Platform: Native iOS
Partners: Parawhale (UX)
Technology: Swift + Google Firebase
Challenge: To create an engaging, scalable mobile app for the beauty industry startup Tradiies.
Solution: E11 partnered with award-winning UX shop Parawhale to help research, plan and execute the app in a short time frame.
Just over a year ago, April and Nikki Dominguez set out on a mission to redefine how the beauty industry connects, grows and develops their careers. In less than eight months, the sisters raised the initial capital requirements, assembled a team of twelve, mapped their vision and defined their product. That product is an iOS app that allows a wide range of beauty professionals to network, connect, post and find jobs. E11 joined the sister’s entrepreneurial journey when Austin, TX based agency Parawhale (formerly Mighty) extended the opportunity to collaborate in developing the mobile app. The sisters were extremely prepared. After a few weeks, a handful of calls, and two redrafts of the SOW; the proposal was signed, the team was established and everyone’s flights to sprint week in Austin, TX were booked. Everyone was excited to get started.
To kick things off, a sprint week was organized for the key players to meet in Austin, Texas. This team included:
Sprint week initiated the process of turning concept into tangible product. The team defined Tradiies’ end user and their goals. The next step was to break down what the product needed to accomplish, specifically, the MVP’s product requirements. These parameters laid the groundwork for JP and his team to take their initial wireframes to the next level of iteration. Those iterations were handed off to Elija on our team to dev. By the end of the week, the team had an MVP on Testflight that they could share with investors and start testing with end users.
With Parawhale running point on design, E11 Group aided in developing Tradiies’ user experience. The team sat down with end users (stylists, beauticians, business owners, etc.) to fully understand their unique challenges and then again to validate our initial design sprint. Through rigorous testing and in-depth discussions, we were able to iterate version 1.0.
1. Project’s Unique Challenges
“This was a rapid-launch project, so the design team and engineering team had to work in concert to ensure that the engineering side could constantly be moving forward, even during periods where app modules and functionality were still being designed . . . In addition, there was an overall branding change mid-way through the project, so the team had to find a way to shift the look and feel of the app while still continuing their forward momentum.” – Elija
2. Tech stack
- Swift – Native iOS
- Firebase – Database
- Image storage and thumbnail processing (using custom logic deployed in Firebase Cloud Functions)
- Authentication via phone number or social media
- Performance and crash monitoring
- A/B Testing
- Generating push notifications to subsets of users
- Generating dynamic links
- One aspect of the app is for users to be able to claim existing businesses. To do this, an automated phone call is generated to the business phone number listed, and the business owner would need to answer and use the provided verification code to finish this confirmation process. We use Twilio to handle that phone verification process.
- For all that Firebase offers, they lack a solid solution for text-based search of entities in the database. Algolia picks up the slack here to provide a responsive, auto-completing search.
- Users can add photos to their Tradiies portfolio either from their Camera Roll or from their Instagram account.
- Users can authenticate to sign in/up with their Facebook account. We also make use of some Facebook analytics in addition to the analytics we gather in Firebase.
- Once we entered our closed beta, we wanted to provide our testers with a frictionless way to report bugs and feedback. Instabug provided the perfect platform for that workflow.
- Businesses can pay for the ability to host job posts on Tradiies. These payments are handled via Braintree.
With the design and development team working in tandem, Tradiies was able to hit their launch date of January 28th, 2019. General access and user features have been released to the United States, but “business-based aspects are being launched region by region, beginning with New York City. This regional launch is proving helpful in keeping a steady hand on growth while we continue tweaking and optimizing user experience as underlying server-side performance and data consumption.” – Elija