CRABster: From Paper to Screen

It’s been more than a month since CRABster team (@jmasvoulas , @zigenculten and @giuliapunktv ) started actively working on the mobile application. And now we finally can say that the beta-version of our application is ready to be presented! Interestingly, as we wrote before, our original idea and core concept have not changed for the last month, and thus, it might be interesting to see how our abstract thoughts got materialized in the actual application.

Despite the fact that our service is up and running, there are still some parts of our application that need polishing. Thus, the purpose of this article is to  share with our readers our progress as well as our challenges and shortcomings. So let’s start!

Design: colors

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Log In page of CRABster

We named our project CRABster and logically chose a crab as a mascot. Moreover, the second part of the name comes from “hipster”, thus our mascot crab is hipsterish. The choice of the name and the mascot determined the colors we used for our application – red, yellow, orange, white and purple. Red is definitely a dominant color, There are several reasons behind our decision to make red the main color of our application. On the one hand it corresponds with the color of our mascot. On the other hand  red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, strength, power, determination as well as passion and desire. Indeed, our target audience are young people, living vibrant lifestyle and passionate about board gaming, role-playing and comics. Thus, the choice of colors was also motivated by the audiences we are planning to attract. In addition, red is a very bright color which we believe will make our application stand out.

Design: tools

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User profile

With regard to the tools and features, we deliberately minimized the number of buttons, thus simplifying the interface and making it easier for users to navigate in the app. Tab bar, for instance, has only four buttons (home, search, add and profile), the header of each page has our logo, name and settings button. Moreover, to make it clear and easy for users we used internationally recognized symbols (like “≡” for settings) and named each button in tab bar.

A minimalist design was accepted as a main feature of our application regarding each page. Profile, for example, has a necessary minimum of information, including gender (optional), city and country, section “about me”, and honors – reviews and badges. How simple is that?! Yet, we do believe this is sufficient for our users, as the presented information fully satisfies the need of this community. Indeed, if someone wants more information, why not just friend each other in the other network, like Facebook or Instagram? The purpose of our service is bringing people together on the basis of their shared interests, and we think the minimum information required definitely helps to reach this goal.

Small features

Although many users do not even notice small features, like “contact us” or “terms and conditions”, CRABster team believes that providing all the possible help and assistance, as well as informing our users about their rights and responsibilities is a matter of great importance.

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Settings of the application

When it comes to “contact us” tool, the users will be redirected to our blog on WordPress, which we deliberately started as a guideline for our users. Moreover, we are planning to use this blog for marketing purposes, informing users about new features and promoting our application. Thus, we did not see any need in establishing “contact us” section in the app itself since redirecting to the CRABster blog will serve so many different purposes simultaneously.

With regard to the terms and conditions, we believe that this is a necessary feature for our application for a number of reasons. First, being legally protected is important for both users and CRABster team. Secondly, knowing one’s rights and responsibilities is required by some users, and thus, accepting the policy of satisfying our customers on the most possible level, the need in this section is more than obvious.

Business Model of the Application

As we covered in detail in our first post, every application has some costs. Hence, we hope that through the implementation of a successful business model  we are planning not only to minimize these costs but also earn some money. Our plan is as follows:

In the beginning the service will be completely ad-free and free of charge, since we want to attract users and not scare them away. In addition,  as a way to attract even more users we will come in negotiations with shop owners, who sell products of interest for our user base, in order to promote our service. We don’t think we will have any problems with these negotiations, since the owners will be interested in our application as a way of promoting their shops. In addition, this first collaboration with the shop owner will provide the grounds for future money-based partnerships.

After we manage to gather a stable user base we will proceed to the next phase of our business plan. This phase will include  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).

Flaws and challenges

We never claimed to be professional silicon-valley-level programmers, and thus we faced a number of challenges we did not manage to cope with yet. Firstly, geo-tagging and map functions, being a desirable feature for CRABster team, is still questionable from the implementation point of view. For the time being the user can only see the shops that are near him. Secondly, the clickability of some features, such as badges, events near me, password change and photos is also doubtful, mostly because of the lack of time and programming skills. For the same reason we decided not to add a profile photo to the profile section. Nevertheless, we do believe that these minor shortcomings are unlikely to spoil the entire picture and cause negative references from the testing users. Moreover, it is in our future plans to continue working on the application and fix this minor problems.

Perspectives

Given that we have a running and ready-to-use application, the next logical step is to expose it to testing among our friends and acquaintances. We will dedicate our next blog post to the results of our tests, regardless of whether the responses will be negative or positive. All in all, see you soon!

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