Case Study: meWrap
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Right as they happen.
meWrap is a growing social network that started with a mere idea. At a glance it's yet another photo sharing social network. With that quite overused concept, there must be killer ideas to make a product stand out. There must be zest to it. There must be something highly useful that other photo sharing apps lack. And meWrap has it.
THE KILLER IDEA
There are lots of famous apps where we share photos, but all of them lack something crucial. Take Facebook as an example. People can easily flood your feed with photos. What if you want to share photos with selected people only, it will be a headache. If you want to share photos from a certain event, it happens post factum. You may even start gathering photos gathered by other people from the same event, and here begins the mess. Takes much time, doesn't it? Or take another giant, Instagram. It can be more personal, that's good. You can share photos on the go, that's good. Yet Instagram is one great big feed – no albums. With a multitude of followers it becomes less personal.
The users of meWrap have none of these problems. It's an album-oriented photo network. Albums, or 'wraps', actually represent events. You may invite people to wraps where they can share their own photos and enjoy those posted by others, all on the go. That was only the MVP released initially; since then meWrap has grown lots of other goodies that allow for even better socializing. Let's take a look.
As for the target audience, it's a pretty much universal app that fits iOS 7.1 or later, and Android 4.0 or later. Behind the elegant design there is simplicity and high usability.
• A user starts with creation of an account, with the phone number and e-mail. Then the user promptly receives a 4-digit confirmation code via SMS. The profile page is quite simple: name, avatar, email. The user can easily check which contacts have meWrap installed on their smartphones.
• A wrap is basically an album dedicated to some event or topic. All of them are stored on the cloud; users can create unlimited number of wraps and post unlimited number of photos. Photos and wraps are organized by date. People can be added to wraps from the contact book. Other operations with wraps are also simple: create, rename, delete wraps; take new photos or take them from your library; report photos as inappropriate; post comments for each photo.
• Auto-uploading (the user doesn't have to press any re-upload buttons if something fails, everything is done automatically).
• A neat set of Aviary photo editing tools was purchased and integrated with the app.
• Live chat for more comprehensive socializing; emoji keyboard; ''user is typing'' feature; customized emoji for Android.
• Offline work (users can upload photos, create wraps, post comments without the Internet connection – all the changes are saved and applied when the connection is restored). Together with auto-uploading it makes a double win.
• Push notifications, which inform you of invitations to wraps, new comments to your photo, new posted photos, and chat messages.
• Support for Apple Watch.
SDK (iOS + Android)
• Push notifications (iOS + Android)
• Pubnub notifications (iOS and Android)
• GreenDao (Android ORM for SQLite)
• CoreData (iOS)
• Crashlitycs for iOS
• Acra for Android
• CocoaPods (iOS)
• TestFairy for build delivery for Android
• TestFlight for build delivery for iOS
RESULTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
The project had a very quick start. Well-established communication with team members and timely comprehensive reports allowed to adapt the project to numerous changes, and it took 3 months to release the first version, with further frequent updates coming out once a month.
The Client's backend was tied to our iOS and Android apps, and this also saved some time. The iOS version had no technical difficulties as such, and was released first. The Android version had a worthwhile challenge with the offline mode. We had to set up a caching queue with reordering to collect photos and upload them to the server, once the connection was restored.
There is a predictable issue with Android that lies in very high demands towards the responsiveness of gestures. People who use new social networks need to be provided with excellent smoothness of app's reaction to a touch. Special attention was paid to adjusting the scroll. But as a result, we made it easy for the system to faultlessly react to horizontal and vertical scrolling, differentiate it, thus make the experience smooth to the end user.
Quick responses to the Product Owner's requests and demands and high skills of every team member allowed the MVP appear on the market in quite a short time. As a result, meWrap became an interesting alternative to the existing photo sharing social networks – beautifully designed and responsive in use. The network thrives and is under continuous development performed by MobiDev team.