Modern life is fast-paced and often stressful. People look for ways to relax during their free time, particularly at night. They don’t want the added stress trying to find the right events, concerts, happy hours, etc.
This has led to the popularization of nightlife apps. Naturally, savvy entrepreneurs are looking to tap into this market. If you are such an entrepreneur, then this guide on how to build a nightlife app is the one for you!
The market for nightlife apps
Nightlife apps fall within the category of lifestyle apps, and this is a popular category. The following statistics illustrate this:
- As of June 2018, lifestyle apps were the 12th most popular among Android app categories, as this Statista report
- Among iOS app categories, lifestyle apps were the 4th most popular as of May 2019, as another Statista report
An example of a nightlife app
Let’s review an example of a nightlife app so that you can get an idea of what features you should offer. Discotech is a popular nightlife app, offering the following features:
- Users can get a curated list of events.
- They can book tables in nightclubs.
- App users can buy tickets using their smartphone, moreover, they can sign-up for guest lists for events in key cities.
- The app has an event discovery feature.
- Discotech has partnerships with service providers.
- This app has an appealing “User Interface” (UI).
How to create a nightlife app
I will now explain the app creation steps for this project, which are as follows:
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1. Define the project scope
I recommend that you build a web app, an Android app, and an iOS app, with the following features:
- Users should be able to view nightclubs in their cities of choice.
- The app needs a map integration.
- Identity verification is an important feature.
- They will need a curated list of events, moreover, they should get information about happy hours.
- App users should be able to book tables, buy tickets, and sign-up for guest lists.
- Service providers should be able to list their businesses in your app, moreover, you need the required CRM features to conduct your business with them.
- You need to offer in-app purchases and online payment features.
- The app needs push notifications to engage users.
An eye-catching yet easy-to-use UI is a must. Plan to launch in one geography first.
2. Choose an appropriate development methodology
Web and mobile apps are customer-facing tools, and these apps undergo frequent enhancements. You will likely launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) with the above scope, before enhancing the app based on market feedback. Agile is the suitable methodology for this project, as I have earlier explained in “Waterfall vs Agile: which methodology is right for your project”.
3. Formulate a software development approach
I recommend that you use the following approach:
- Use “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) and “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) platforms to expedite your project.
- Make use of “Software Development Kits” (SDKs)/”Application Programming Interfaces” (APIs) to simplify the development of core features.
- Design and develop in a manner that makes future expansion in other geographies easier. For e.g., keep your content and code separate. Such guidelines are part of “app internationalization”, and you can find more guidelines in “The ultimate guide to mobile app internationalization”.
4. Build a project team
You will need the following roles in the team:
- Business analysts (BAs);
- UI/UX designers;
- Web developers with Node.js experience;
- Android developers with Java skill;
- Swift programmers for the iOS app;
- A project manager (PM).
Consider using the “scrum” technique for this project, which works well for agile projects. The PM performs the “scrum master” role, and forms “scrum teams”. These are small teams where developers and testers work together on sprints, i.e., iterations. Our guide “How to build a scrum development team?” can help with this technique.
5. Find a PaaS platform
Entrepreneurs look towards launching their app quickly, without heavy upfront investments in IT infrastructure. PaaS platforms help here, as follows:
- PaaS providers manage cloud infrastructure, networking, operating systems, middleware, and runtime environment, leaving you free to focus on the development.
- You can easily integrate databases and other 3rd party APIs when using a PaaS platform.
- Reputed PaaS providers have powerful DevOps toolsets, which help in agile development.
- PaaS providers also offer robust “Application Performance Monitoring” (APM) and auto-scaling solutions.
6. Sign-up for an MBaaS platform
When developing the mobile app, you would like to focus on the UI design and business logic development, and not on the mobile backend development/management. Using an MBaaS platform will help, as follows:
- MBaaS providers manage cloud infrastructure, persistent storage, etc.
- You don‘t need to hire a mobile backend developer or a cloud platform architect.
- There is a wide range of mobile devices and platforms, making mobile app development complex. However, using an MBaaS platform help you to manage this.
- User management, security features, push notifications are easier to implement when you sign up with an MBaaS provider.
- You can scale your app easily when using MBaaS platforms.
Read “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?” to learn about the advantages of MBaaS platforms. You can use Google Firebase for this project.
7. Procure an API solution to list the places of interest
There are two ways in which you can show the details of nightclubs to app users. The first one is to use an API that shows places of interest, whereas the other way is to get nightclubs to sign up with your business. In all likelihood, you will need to use both approaches.
For the first approach, I recommend that you use the Triposo API. Note the following information:
- Triposo API can help you to show various places of interest, including nightclubs. They cover 50,000 destinations at the time of writing, spanning over 200 countries.
- Find the API documentation here.
- You can find their API demos here.
- Their pricing plans are available here.
8. Get a CRM solution to deal with the nightclub businesses
The next approach is to get nightclubs to sign-up with your app. You need to use relational databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL to store their information. This project might also need NoSQL databases like MongoDB or Redis.
