andrei l. rac  /  locaholic
ui/ux, product, visual design
Write a question, send the link using whatever app you want, and get all your replies in one place. On top of this idea, we also explored multiple features like making groups of people, plans, features exclusive to bloggers, bookings, AI to get insight in trends and preferences, and many more.
Realizing the plan was too ambitious given our team size. we asked ourselves what is the most important thing this app does? It's asking and recommending. We took down everything else and left only ask and recommend.
Testing with users outside our circle, including random people on New York streets and online, prompted questions like: is it just restaurants? Cafés? Does it work only with friends or is it public? It brought some usability flaws that we didn't see even after extensive testing among the team (turns out sometimes the trees do not let us see the forest)
We solved the questions regarding what's the app about adding a sortiment of icons representing various kinds of foods, places, and cities.
Around one year later, some big players joined the table. Foursquare launched TripTips, a very similar product, backed with millions in financing. Facebook also launched place recommendation requests, having billions of users as starting point. Google's Trips app also goes in a similar direction.
The good side is this validated the idea. One the other hand, although each had shortcomings, it's very hard to compete with virtually unlimited financial, strategical and human resources.
Merging both inbound and outbound recommendations lists into a single one, along with making peoples opinion a prominent element, it would eliminate a lot of unnecesary development, as well as make the use of the app a much more seamless and enjoyable experience.
Looking back, many choices seem obvious, but every one of them took quite an effort and time for us to see. Each stage, including the last one, has an infinite number of alternatives. Unfortunetly we reached the end of the runway before succeeding. The idea transitioned between various concepts, adjusting to market forces and available resources, trying to find a spot, trying to offer something unique, something that gets people closer, that helps you and your friends discover and enjoy new places.