Case Study: Relationship Evaluation & Compatibility Application
StayGo is one of the most recent software products developed by MobiDev. It is a free cross-platform app backed by a system that evaluates users' romantic relationships and predicts their possible future.
In this case study we covered the evolution of this project from the very beginning up to the present day. We believe it is a good example of an inspired product created with well-orchestrated interactions between the product owner's side and the mobile development team. A classic case of a great idea supplemented by best practices, careful elaboration of details and flexible implementation.
How it started
The product owner's side involved two groups of people. The first one included business people, producers and startup owners in search of ideas to invest in. The second one comprised a group of professors whose studies were dedicated to behavior psychology and psychology of relations. These people had done preliminary work on a scientific approach to determination and evaluation of compatibility between people. This approach would be much more comprehensive for all interested people than quick tests in magazines, with its set of in-depth questions and calculations of different aspects of relationships.
Discussions between these people led to an idea of creating a software product that would show its users the strengths and weaknesses of their relationships, and what and how can be improved. Then there was an idea of tracking relationship dynamics, adding anonymous feedback, which would be provided by close people who might be too polite or shy to share their real thoughts. Then came the idea of making the product more social.
Eventually, the product owner came to us with a formed vision of the future couple compatibility app: well-thought out modules, target audience, the value of the product, and the problems it would solve. It was the information that we consider vital for a good start of any software project.
From demo prototype to final app design
Although there were many people involved on the product owner's side, he was the single decision-maker—which we believe is useful for any project, especially if it has a high level of complexity.
After a while the product owner returned to us with a firm decision of creating a full-fledged hybrid mobile app. We made a new UI/UX design from scratch, skipping wireframing and proceeding right to mockups, since we knew the subject quite well. We had a color scheme and made 15 design concepts to choose from. Once more our target audience was involved, and PhoneGap was selected as the optimal platform that would cover both iOS and Android, while the back end would be created with the Yii framework.
The product owner's side defined the set features for the first version, and we estimated them. We knew that changes would be inevitable, and we agreed we would be constantly looking for ways to improve the product for the likes of real end users. To make it happen, we applied our proven and flexible iterative approach to implementation. We covered the three major modules in 6 months, from May-June (design) to December (the first launch).
First version: app development and features
The entire scope was implemented during 2-week sprints. The finishing touch of each sprint was a demo with each person involved from the product owner's side. Everyone could get full clear vision of the progress. Thus we avoided any misunderstandings and gathered all the feedback that we needed to move on.
As the development progressed, we made a promotional website for the app. Our flexible approach allowed us to alter the course of the project and introduce vital changes. We changed the order of module implementation, added several low-priority features (feedback), optimized texts where it was necessary, modified the approved structure of several UI/UX elements: improved the transition logic in a couple of places for convenience that is so much valued by users.
Our cooperation was built on standard work principles and best practices adopted by our company; you don't have to invent and complicate things to make your project efficiently implemented. We followed our development plan and successfully delivered an deployed the PhoneGap application in December, as planned.
What we implemented was the set of features divided into 3 major modules:
• Tell StayGo all about your current partner(s) and get a scientifically accurate score with grades in twenty different categories so you can predict your chances of a happy future.
In order to get precise and scientifically substantiated compatibility results, we implemented a custom system on the server side. This system interpreted user answers with application of mathematics, mathematical logic, and notions of behavior psychology. We optimized the testing of these features: API tests were automated, which allowed to quickly check the correct calculations of results, as well as define and eliminate any problematic places in this logic.
• This one-of-a-kind feature tracks the ups and downs of your relationships like a Fitbit for your love life!
• Invite your friends and family to anonymously reveal what they really think of your relationship.
We should also mention Push Notifications: they motivate users not to forget about the app and actively track relationship dynamics.
Technologies used for hybrid app development
• Custom animations (drag-and-drop, infinity scroll, charts, diagrams)
• Custom mobile application design
• Yii 2
Technologies used for web application development
• Amazon S3
• AppsFlyer SDK
• Facebook SDK
• Google Geocoding
• Push Notifications
• Custom server-based maths
• Automated API tests
After the first release
This surge was the cause of an interesting problem we had to tackle. It concerned geocodes. Since the budget did not allow an expensive geocode database, we found an alternative by using Google geocodes. However, it had a limit of 2,500 daily submissions; meanwhile, after the press release StayGo received more than 6,000. The service malfunctioned, because location info is necessary for registration, and we received lots of concerned feedback.
However, there was nothing we couldn't quickly respond to. We scaled the system and quickly proceeded to notifying users via email that the bad news was over. We just did not expect that amount of interest shown by users, and were inspired to live up to their expectations. There was a blog that dedicated a negative article to the product; the following week they released a new article that included StayGo in top 5 new apps of the week. We did not have such problems ever since.
Another interesting case concerned a minor flaw hidden in the Android platform. We had a reported bug that we could not reproduce on 20 combinations of devices and OS versions. We analyzed users and found out that the problem lay in location: there were 4 time zones that Android read from the device in a custom format. It's a very rare bug that was not even documented: when a format addressed the application glossary, it was read improperly, and the response was sent back with an error. We made API adjustments to fix that problem. Even a minor problem like that could cause major inconvenience for end users, and we could not allow that to happen.
Testimonial from the product owner
We knew right away that MobiDev was the kind of company that would elevate our ideas. MobiDev was always available when it was convenient for us. We were never confused as to where the project stood. The whole work process worked incredibly well. I had rarely worked with a third-party service provider that provided that level of service.
One of the things that I loved about MobiDev, it's a company where there were no surprises. When you agreed to do something, the work was done on time and on budget, and exactly what you expected it to be. MobiDev treats your product like it's their product.
Plans for the future
StayGo is actively evolving, and a new version is currently in works. It is planned to include a new social module called Community, which is going to make StayGo a social network, with sharing options, comments with non-anonymous feedback, and advanced privacy settings.
Press releases keep coming, and our PhoneGap application has already earned acclaim in articles and positive reviews on various tech blogs.
Whatever the further evolution of StayGo may be, it is going to focus on real user needs, which is essential for success of any software product.
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