Outoo: A mobile app development case study

"Outoo is an exciting next generation events discovery and social mobile application. By helping you to find events that you shouldn’t be missing out on and connect with people before you arrive, Outoo will revolutionise your social life. This all-in-one app makes going out that much more exciting. It’s your best friend when it comes to searching for new events, exploring your city and discovering its hidden treasures with other people." - The Outoo App team

Key mobile app features

1

Location check-in

Check into locations

Search for events and locations near you, or in a city of your choosing, view event information and check-in. The majority of events are linked to Facebook events, allowing additional data to be drawn, such as attendees, opening times, and descriptions.

2

Real-time chat

Chat with matched users

Exchange messages and pictures with those users who are interested in attending the same events.

3

Data scraping

Automated content acquisition

As this is a data-driven platform, we created a module that automatically scrapes data from multiple online sources in order to deliver fresh content to the platform's user base.

Outoo mobile app

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Building the social discovery mobile app

The social discovery app

The Outoo team approached us with their idea to create a social discovery platform, focused on finding and attending events, bringing people together. The platform was to consist of native mobile apps on both iOS and Android, in order to be accessible to the majority of the mobile market.

The app was to take the idea of mutual liking between users, matching to chat, but having both users interested in attending an event or venue at a certain time - increasing the chances of meeting up in person. Chats were to expire shortly after both users had reached the location, or when the event is over, decreasing the amount of time spent talking via the app and forming a real connection instead.

Lean methodology and staged roll-out

Our step-by-step development process provided Outoo with the flexibility to evolve the app's feature-set, interface, and user experience over time based on valuable feedback from real users.

We initially launched Outoo exclusively on iOS, limited to the Worcester area, in order to gain initial feedback from users - helping to grow the app's feature-set tailored to fit the market based on user feedback. As users are central to the Outoo experience, it was important to focus on growing the app in specific targeted areas so as to overcome the classic 'chicken and egg' problem.

Delivering the mobile application

The finished mobile application is available on both iOS and Android, covering the vast majority of the mobile market. Users can sign in with Facebook, automatically setting up their Outoo account populated with their details and photos. Once signed in, users are able to search for events taking place in their current location or a chosen city, view event information, see who's attending, and mark themselves interested in going.

'Liking' a user sends them a chat request, notified via a push notification, which they must accept before a conversation can begin. Users can chat via instant messaging until the event ends, including photo messaging, after which the conversation expires. Users are notified if one of their matches physically arrives at the event location, where they can meet up. In-app purchases are available to re-activate expired chats, where the event has ended, granting users a second chance if they missed the opportunity.

“We’re unfamiliar with coding ourselves, and you hear horror stories about development projects. We’d recommend Codevate – over the past 12 months the level of trust and understanding we’ve built up is invaluable.”

“The team works with us to specify exactly what we want and helps us understand the process and the potential outcomes of each choice we make. They help us nail down the finer points, so everyone is working to clear benchmarks and knows what to expect. We have direct contact with the people working on our apps at all times, so we feel confident and have a lot of control over the product.”

Outoo – A social and events discovery app

The mobile application

Outoo is a social and events discovery platform, developed as a mobile application for iOS and Android.

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iOS and Android app features

  •   Send messages in real-time  
  •   Auto-expiry of match conversations after the event is over, or the users have both arrived  
  •   Picture messaging from Facebook photos or gallery  
  •   In-app purchases - premium subscriptions and one-off expired chat reactivation  
  •   Facebook integration - sign-in, events, photos  
  •   Push notifications - new messages, matches and arrivals  
  •   Deep link sharing - shareable event URLs that open in the app  

Cloud-based features

  •   Amazon Cloud-based infrastructure (AWS), comprising of a multi-server architecture with load balancing, for scalability, that can support tens of thousands of users
  •   Event management admin dashboard
  •   User and report management admin dashboard
  •   Automated backups of user and event data
  •   Push notification queueing
  •   Data scraping - content acquisition
  •   Analytics and statistics
  •   Email marketing

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Feature breakdown

Real-time chat Popular

Chat with matched users

Exchange messages and pictures with those users who are interested in attending the same events.

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In-app purchases

Premium membership subscription

One of the platform's revenue streams involves offering users the option to upgrade to a non-repeating premium subscription, unlocking advanced features.

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Facebook event sync

Auto-populate profiles with Facebook check-ins

To increase user-engagement, users' Facebook check-ins are automatically imported into Outoo.

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Data scraping

Automated content acquisition

As this is a data-driven platform, we created a module that automatically scrapes data from multiple online sources in order to deliver fresh content to the platform's user base.

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Push notifications

Instant message and match arrival alerts

Gentle reminders that aid the user journey by bringing users together, once they have matched or arrived at their mutual event.

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Facebook login Popular

Quick two click login with data import

Users can quickly create an account with no registration process to complete, increasing the likelihood of a successful sign-up. Logging in with Facebook allows us to import and pre-populate account data, such as name and age. Gathered email addresses can be used for marketing campaigns to increase user retention.

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Facebook profile import

Instantly begin with a pre-populated account

Instead of a multi-step registration, asking for many pieces of information from the user, we import Facebook data to automatically perform this task. Accounts come pre-populated with data such as name, age, gender, profile images, location check-ins, and so on.

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Deep link sharing

Share links to events that will open in the app

Users can share links to events that they are interested in with other users. For Outoo users, this will open up in the app. For non-Outoo users, the link will take them to download Outoo from the App Store or Play Store, increasing user acquisition.

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Admin panel Popular

Manage content in the app from the web

The admin panel allows the Outoo team to manage events shown in the app, see important user statistics, handle reports, broadcast push notifications, and so on.

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Email marketing

Building email lists for marketing campaigns

With MailChimp integration, the Outoo website is used to allow users to sign up for newsletters. The gathered emails are added to Outoo's mailing lists, which can be used to re-target users who have expressed interest.

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Location check-in

Check into locations

Search for events and locations near you, or in a city of your choosing, view event information and check-in. The majority of events are linked to Facebook events, allowing additional data to be drawn, such as attendees, opening times, and descriptions.

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Facebook image import

Browse your Facebook albums and select images

Outoo users can select profile images from their Facebook account, as well as being able to send them via instant messages. While adding convenience for users, and not having to use their data to upload images, utilising Facebook photos helps to significantly reduce moderation effort, as most inappropriate photos are removed by Facebook - allowing the app to scale using a smaller team.

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Cloud scaling

Multi server, cloud-based infrastructure

In order to meet the growing demand of an expanding student-centric user base, we implemented a robust software architecture that could meet the rising nationwide demand.

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Analytics Popular

Insight into user behaviour and marketing performance

Analytics helps us gain key insight surrounding popular locations, events and trends, as well as monitor SEO and marketing campaign performance.

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