A mobile social gaming app for filming and sharing videos
The client managed to timely showcase an MVP to investors and raise $1.5 million. In 2 years, the solution with a minimum set of features has evolved into a fully-fledged product with rich functionality.
A social network application for video sharing became the product of the day on Product Hunt.
The startup improved and standardized internal mobile development workflows, this way increasing velocity by 1.5–2x. Now, the feature release cycle takes 2 weeks instead of 3–4 weeks. Many inefficiencies were also identified and fixed. For instance, the company automated the build process, which allowed the client to save 60% of time on it further.
“I’m excited about our cooperation with Aligned Code. The decision to turn to them was absolutely right and surpassed our expectations. The team demonstrated extensive expertise at every project step and provided valuable recommendations throughout it. Thanks to our partnership, we managed to not only deliver a quality social video gaming app but save time and resources.”
CEO at a Cyprus-based technology startup.
About the project
A technology startup came to Aligned Code to create a social video-sharing platform, standardize mobile development processes, and reduce the feature release cycle.
Founded in 2020, the client is a technology startup operating in the health and fitness industry. Established in Cyprus, the company delivers mobile apps for building good habits, motivating users, and living a healthy lifestyle. The startup’s mission is to make people's lives better and happier.
Having digital products in the health and fitness industry, the startup was looking for new, innovative ways to reach out to a wider audience, make people’s lives happier, and generate profit. After doing market research, the company discovered that social networks were on the rise, along with entertainment apps. That was also the time when TikTok was on the hype.
During a brainstorming session, an idea to bring a more gamified user experience to the social media world came to the founder’s mind. The client decided to build a mobile gaming app for iOS and Android that would allow users to watch funny engaging content and film real-life actions in short videos. With the view to demonstrate the outcome to investors, the company began creating an MVP.
Soon, the startup realized the engineers would not be able to deliver the application in time because of tight deadlines. On top of that, the team didn’t have sufficient expertise to provide well-established processes, resulting in lower product quality (e.g., performance issues, lower scalability) and missed due dates.
In this context, the client wanted to find a reliable mobile app development partner. There were three primary objectives:
- Help the company improve the existing solution and introduce new functionality.
- Integrate best software engineering practices into the workflow.
- Reduce the feature release cycle, since 3–4 weeks was too long.
One of the founders had already worked with us on another project. Knowing Aligned Code as a trusted IT service vendor with vast experience in building mobile applications and, particularly, MVPs, he recommended us to others.
We began by collecting project specifications and analyzing the company’s product. Then, our software experts delved into the established development processes to identify inefficiencies, increase velocity, and stabilize the delivery process.
Our software engineers:
- Standardized the interaction between product and development teams to prevent unexpected requirements changes, for example, when the client asked to build a new feature in the middle of the sprint. Since then, every sprint was planned and only production bug fixes could be added to the current iteration.
- Integrated Jira with GitLab version control system. Thanks to this, task statuses are automatically updated in real time when programmers are working on them in GitLab. This helped the startup monitor project progress easier.
- Automated the build process, saving 60% of time for the development team.
- Introduced code review and prepared a guideline that the client’s engineers were to follow when writing code. This allowed the company to improve code quality.
- Formalized and automated the process of updating dependencies. Previously, dependencies were not rolled out on a regular basis. Hence, in order to implement a feature, developers had to update the library first.
As a result, we reduced the feature release cycle by 1.5–2x. Now, it lasts 2 weeks.
The challenges we solved
- Initially, videos were stored on the server manually. However, maintaining data storage would be impossible with the growing amount of video content. Additionally, as the company used its own solution for video processing, the mobile app had performance issues. Meanwhile, high feed performance (fast contend loading, the lack of glitches, etc.) was crucial to ensuring a smooth user experience.
To improve performance and provide scalable data storage, our engineers decided to move to the cloud. After analyzing performance issues and the existing solution, our team researched a range of tools that would potentially address client goals.
Finally, we chose Cloudinary, since this SaaS service enables businesses to store in and upload media content to the cloud. The tool also allows for managing, manipulating, and delivering images and videos to apps and websites. In order to prevent risks and save costs, we began by creating a proof-of-concept with Cloudinary, then tested it and estimated the outcomes.
As a consequence, the feed performance was improved by nearly 2x. Furthermore, we were able to enhance the user experience and achieve storage scalability. Employing Cloudinary, our developers resolved encoding problems, too. This way, we migrated the entire video management (including processing) to Cloudinary.
- The client had a data fetching problem when navigating between pages in the software product. Since the startup did not use a caching solution, the data had to be loaded every time the user switched between app screens. Displaying the latest data required a lot of resources, so users had to wait until the content loaded. This could disrupt the user experience and lead to negative feedback.
Our mobile app developers used the React Query data-fetching library to tweak intelligent caching, making it possible to prefetch content and store it in the cache. Using React Query, we also provided smooth fetching, synchronization, and server state updates.
- To acquire visitors and boost retention, it was important to develop an intuitive and appealing user flow. The company’s team had a lot of ideas on how to implement it, so identifying the best way without the risks to further rebuild the functionality was a priority.
Our experts suggested performing A/B testing to test various ideas and discover what users would enjoy the most. As long as this approach proved successful, A/B tests were later created to conduct experiments and perform soft releases.
- At the beginning, the client used manual quality control only. Although this was enough at first, soon it became clear that another approach was needed: as the product was evolving, a number of regressions was introduced with every release.
In order to solve the problem, our QA engineers advised carrying out automated testing for the common user flows. Then, we configured automated tests and covered all the necessary scenarios with them. The testsuite was executed with every release version.
During the project, we communicated with the client’s team daily to make sure we were on the same wave. Our project manager and startup’s product manager met monthly to discuss progress, share feedback, and resolve the necessary issues.
Our team delivered a social network application (iOS, Android) for creating and sharing entertaining videos that has the following functionality:
- Onboarding flow
- Gamified mechanics of video content creation
- Friends news feed
- Personalized “for you” feed
- Notifications center
- Video liking and sharing
- User profile
- Participation in games (challenges/videos posted by other users)
a project manager, 2 frontend developers, a backend developer, a QA automation engineer.
a frontend developer, a backend developer, a product manager, a CEO.
TypeScript, React Native, React, React Query, Redux, styled-components.
PHP, Firebase, MySQL.
Amplitude, Sentry, Cloudinary, Stream.
Collaborating with Aligned Code, the startup was able to timely showcase the MVP to investors and raise $1.5 million. Furthermore, a social gaming application for video sharing became the product of the day on Product Hunt.
The client managed to improve and standardize internal mobile development workflows, increasing velocity by 1.5–2x. Now, the feature release cycle takes 2 weeks instead of 3–4 ones. Many inefficiencies were also fixed. For example, the company automated the build process, which allowed for saving 60% of time later on.