Product design & development case study
available only in the Romanian App Store

The challenge

You probably already know about solutions that help people find lost people, pets or other objects. You have to buy a token that sends the item’s position using GPS technology. If you lose something or someone you have the location on your phone. What if you weren’t prepared and didn’t buy a location tracker?

The solution

Gasitorii is the smarter Amber Alerts. It’s a mobile app that will help you find lost people or pets by using the power of smartphones and the local communities. We call these communities “Gasitori” (which means “Finders” in Romanian). Unlike other solutions, Gasitorii can help you even if you were not prepare to lose someone or your pet. It can help even if you didn’t buy a tracking token.

App icon design

The app icon is the very first visual element the user will take a look at. It helps to be very quick to generate an idea about what the app does. That’s why we chose this app icon design. It’s also important to be scalable to other app icon sizes, it needs to be unique and memorable.

UI & UX design

It is important while emergencies occur to make the experience for the user very straight-forward. We used simple UI elements, simple navigation, no distractions. Each screen has simple responsibilities in order to make the experience very intuitive and fast.

iOS app development

Coding was the most time consuming process. We made sure that we implement a good architecture. It makes the app more extendable, it produces less bugs and when bugs occur, it makes bug fixing easier. We went through two refactoring periods, because we wanted to make sure it’s going to become easier to develop the app in the future. We knew that we can’t afford launching quick and dirty. Even if the product won’t work from the start, we knew that we would listen to the users’ community, change the app and send another version as fast as possible.

What have we learned

  1. It’s better and cheaper to take more time and implement a good architecture from the beginning,
    than it is to write the app faster, with average architecture, which later you will have to refactor.
  2. It always helps to have the UI & UX design, or at least 90% of it ready, before starting to develop a feature.
  3. Relying on third parties is good in some cases, but when possible and it takes the same amount of time, write your own code.

Third party integrations

We chose to be quicker and, since we’re building an MVP app, we decided to use Firebase as a back-end solution. We made sure that the back-end related iOS code can be easily replaced later, if we decide to switch to a custom back-end solution. It would take one week, max, to switch to another backend solutions.

Facebook sign in

We wanted to make it easy for users to sign in. Almost everyone has a Facebook account. This way you can get to searching or post a lost person or pet faster.

Our reaction to using Facebook the SDK, nowadays, is

Initially, we opted to work with Batch in order to deliver our notifications, but we turned out to use OneSignal. The switch was done very easy, because of the good architecture design.

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