The task
One day, our customer was shopping for toys for his son on the Web and realized that it was very inconvenient to make purchases from a mobile phone. He wanted to create an app that would let the user take a picture of the product, send the screenshot to the manager in the chat and let the purchase be handled for him. The customer found us through 7bits, a company they worked with together on various Java-based projects.

Prototyping stage

Prototype

First of all, we developed a prototype to demonstrate the planned app’s features.

The prototype allowed us to immediately begin working on the details concerning the app’s features and UX. The customer left their comments on the prototype’s screenshots (courtesy of the Marvelapp service).

Extension
When discussing the prototype, we offered the customer to make an extension for the app to make shopping through the standard Safari browser easier.


In fact, at the early stage of development the app included tutorial slides that showed how to use the extension, but the customer rejected the slides and decided to focus the user's attention on the internal browser. However, the extension feature was left intact.
Product tracking by links
It was clear from the prototyping stage that tracking products using only images would be difficult, especially as similar photographs could be present on different websites. As a result, we offered the customer to attach links to the webpages from which the screenshots would be taken. This way, even if the ordering process would eventually be fully automated, the screenshots could help the user navigate their purchase history.

Design

Interactive Build

It reflected the app's visual concept — the color scheme was applied to the screens and the FastBuy icon and interface elements were made.

Icon
The idea of a shopping bag with a lightning pictogram came to us immediately. It was a strikingly appropriate logo for the name FastBuy, and the customer was very satisfied with the result.
Standing on ground
In some cases we considered the customer's vision to be questionable and provided well-reasoned arguments for the approach we considered the best.
The round button with the FastBuy icon is located in the center of the app's lower panel with the Orders and Account sections to its left and right. The button looks cool and catchy, enticing to use the app for its primary purpose – finding products and placing orders – while creating symmetry. The customer strongly insisted on implementing the Invites section in the same panel, but the fourth tab would have ruined everything by breaking the symmetry and leaving no place for the button's distinct shape, obscuring the main feature of the app.

Roman Beliaev
Designer
In-house testing and bugs
To make sure that the app's idea was viable, the customer performed an in-house testing among his friends who helped bring out its problems and shortcomings. In the meantime, we encountered and resolved several bugs on our own. For instance, sometimes only the FastBuy logo would be displayed instead of the lower panel.

Development

Chat

While the automated system carries out the payment, the order can be discussed in detail with the manager in chat. We chose the Layer component for the chat because it's an easily integrated, economically sound solution that provides all necessary features and doesn't put the customer at a risk of having unpredictable results.

In the future, order handling will be as automated as possible and the manager will become a support service member.

Ordering button
The webpage containing the product is identified by the internal browser automatically by keywords like "Buy now" or "Add to basket". The active "Place this order" button is light blue while the inactive one has a fainter color.
Security system
The pay card data is not stored on the server but is kept encrypted on the user's phone instead.

The four-digit PIN code is necessary for order placement. This security measure was implemented so that an unauthorized person wouldn't be able to place an order from the user's phone (for example, in case of theft).

The data is sent encrypted to the server as well.
Outside apps
Let's imagine you Googled a product and followed the link to an amazon.com page. Amazon, as well as any other online store, has its own app that is opened when you click the link to the product's webpage. This doesn't allow FastBuy to work as intended, so we didn't want the stores' apps to open up when clicking the links. In the end, we adopted the following scenario: if the internal browser tries to open the, let's say, amazon.com app, the code blocks the app and opens the page via FastBuy.
Daniil Pendikov
iOS-developer
Invites
The app still operates in test mode, so the workload has to be controlled. Invite-based registration turned out to be an appropriate solution for keeping the workload manageable, with the added bonus of boosting user loyalty by making users feel entitled.
Client`s feedback
Live typing is very responsive and very flexible in changing things in last minute. As a startup we need that flexibility. It is definitely a partner you can have in your team!
Mahesh Varavooru
FastBuy founder & CEO
Release
FastBuy was approved by the App Store moderators from the first try. For this to happen, the customer registered an ERN (Encryption Registration Number) for his company that certifies that the app uses encryption that is safe for the user. The app was sent to the App Store with the ERN attached so that the moderators would be made sure that the app is sufficiently secure. Every time the app is updated in the App Store, they ask if the encryption number was updated as well, and request the new ERN if the answer is yes.
Prospects
The start-up is now at the closed beta stage. The client has already received the first reviews from the users and plans to introduce a whole range of new screens and features, one of which will be product search by user-defined price range. There is also room for improvement in terms of user interface (a more minimalistic design, for instance) and automatic order handling. The app will also be uploaded to Product Hunt to collect feedback and attract the attention of investors and general public.
Account & project manager
Irina Mesheryakova
Дизайнер
Roman Belyaev
iOS developer
Daniil Pendikov