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TimeHeroes: Native Android and iOS Apps

TimeHeroes is a volunteering platform. To make it more accessible to volunteers, Melon developed native iOS and Android applications integrating the core functionalities of their website. The apps are user-friendly and intuitive. This is one of our favourite pro bono projects.

project type

Mobile, UI/UX

client

TimeHeroes

engagement model

Pro Bono

release date

August 2017

technology

Android, iOS, Sketch, Zeplin

 

The Client

TimeHeroes connects people or organizations that need help with volunteers ready to devote their time to different initiatives like teaching children in need, cleaning parks, recording an audio book for visually impaired people and many more. So far TimeHeroes has 1,370 missions in 165 places throughout Bulgaria and over 37,000 registered users.

We’ve known and appreciated their activities for years, so we approached TimeHeroes offering them to develop an iOS and Android applications complementing their web-based platform. The client is easy-going, nice and open to our ideas and consultancy. Together, as one team, we made the decisions about the apps’ functionalities and usability.

The Applications

The apps replicate the most frequently used functionalities of the website like a list of the missions, information about them, reading and writing comments and joining a mission. The users can also filter through the application. They can choose missions by location, duration, type and age.

UX/UI

Our aim was to create an intuitive app for both platforms, thus creating two designs for iOS and Android.
For example, Android devices have physical back buttons, while iPhones don’t. Therefore, there needs to be a way for iOS users to go back to the previous screen.

Another difference is the navigation. The primary navigation pattern of iOS is a tab bar, which is located at the bottom of the screen. Usually, for Android it is a drawer menu, however, we decided to use a new component – the bottom navigation bar.

The way users can add comments is also different for the two platforms.

Challenges

One of the challenges was the coordination with the server support team because of the different time schedules.

However, the biggest one was the implementation of two new technologies – data binding and reactive programming. Data binding is a web-based concept that was just recently adopted in Android and this project was a great opportunity for our mobile team to learn how to use it. Data binding creates a link between the UI components and the data within the code. Every time the data changes, the UI is automatically updated by design. This technology eliminates the need to write repetitive code and allows the developer to concentrate on the problem-solving.

...

Reactive programming, for both the iOS and Android application, is completely different ideology from what we are used to. Usually, developers work with variables which have a constant value. However, Reactive is using asynchronous data streams. The advantage is that anything can be a stream (variables, user inputs, properties, etc.) and coders are given a toolbox of functions to manipulate those streams with (combine, create, filter, etc.). This is a big step because this concept offers a new perspective on solving modern programming problems. It is especially useful for large-scale projects or projects involving real-time data.

Testimonial

Melon created iOS and Android apps for TimeHeroes, integrating the core functionalities of our web-based platform in a simple and easy to use interface. Working with them was a very pleasant and stress-free experience - from their strict following of deadlines, to the way the development process was managed impeccably, to delivering the final product exactly following the initial specifications. I would gladly recommend them as an IT partner and work with them again.
Pavel Kounchev,
Managing Director
TimeHeroes