UMAD

UMAD

UMAD

Regulary refreshing collection of memes, gifs and just funny pictures from internet. You can use them in such messangers as VKontakte, Telegram, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. 


Idea, design — UMAD

Development — Live Typing

UMAD
The task
A team of employees from a large tech company had an idea to create an app with a constantly updating set of memes, GIFs and amusing images from the web that could be used in VKontakte, WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and other messengers as funny replies.
Past history
The goal of the team was to create a stand-alone yet universal app with its own gallery of images and memes, integrated with an entire range of messengers. Similar Western apps weren't suitable for Russian social network users, especially teenagers, and UMAD was designed as an app that would fill this gap.

The app was originally called OZM! during early development stages, but was later renamed to UMAD due to the reasons explained below. When the customer decided upon a budget and found a back-end developer and a designer, they came to us for an Android app.


Design

The Live Typing team was not only dealing with the app's development, but could also suggest changes in the app's design. The app was first released in Google Play in its original form as a run-in test, but a later survey carried out by the customer showed that there was still work to be done.

The designer changed the circular images to a nice-looking tile layout, while the obscure icons in the navigational panel made way for labels.
The image sending screen was also altered. Instead of a pop-up box, a separate screen that allowed the user to pick a social network and a target friend was made.
The first version of the app's icon had Batman's image in it, which was a copyright issue that would have meant an immediate rejection of the app by the store's administration. In the end, an icon with a flame image was approved instead.
The app's functioning
The main screen is a set of thematic galleries with images like "Hi", "LOL", "Pissed off", "OMG", "Hugs", etc. Picking an image or a GIF from the gallery takes the user to the screen that allows to send the image to one of the social networks. Sent images are marked with an asterisk and are moved to the "History" tab.
Any of the categories can be made quickly accessible by moving it to the top list by pressing the arrow icon in the top right corner.

The static widget is used for quickly opening the app. It's hidden in the status bar and is available via an upward swipe.
A side menu allows for a shortcut widget to be displayed in the status panel and includes options like turning on an obscenity filter for the feed or creating an album of favorite images on the smartphone.
Development
When working on the app we encountered several issues. Some of them were resolved with the help of already existing cases, while others hadn't been encountered in Android development before. Their solutions might be of use to our colleagues.
VKontakte API tweaking
The one-tap share feature allows the user to send images to their friends in one click. We made this feature possible by introducing changes to the VKontakte SDK. Later, these changes were approved by the social network's developers.
The thing was that in VK's SDK, methods of receiving the list of messages and dialogues were not implemented, and we needed these methods. This left us with two options: either we could implement this feature solely for ourselves or implement it so that everyone could benefit from it. I chose the second option.

A similar situation occurred later in development, when we realized that there weren't any methods of working with documents; we needed these methods so that GIFs would be displayed correctly, because in VKontakte for GIFs to be animated you have to upload them as documents, so I implemented a document upload feature.
Danil Perevalov
Live Typing's Android developer
The challenge of going viral and its solution
Originally, the third time the user launched the app, a pop-up that suggested sharing the app with friends would appear. However, this option was seldom used and conversion went slowly. During re-design we collected user activity data using the statistics and analysis service Localystics. The customer examined this data and introduced changes based on the user experience, and it was determined that moving the "Share" button to the center of the screen increases conversion.

Using Meduza's experience
The vast majority of the user base is usually annoyed by an app rating screen, so we decided to follow the strategy that was successfully executed by the Meduza news website developers. The rating query only appears the third time the user opens the app and is presented in the form a dialogue: if the user likes the app, they are transferred to the store to rate it; otherwise, the user is asked for the reason why they haven't been satisfied.
Sending images
Image sending is a rather challenging task when dealing with Android, in which every messenger behaves differently with graphics. For instance, some apps send the actual image, while others (like VKontakte) upload it to a cloud service which then provides a download link for the image. UMAD gathers information on the messengers installed on the user's device and accepts all image sending formats.
GIFs
Android does not support GIF images. Every image downloader we tried wasn't a suitable solution due to various reasons:
  • Picasso wouldn't download GIFs
  • Facebook`s Fresco had a rather peculiar behavior when using memory and didn't fit in with the task from a conceptual standpoint;
  • Glide was unstable when downloading images;
  • Ion`s memory performance was poor.
The final solution was a combination of Picasso and a custom image manager that downloads and displays GIF images.
The usual featureless push notifications weren't a good match for an entertainment app, hence we had to make it possible to have images attached to them that would notify the user of new categories being added. For this we decided to improve the already existing Pushwoosh push notification library.
Google Play rejection
First rejection
The reason for the first rejection of the app was "erotic content", which is generally enough to result in a life sentence of rejection for an app. The offending images were not specified, and we on our side couldn't determine which images earned the wrath of the Google Play administration. The customer reviewed the content and submitted another release application, using a new account and a different name – the app was now called UMAD.
Second rejection
The second rejection was caused by the logo, which turned out to be similar to the one used by the Tinder dating website. This was an intentional decision and is, in fact, a rather popular strategy, as a familiar logo helps conversion. In the end, it was enough to change the direction of the flame tips to let the app pass the pre-moderation stage.
Third rejection
The third rejection was provoked by using images of Hulk and Ironman on a series of slide-screens that display the name of the app.
Fourth rejection
The reason for the fourth rejection was the app mining the user devices for data on the apps they have installed and sending this information to a server, which is only allowed with the user's consent.
Results
We liked these guys.

They write decent code, they dive right into researching new challenges and find unconventional solutions. We managed to establish a convenient partnership scenario both in terms of work process and cost optimization. There were certain setbacks and glitches, but the guys set everything straight, made improvements to their work process and, as a result, we are content with our cooperation with Live Typing.

The Man Who Fell To Earth
By the time the first versions of the app were completed, the customer hired a full-time team to continue working on the Android version.
The Team
Account manager: Vlad Korobov
Project Manager: Alexander Mirko
Android-development: Alexander Mirko, Danil Perevalov