Now, your business model might involve specific contractual relationships with the nightclubs that sign up with you. You will need a CRM solution to manage this, and Zoho is a good choice here. Consult the following resources:
Read How We Helped a Marketing Company to Build a Back-Office Custom Ads Dashboard
- Check out the features of Zoho CRM here.
- You can access their CRM APIs here.
- Zoho CRM API documentation is available here.
9. Find a mapping API
The app needs integration with a mapping solution, and I recommend that you use Google Maps. You can use it as follows:
- Check out the entire Google Maps documentation here.
- Find their Android SDK here.
- Google Maps iOS SDK is available here.
You can find their pricing plan here.
10. Procure an eCommerce solution
You need an eCommerce solution for the in-app purchase feature. Shopify offers a robust solution, which you can use as follows:
11. Sign-up with a payment gateway provider
You need a payment gateway provider to incorporate the online payment feature. Braintree provides a great solution for this, and it‘s called “Braintree Direct”. Consult the following resources for their APIs:
12. Get an ID verification solution
A nightclub app will need an ID verification feature in order to comply with the regulations. ID.me offers a robust solution, and you can check out the following resources:
- Check here to find how ID.me can provide a comprehensive ID verification solution for your app.
- Access their SDKs and APIs here.
13. Find a bulk SMS solution
The app needs push notifications to engage app users, therefore, you should consider getting a bulk SMS solution. Twilio is the right choice, and you can use it as follows:
- Sign-up for their “Programmable SMS” offering.
- Check the programmable SMS documentation here, and here.
Twilio pricing plans are available here.
14. Procure a solution to aid the web and mobile app testing
You will likely use open source test automation frameworks like Selenium and Espresso for web and mobile app testing. This testing requires a wide range of browsers and mobile devices, therefore, you need to procure a solution that provides this.
Experitest offers a mobile device and browser lab on the cloud for this purpose. You can easily integrate this solution with popular open-source testing frameworks, moreover, they also provide excellent test analytics.
15. Develop the web app
Proceed with web app development using Node.js, the popular open-source runtime environment. The development team will find several advantages, e.g.:
- js helps in developing scalable, performant apps since it supports asynchronous programming.
- There are thousands of sharable tools and frameworks for Node.js, which improves the productivity of developers.
You need to take the following steps:
- Use IntelliJ IDEA, a popular IDE along with a js plugin to code the web app.
- Access the Heroku buildpack for Node.js.
- Use databases like PostgreSQL and Redis on Heroku. Read this guide for more information.
- Integrate the SDKs/APIs for Triposo, Zoho CRM, Google Maps, ID.me, Shopify, Braintree, and Twilio.
- Test the app, and deploy on Heroku using the DevOps toolset. Read “Continuous delivery on Heroku” for details.
- Utilize Heroku “Application Performance Monitoring” (APM), and Heroku auto-scaling solutions to scale the web app.
16. The mobile app UI design
- The team should choose the right mobile navigation menu pattern, where our guide “Mobile navigation menu examples” can help.
- Designers should select an appropriate color scheme, by consulting “8 trends in mobile app color scheme”.
- UI designers need to design great icons, by taking help from our guide “How to design the perfect icon for your mobile app?”.
17. Code, test, and publish the Android app
Developing an Android app involves the following steps:
- Use Android Studio, which is the IDE of choice for Android development.
- Code the app using Java, and remember to get the appropriate license. You can read “Build your first Android app in Java” if you need help.
- Use APIs/SDKs for Triposo, Google Maps, Zoho CRM, Twilio, Shopify, ID.me, and Braintree in the app.
- Test the app using Espresso, and Experitest mobile device lab on the cloud.
- Read this guide for publishing the app to Google Play.
18. iOS app development
I recommend that you use Swift for iOS development. Apple champions this language, which offers several advantages, e.g.:
- Developers need to code less since Swift offers powerful features.
- Programmers can avoid common coding errors with Swift, moreover, the code is easier to read, which makes maintenance easier.
- Apps coded in Swift are fast and performant.
You need to take the following steps:
- Use Xcode, which is the IDE supported by Apple.
- Integrate the SDKs/APIs for Google Maps, Triposo, Zoho CRM, ID.me, Shopify, “Braintree Direct”, and Twilio “Programmable SMS” in your Swift code.
- Use XCTest, and the Experitest mobile device lab on the cloud to thoroughly test the iOS app.
- Publish the app to the Apple app store, by following these instructions.
19. Use a robust PM tool
A scrum team works as follows:
- A “product owner” providers requirements in a “product backlog”, and the team estimates them.
- The team prioritizes and plans them in sprints, in a “sprint planning meeting”.
- The scrum master holds “daily stand-up meetings” to discuss the project status.
- Sprint approval comes in a “sprint review meeting” after the team demonstrates that the app is working.
Managing these activities requires an appropriate tool, and I recommend Asana for this project.
Planning to launch a great nightlife app?
Software development can be challenging. A project to create a nightlife app can be complex, despite using platforms, tools, APIs, SDKs, and frameworks. Consider taking professional help. Before you engage a development partner, read our guide “How to find the best software development company?”.
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