Networking Mobile Apps for a Fashion Media Company
- Networking mobile apps for the fashion industry
- A web platform functional upgrade
- UX/UI audit and usability improvement
- Functional and beta testing of mobile apps
Iflexion developed iOS and Android mobile apps to complement the customer’s existing networking platform for the fashion industry and upgraded the web app’s functionality, helping the customer extend target audience reach and increase user satisfaction.
The customer is a recognized fashion media company with over 20 years of experience in the industry. They have a networking and news platform that promotes the discovery of new talent and connects artists, models, PR agencies, photographers, studios, production companies, and other fashion professionals.
The platform enables agencies and individuals to create profiles, detailing their experience and uploading portfolio, easily reach out to each other, and discuss collaboration opportunities. This networking platform also provides a comprehensive city-by-city directory of modeling companies, actors/talent agencies, and models, thus simplifying the search for a suitable contact. At the moment, the platform lists 25,000+ models and artists, 3,000+ brands, and 600+ modeling agencies, with 1.5+ million monthly visitors.
Apart from facilitating social networking, the platform publishes daily fashion news, articles, interviews, and rankings to help fashion professionals stay up to date on the industry’s latest trends.
To improve the service quality and reach out to a wider audience, the company decided to supplement their web platform with native iOS and Android applications. They turned to Iflexion upon the recommendation from our previous client and, considering our proven expertise in developing mobile apps and social networking software, chose us for this project.
The customer had already had mockups for mobile apps, so before proceeding to development, our team conducted a UX/UI audit of both the mockups and the web platform. Drawing on the results, we came up with a set of recommendations on upgrading the platform’s and the future apps’ usability, such as:
- Optimizing the screen layout and buttons placement in the Search and Account tabs
- Decluttering the registration form by removing unnecessary information and fields
- Adding paid plan selection to the signup form to inform users about the platform’s premium features
- Removing superfluous yet unskippable steps from the user onboarding process
- Unifying button typography across the apps
- Increasing the font size and contrast in the login form to highlight primary buttons
Mobile Apps Development
Built by Iflexion’s mobile developers with React Native, the iOS and Android mobile apps support the core functionality of the web platform (except for user registration, password reset, and several other features available in the web version only) and replicate its design.
The delivered iOS and Android mobile apps offer users the following capabilities:
- Search for models, photographers, agencies, and other fashion industry professionals in the common database
- An advanced search system with such filters as Ethnicity, Rank, Location, Gender, Represented by Agency Only, New People Only (pages created in the last 12 months), and Active People Only (updates in the last 12 months)
- Account management, allowing users to edit profile information, settings, and membership level
- Creation of public or private lists of models’ and photographers’ profiles
- The news feed with the latest projects of the listed artists
- Navigation through the news, articles, public user lists, and latest brand advertising campaigns
Through the WebView component, the apps display content depending on its volume. If a page contains much information, like model or agency profiles, articles, or fashion events pages, it opens in a web view. The user can continue viewing the content in the app or open it in the browser by clicking the corresponding icon. However, when the volume of information is moderate, the page is displayed directly in the app. This arrangement helped us save time on the design, development, and API creation for custom components.
The Functional Upgrade of the Web App
Apart from developing mobile apps, the customer also sought Iflexion’s assistance with feature-level enhancements of their React-based web platform. Our team consulted the customer on the best ways to upgrade the solution and carried out the following development tasks:
- Developing the product page
- Designing the UI for the direct messaging feature
- Improving and optimizing API calls
- Refining the UI for the Lists tab
- Creating the Drag & Drop logic for the list editing feature
- Adding the “Allow list to be featured by the platform” switch for public lists and implementing the API for it
Our team built iOS and Android apps using React Native. We chose this cross-platform framework because it allowed us to simultaneously develop iOS and Android apps and their UIs. Apart from this, the customer initially planned to apply code sharing between the web and mobile projects and reuse their React.js code for newly developed features. However, after analyzing the apps’ repository and project requirements, we mutually decided against code sharing. The web solution’s code was largely platform-dependent and web-oriented, so we only used around 10-15% of it and built the mobile apps mostly from scratch.
We relied on the NativeBase framework to promptly prototype and create cross-platform UI components for mobile apps.
To retrieve information from the common database, mobile apps rely on the REST API created by the customer.
We utilized the TestFlight (iOS) and Google Play Console (Android) services to distribute test builds and conduct beta testing with end-users selected by the customer. These tools also helped us verify the apps’ compliance with the App Store and Google Play requirements throughout the development.
Since Iflexion’s and customer’s teams worked together on the web application, we suggested using the Airbnb ESLint source code analysis tool to ensure both of our teams stick to the same code style.
Iflexion’s team consisted of a project manager and software developers who were responsible for building the mobile applications and the web platform functionality enhancements as well as manual functional testing of the apps on emulators and iOS and Android devices.
The customer’s team included the company’s president and editor-in-chief, technical director, and UI designer/creative manager. The president and editor-in-chief assumed the role of Product Owner and formulated the project requirements. The technical director was responsible for ensuring the apps’ interaction with the database via an API. The UI designer/creative manager was in charge of the UI design and provided our team with mockups for the apps.
Due to the varying frequency and scope of the product requirements, we chose the Kanban methodology with periodic delivery of updates (approximately once a month) in the form of a ready-to-test app build along with the source code. Based on the build testing results, the customer provided their feedback, including any detected bugs and improvement ideas.
In 20 months, Iflexion developed and implemented iOS and Android mobile applications to supplement the customer’s fashion networking web platform and upgraded the web app’s functionality.
The delivered solutions allowed the customer to notably extend their audience reach with the apps installed 100,000+ times since the release, and improved user satisfaction by providing on-the-go access to all the features of the web platform.
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