ThaiMatch focuses on helping user to select matches based on geolocation and interests
Since 2018, Hong Kong based Geekee Ltd. has been running a successful dating network in Thailand. Introducing the concept of online dating in the country and with the sole purpose of separating social media and dating activities of local people and tourists, ThaiMatch now hosts over 300k users on its platform and has become the single biggest source for all dating related activities in Thailand today.
On February 6th, 2019, Geekee Company's CEO Rob Boterkooper contacted GeekyAnts, following a path set by our work in the Flutter Hemisphere. He was looking for the best companies in Flutter and was dazzled by our portfolio. His mission was simple. A cross-platform mobile application for his already successful dating web-app, which required us to build the app right from the ground up, involving design, development and scaling to handle the number of users on the platform.
In the initial discussions, a scheme of 12 weeks was proposed to Rob which included designing, development, integration and testing of the application. These 12 weeks were then divided into two major phases, which were further broken down into 4, where each phase consisted of 1,4,5 & 7 milestones respectively. Constant communication with the client was a part of the deal which was delivered through Skype calls and emails. Also, some window was reserved for any express changes that were anticipated.
The project demanded the following requirements:
Being a successfully running business, it was important to bring this project to fruition with minimum disruption. Achieving this feat required a team with great expertise and knowledge to pull it off, and so a team of such caliber was gathered and deployed. ThaiMatch was assigned two expert developers, one QA engineer and one designer, all lead by Sarika, the tech architect and project manager and Megha, the Lead for UI/UX. The team was gathered and introduced to Rob Boterkooper who explained his requirements and expectations, which brought everyone on the same page and kicked off this project in all its glory.
It was time to get to work. The complete development of this project would include creating designs for the app, implementing them while developing front-end and finally integrating the pieces together and testing the complete product vigorously.
The complete development was divided into two major phases:
The original idea for ThaiMatch's look & feel was to be similar to the mobile version of the web app that existed, but the UI team had different ideas. They proposed an intensive design phase which would bring about an original look to the mobile app, which would keep the originality of ThaiMatch intact but also give it a new spark. Preceding the first phase of development, 2 weeks were spent on designing a fresh look for the app. The team built 40 screens for the mobile app from scratch accompanied by a detailed documentation that explained functionalities and descriptions of each screen in these two weeks and after the approval of the client, the screens were handed over to the development team to commence Phase 1.
Phase 1 directed the development of the UI designs into functional app screens. Flutter was the choice of technology for the app and its numerous benefits made it the perfect choice. The expertise of the developers on mission led to the creation of the screen designs in a span of two weeks.
Phase 2 was initiated immediately after successful completion of the first phase. The screens were ready to be integrated with the existing backend to transform it into a fully functional application. Flutter was used in conjunction with Firebase to facilitate effective and reliable development of the app. The API's that were already put in place for the website were used to connect screens with the backend and fetch data into the app. The app inculcated a Tinder like card swipe animation with stacked pagination.
Although, there were some Mobile specific changes that were made to the API's such as:
social authentication functions as well a payment gateway.
Some business rules were also changed to allow implementation of conditional & interdependent filters, allowing non-premium male users to send message only in 8 minutes duration and other enhanced features.
The complete app also featured context based push notifications, filters based on gender, preferences and country, chat and match mechanisms for users and a paywall based on company rules.
Post development, the product was put through multiple levels of rigorous manual testing to reinstate confidence in every function of the app and sort out bugs that needed to be fixed. The product was also put through an intense User Acceptance Testing phase where the end-user tested the product upto satisfaction and reported any discrepancies, if found which were fixed in the following updates.
Obstacles while developing the perfect app are almost impossible to dodge and they are very welcome challenges that help the product reach its peak. The biggest challenge that ThaiMatch faced was its app performance. Such an app uses a lot of visuals to appear pleasing and serve a majority of its tasks and it affects the user experience greatly, which is not acceptable. Hence, jump over this wall, our pogo stick came in the form of a cache manager. A cache manager was programmed to clear extra cache after certain limits (based on context and sections of the app) that would in-turn keep the user experience smooth and the OS healthy as well. Due to some specific requirements, we also had to modify certain open-source packages to meet those needs towards the last stages of development.
With the success of ThaiMatch as a web app, it was imperative that the app takes over the platform with equal intensity on handheld devices. The pressure was high and the app delivered. According to Rob, the app manager to rake in over a 1000 downloads within the first days of the app release without any marketing. He was extremely happy with how the app turned out and the readiness of it for the market and he was exhilarated by our help to bring his pet platform to mobile. Now, ThaiMatch is able to reach a wider market with its mobile application, promoting the benefits of the platform and the ease of handheld devices. Another happy consumer, another gold star on our shirt.