At times as a developer I’d wander off to coffee shops for the free wifi. This idea had started out with one of my coffee shop trips. I often frequented such places in order to meet new people, build a network of friends and learn more about people and their culture. I would frequent between the Cafe Coffee Day or Starbucks joint located in Colaba in Mumbai. Breaking ice and making conversation with people was fun and there was a lot of learning involved with each of these experiences. However, it wasn't everyday that I would find people who wanted to engage in a conversation, so it would just be the two of us, my coffee and me. That is when this thought of this concept came up, going dutch with people on the internet. There are so many people out there who want to go out for coffee or a meal, but do not find people to go out with. So GoDutch would be a platform where people meet, network and share memories with new and exciting people around them.
What it does
The app allows you to find an event around you or host one yourself. People can join these events and have a good time. Out USP users are encouraged to host an event which is in the vicinity of the coming few hours or on the following day.
How we built it
Prior to any form of development, multiple wireframes were built. The ones that seemed the best was finally decided upon. The backend was simultaneously built with the application. The MVP was ready in a few weeks using mock JSON data while using the APIs later.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge while developing the app was to ensure that the users have a simple and clear interface. The application had to be very intuitive, otherwise that would lead to drop out of users. The design was iterated about five times before making it as intuitive as and as accessible as it is. We took inspiration from the Apple Maps application.
Also, another challenge we faced (and resolved) was to reduce the massive latency involved whenever real-time middlewares were called in the backend along with the DB operations.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The completion of the app is the biggest and by far the most that we have accomplished as of yet. It was pretty good to see something that we thought of to come to fruition. A beautiful side to this app is that the user's interaction requirement is as minimal as it could be. To join an event, all that is needed is the tap of a button. To keep the fellow Dutchers upto date with the event related activities, there are dynamic statuses on the touch of a button. Tapping this gives an update to all the Dutchers who would be interested in attending the event. E.g. "I will be there in 10 minutes." Some statuses allow the user to enter some text, e.g. "I have reached". The user can enter upto 30 characters stating "At table number 21" or "Blue striped polo, 1st floor".
What we learned
People want to meet new people everyday, which in reality is tougher than it seems. On developing this application, I had the opportunity to travel and meet people at conferences and seminars. This idea was discussed with people from all walks of life. The amount feedback we received was very insightful.
What's next for Go Dutch
Well, to be honest a lot more is to come and has to be done, because a good application is one which continuously improving for its users.
The first thing that we have planned on our timeline is to make a beautiful on-boarding for our user where the user can explore the application without having to have sign up. The user would only sign up when they want to join an event.
Secondly, we would like to maintain the current app structure while making it more personalised for the users, meaning, event recommendations for every user individually. Making a personalised and secure application is our priority, cause the user always comes first.