Designing an application is surely not an easy task. Especially if you take into consideration how many people have tried in the past to design the next best thing, only to have it crashed and burned during the process. When we were asked to design, implement and test a mobile application, feeling of confusion came over our group -@zigenculten, @jmasvoulas and @giuliapunktv. What should we design ? Will it be successful ? What about the name? So many questions, each accompanied by a multitude of answers.
Our first step was to find a problem that we could potentially solve with our application. Next, we took into account our individual backgrounds and tried to find a common problem that we all had faced in the past, and perhaps still facing. We are all international students in Uppsala and thus have many mutual inconveniences which can be potentially simplified or eliminated.
When we moved to Sweden, we all had zero knowledge of the language, had no friends and our means of socialization and participation in some interesting events were limited. Moreover, being interested in the so-called nerdy activities such as board gaming and comics, we found a small number of places to gratify our needs. But, where there is a problem there should be a solution! Hence, we decided to create a service that would simplify our lives and help people who have similar interests as we do, find relevant information and organize activities.
The three pillars
The general purpose of our service is to bring together people interested in comics, LARP/RPG and board gaming and give them access to a number of features which would be discussed further. Thus the possible target group will include people with relevant interests.
We decided that our service should be based on three main pillars. Firstly, it has to be an informative service, where people can get updates regarding relevant events, exhibitions and meetups. Secondly, since it is a social media service, our application should be focusing on bringing people together and providing them with means of communication with people of similar interests. Moreover, the service will allow users to give feedback and write reviews, hence contributing to the improvement of the application with their knowledge. And thirdly, our service will provide users with the opportunity to arrange events as well as participate in those which were arranged by someone else. Hence, the problem of newbies to find company in order to play board games or have a LARP event will be tackled!
How should such service start? With registration of course! Registration process is not supposed to be complicated and time-consuming. We are aiming at attracting users, not discouraging them to use our service because they need to spend 10 minutes to register! Hence, only nickname and password will be mandatory. We are not planning to ask users to provide their email address for confirmation, however this option will exist for those who want to fill in this field.
To gratify the needs of our users we will have a number of tools and features which we believe to be sufficient for the service of such kind. Comment tool, rating system, geo-tagging, search, profile pages with badges and rankings, registration – all of these are the necessary features for this service. Shop locators and reviews are meant to be a special tool of our service. It is noteworthy that we are not planning to limit our users anyhow when it comes to geography. Moreover, we are aiming at expansion of our service and thus users contributing with their reviews regarding shops in different parts of the country and the world will get extra points and badges.
How will it be financed?
Of course a project like this implies some costs, which in the long run we would love to see covered by the project itself. At the very beginning, the service should be completely ads-free and free of charge, since in this phase it is crucial to attract a substantial number of users. In addition, to further boost the onboarding process we will negotiate with the owners of shops who sell relevant goods to promote our service by giving to the customers our contact information. Besides, these first collaborations could also provide the grounds for future money-based partnerships.
Later, in case the service is successful and manages to gain popularity we are planning to introduce three main sources of income: advertisement, partnership with shops (special deals for our users in return for publicity for the shops), and a freemium model (i.e. a set of extra features available only to paying users).
Why do we think the idea will be successful? Well, there is a bunch of reasons. To begin with, the service will conveniently provide all the necessary information in one place. There will not be any need to search on Facebook groups or special forums for some news or arrangements. Moreover, newbies will get the opportunity to find other people who share their interests and are ready to participate in different activities. And lastly, the feedback provided by users will help guide others in the realm of LARP/RPG, comics, and board games shops and activities.
With regard to the motivation of users to keep using this service, we have a number of stimulating features which keep people interested in the service. Badges, points and ratings for reviews and frequency of app usage – these are the motivating factors which in our opinion will be interesting for our users. Moreover, the more users will contribute to the service, the more features they will be able to use – for example get invitations to certain events or be encouraged in some other ways.
To sum up, there is clearly a demand for convenient, easy-to-use, and instantly updating service among people who are passionate or curious about comics, RPG/LARP, and board games. Thus, we believe that an application filling this gap is meant to be popular.