Luvocracy iPhone App
Luvocracy was a social shopping site that allows users to recommend products they love and, in turn, buy products recommended by people they trust.
In early 2013, we also noticed an increase in the proportion of Luvocracy web traffic coming from mobile devices. A good chunk of that traffic was coming from iPhones, so we decided to create an iPhone app and start down a path of creating a suite of native mobile applications. However, we quickly realized that we didn’t have the bandwidth to design and build an iPhone app in a reasonable time frame while still meeting our commitments on the web side.
To achieve our goals in the timeframe we had in mind, we partnered with a firm that specializes in the design and development of mobile apps. With their additional resources, we were able to release an iPhone app in a matter of months.
My role began as project lead, but as the project went on, my role turned into more of a product manager and strategist.
The project began with a three-day workshop where representatives from the agency visited our office and holed up with three people on the Luvocracy team to work out the general functionality of the app. We started by identifying overall goals and scheduling for the app, which we planned to be very aggressive. To meet the schedule we had in mind, we had to be ruthless in cutting features that we didn’t feel were important. The final priority list was missing several features that we knew were important, but would have to wait until the next version. To conclude the workshop, we sketched out the key screens in the app and worked out the flows between them.
From there, the agency team took over and created a set of detailed wireframes that I reviewed, suggested improvements for, and ultimately approved. They then repeated the process for the visual designs. The agency’s talented team worked with us to extend brand on the Luvocracy website to work with iOS’s native elements so that the final result was a seamless combination of the Luvocracy and iOS brands.
Once the designs were finalized, the agency dug into the implementation of the app. Working in two-week sprints, they released a functional version of the app each sprint that I was able to review and file bugs against. In addition, I created a product launch checklist and working with the rest of the Luvocracy team to complete the items. This included delegating where needed: for example, working with the marketing team to write up a new set of copy and create Apple App Store collateral. Sometimes it required buckling down and getting things done myself since we didn’t have a product manager at the time: for example, writing up a detailed analytics requirement document specifying all of the actions and attributes that we wanted to track.
Despite the tight product process, the app was a huge success. The streamlined UI was addicting for our customers: users of the app had three times the engagement compared to users of the website. In addition, the app was featured by Apple in the App Store as the #1 app in the Lifestyle to showcase the new iOS 7 design language.