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Whynott is location-based app for communicating with people around you. And it is rather not a case study, but an honest story of the creation of an app Whynott.
How it started
2 years ago, Staarter guys Oleg — CTO and Andrey — Business Owner came to our office and decided to get an estimate for a mobile project related to wine, proximity sensors, and restaurants.
Wireframes of the initial design
In the end it transformed to "Here and now" geo-location-based chats!
Later, the idea transformed into geo-chats for people to meet. Then transformed to "Here and now" geo-location-based chats! With coupons for user engagement, loyalty program, gifts and challenges for socialization in the venue.

The main idea — check what venues are near you, what events are there and who sits there. That helps you to decide whether to join a venue and go there or not. Also, you can join the chat only in a certain radius away from the venue, so that is the catch on why you should go into the venue.
We've got a project with a completely different design, app concept, and business focus, but hey! It's how you build a startup.
That's how we started a project together.

A couple of draft ideas and designed screens, the back-end was not even started, but we already were doing some work on the project, mocking the API calls, doing the most agile project in Chili Labs history.

A year and a bit more later, we've got a project with a completely different design, app concept, and business focus, but hey! It's how you build a startup :)
A year and a bit more later, we've got a project with a completely different design, app concept, and business focus!
What we did
  • Development: Android & iOS apps.

  • Initial design.

  • Redesign programming: Staarter team in cooperation with MacCann (Overpriced) design company decided to create a brand new identity for the app.

  • Design review.

  • Coding of the mobile part.
Chats & Technical complexity
Chat is the core functionality of the app, it's functionality is backed by the XMPP — an open protocol for real-time communication WhatsApp uses it.

Smack in the library of choice on Android for handling the XMPP Message exchange & XMPP connection state. iOS had to work on a lower level than Android since they did not have an equivalent of Smack library.
Message Archive Management, user presence, initialize and exchange private messages, exchange chat messages, deletion and reply messages, in order to have more interaction in the chat
Technical complexities that we have faced
  • Developing and documenting XMPP protocol extensions:"likes", "deletion", "reply", "hello" — messages to be used by apps.

  • Offline message history sync against the Message Archive. Every time the application reconnects to XMPP, it has to check for messages, received while being offline.

  • XMPP connection lifecycle management — handling cases whenever the app goes into the background. XMPP has to be shut down & brought up again when the user puts the app back into the foreground again.
  • Data migration between the different application versions — handling the case if SQL table model changes, users on older app versions have to be migrated to the new schema, without losing the data.

  • Designing efficient SQL data model with proper indices/relations for the maximal SQL Query performance e.g. a user may have thousands of chat messages stored on a device & the app has to select only those belonging to specific chat/conversation.
Coupon types
  • Private is sent by admin.
  • Public is claimed in the group chat. Person, who comes first gets the coupon.
  • A user can invite friend via invite coupon, after he or she get free stuff.
  • A user can get free stuff if he or she invites a friend via invite coupon.
  • Shared.
  • Challenge coupon.
  • It can be shared be not only claimed but also shared with users both in the app and without the app.

Coupon flow
Each coupon has its flow and possible actions, there are 2 platforms, local memory on the devices, also we cannot load the server with all coupon requests on a page.
User Flow
Technically, each venue is an XMPP MucSub room along with extra metadata such as venue name, description, logo, etc.

Users are only able to join the venue if it is nearby to motivate them to visit the venue.
Redesign
Staarter team in cooperation with Overpriced design company decided to create a brand new identity for the app.
The main inspiration was — dark theme and trendy illustrations.

Meet each other online, get familiar, chat, get free stuff and have shared coupons.

We live in a new paradigm, where people are just sitting in the cafe's and not talking to others, but sitting in their phones.

Instead of creating obstacles for people, we decided to give them a better way to communicate with the usage of modern technologies and good old fashioned talking :)
Results
Chili Labs can proudly say that this project taught us a lot not only about XMPP chats, geolocation, and all of that technical stuff.

But we learned how to work in a startup environment, deliver products to clients' expectations, receive honest feedback and live launches. We've spent countless hours on an app launching event in Belarus, supporting clients till 4:00 AM in the morning. It's a truly memorable project for Chili Labs, as we've never before been so dedicated to the app delivery.

Whynott apps have been released into the App Store, Google Play and launched for 2 countries — Belarus and Latvia in a year from the initial meeting. Currently, there are more than 800 venues in the app, huge development plans and scaling in the upcoming months and a story behind…


Team involved
Business, marketing, idea — Staarter
Design — Overpriced
Development — Chili Labs
Let's build products
together