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Case Study, Ecommerce, Mobile App, UI/UX Design

Case Study: Building Helpkin to Help Parents Find Trusted Babysitters

Helpkin App

Helpkin takes a unique approach to service sharing between parents.  The main idea of Helpkin is to get and give help from and to the people you trust most (this is actually where the name comes from — “help” + “kin”). Helpkin was designed for the busy mom and dad of fur babies or children who wanted to reclaim date night.

Shar Ghoudsifar reached out to us to build an Android and iOS app to make this possible. For the next few months we redesigned and developed both versions in React Native. The app is now already used by parents, babysitters, and pet sitters. 

  • Duration:
    November 2017 – Present
  • Platform:
    iOS, Android
  • Technology Stack:
    React Native, Firebase 

Project Management

Some projects are agile, but this one was agile.  We had to work within an existing design team that had a strong vision for the branding, make sure previous designs were respected to minimize rework, integrate ongoing customer feedback that would potentially change our product direction (sometimes dramatically), while shooting down features that would incur excessive cost or scope creep.  

Truly agile development made designing and developing Helpkin an ongoing challenge, but it also made it a huge growth experience which stretched our team of creatives into more adept product managers each capable of balancing the demands of a fast-paced early-stage startup.  

UI/UX Redesign

We wanted to create something that was light, not visually overwhelming, playful with splashes of color that were mainly used for the call to action (CTA). There was a lot of information for the user to process throughout the app, so it was really important that we had adequate white space to really let each screen “breathe” as the user navigates visually down the screen.

Onboarding was lengthier due to the need to gather enough information to build trust, so we broke it up into sections and really tried to keep it fun, not only with the verbiage but also with simple illustrations or graphics of the app to help guide users through each section.

Designing Shared Availability was probably our biggest challenge. There was a lot of information that needed to be conveyed all at once. We needed to display multiple dates and the availability of the user as well as their trusted friends.

We started with something very complex and broke it down to be easy to digest both visually and functionally. We simplified the information where we could to help the user focus on one complete task at a time. 

Development Work

Once design was finished, we attacked development with 80-hour weeks to hit an aggressive launch deadline. Shar wanted to launch the app into iOS and Android stores from the get-go, so we opted to write the mobile app in React Native. On the backend, we used google’s Firebase platform due to the benefits of real-time updates, minimal backend development costs, and minimal scaling costs.

We created a separate browser-based admin panel using the Laravel framework. To streamline user messaging for the MVP, so we integrated Twilio for texting and calling other users.  We synced the app with users’ external calendars (google calendar) so that the in-app calendar would be treated as the single source of one’s availability. We added Inapptics for user analytics and crash detection.

We started full-time development in May and finished the meat of development by August, at which point we switched to QA testing, beta testing, and bug fixes.  We successfully launched the MVP in October of 2018.

IN THE END…

In the end, we turned the idea of Helpkin into a meaningful mobile app where users can easily navigate between the different functionalities of the app and start trading their time with trusted friends.  Currently, the beta is being launched in Los Angeles and Orange County residents to test out Helpkin with their existing social networks, but soon we’re launching the feature to meet more Helpkin users based on distance and location.  

The response from users tells us we’re building a solution that fills a need, as both versions currently have a 4+ star rating in the app store.  

Topflight Apps develops web and mobile software for healthcare and ecommerce. Get in touch today and let’s discuss your project.