Behind the Scenes at Bike Citizens
How are features created in our app? Are the wishes of our users really fulfilled and what is the inspiration for new functions within the app? We asked these and more questions to our tech pros who are behind the development of the app. If you've always wanted to know how the feature development process works, today is your day to satisfy your inquisitiveness.
The birth of a feature
Mihai Ghete (our VP of Engineering) and Alice Hauser (one of our two UX/UI designers) were asked how a new feature is born in the app. It’s a fact that there are many to-do’s for planned features in the future. The goal is to create features that provide added value to the users. Then it goes trough the concept and design phase. Now there have to be answers to the question of how the feature should be implemented, what it should be able to do and what the design will look like. This process also considers how the changes will be communicated to the outside world. When these steps are completed, there is first feedback from the developers within the concept phase and then the implementation takes place. After that, the internal testing phase begins to check whether the goal of creating a useful feature for our users has been achieved. Finally, when all the checks and controls have been done, it is released in the app.
About the new Layers feature
The brand new layers feature in the app has also gone through all these steps and is now available for you. Specifically, our app developers asked themselves the question of what data should be displayed. In the course of development, it became clear that we wanted to display a wide variety of information on the map. Now it is possible to switch on and off those layers which are relevant to the user. Looking back, it can be said that the time and effort invested were worth it.
Where does the inspiration come from?
As mentioned earlier, there are more ideas than there is capacity to develop. Nevertheless, it is clear to our app developers which features will appear next, even if the decisions are often quite difficult because usually several months are spent on the implementation of a feature. However, the principle that we want to provide the best app possible for our users, always applies and therefore the quality and functionality within the app has priority. It is also very important to us to take the wishes of our users into account. All suggestions for improvement are received and worked through on the basis of a list. The new map style function was also eagerly requested by some users.
What is a UX/UI designer?
Georg and Alice are our UX/UI designers and combine technical understanding with a creative streak. In UX design (=User Experience Design) the question is, what do users want? Of course, logical and technical thinking is a prerequisite here, because after all, they have to know how functions are best implemented and what is needed to achieve this. UX design is considered very research-heavy, while UI design (interface design) requires a knack for aesthetics. UI concerns the user interface, i.e. everything that users see within the app. The first step is to look for references, collect them and create a prototype, which is then discussed with the developers.
So there is much more behind the creation of a feature than it might seems. Time, creativity, know-how and a lot of teamwork have to be combined for the birth of a new feature. But as already mentioned, there are still some to-do’s on the feature list of our app development team. So stay tuned and be curious about the cool features that will come your way in the future.