeed, along with what he’ll be looking for in a winning submission.

So, Dr. Jakin, what is your impression of Apps UP and what are you hoping to see in this year’s submissions?

I believe Apps UP offers developers a unique chance to participate in a community inspired effort to innovate and create advancements in technology. Contests like Apps UP help creators bring communities and digital lifestyles closer together by expanding technological and digital solutions for the every-day problem. And who doesn’t love a friendly competition?

In terms of this year’s submissions, I am hoping to see innovative gamification elements in social impact apps or games. I would also like to see an abundance of submissions from historically marginalized populations.

What are you looking for when you try a new app?

Security is number one, especially if an app collects my data or accesses sensitive information about me. Then, I tend to focus on accessibility and UI.

What is the most impressive way you’ve seen the HMS kits been integrated into an app?

The use of HMS kits to extend user touch points to additional devices like smartwatches shows impressive commitment to the Huawei ecosystem and widening the app’s user base.

What makes an app innovative?

Innovation certainly can be measured by the originality of an app’s solution to a user’s problem. However, what I find most innovative is when apps or games enhance an experience. Even if the foundation of an experience is not new (e.g., sending friends money, transcribing audio, whatever it may be), I think more immersive and intuitive experiences can highlight innovation.

Which award category are you most excited to receive submissions for and why?

Games, of course! The International Game Developers Association is dedicated to supporting developers around the world, so I’m excited to see what developers have in store for the Apps UP contest.

What is the best way for Apps UP contestants to make an impact and stand out with their app?

I think the greatest impact is often through connecting with the people you’re supporting or helping. If you’re making an app or experience for a certain type of user, be sure to connect with many people of that user-type and gain as much feedback as possible.

What are some of the mistakes or common pitfalls you’ve seen developers make?

Not conducting adequate research on the target market and not accurately assessing the need/desire for the product would be the most common mistakes I’ve seen. Its’s also important for developers to know when to cut a feature or limit the scope of the app too.

What other skills should great developers have apart from coding?

Listening skills and discernment. Being open to feedback and being able to discern what feedback to take/ignore is critical.

What have you learned from being part of the developer community that you want other people to know?

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is important in the development process. Find mentors or others who can offer guidance on areas where you are not as strong.

Now that you’ve read Dr. Jakin’s inside scoop on what he will be looking for from this year’s entrants (hint hint Games and Gamification Elements in your apps!!), there’s no better time to enter Huawei’s Apps UP competition.

Whether you have an existing app or have a great concept for a new one, simply integrate HMS Core for a chance to win in one of the 8 award categories, ranging from Best Game, Best Student Innovation, Tech Women’s Award, to Best Social Impact App (to name a few!). Register now for a chance to win HERE!


  • Huawei

    HMS has solidified its position one of the top 3 mobile ecosystem in the world, with over 5.75 million registered developers and a growing user base of 730 million Huawei device users. Dedicated to providing easy-to-use development and function components for app developers, HMS Core actively opens a cross-platform ecosystem, supporting multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smart screens. 

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