In time for summer and outdoor events we had a chance to collaborate on yet another fun project – the Android version of local music discovery and booking app GigTown. The San Diego based start-up created a music marketplace, allowing users to browse local artists and book them for events. The app facilitates the whole process of promotion, artist management, booking arrangements and payment. So far it has been launched in San Diego and Los Angeles with plans to launch in several cities across the US throughout the year.
Both our design and engineering teams were heavily involved in building the Android frontend for GigTown. We redesigned the app adhering to the Google Material Design Guidelines, creating a native Android navigation while keeping in line with the look and feel of the iOS app. The biggest challenges in this project were related to this; there aren’t many UI components available for Material Design so implementing the designs included a lot of experimentation and writing components from scratch. The navigation was a key issue as well – the app will be expanding in the future, so the structure needs to be both clear and flexible. Porting apps from iOS to Android brings specific challenges with it, the goal was to make the app intuitive and tailored to the platform rather than a copy of the iOS version. The key was finding an Android-native structure that at the same time mirrored the features and hierarchy of the original application.
The project was heavy on UI work and making sure the interface looks stunning. The aforementioned Material Design includes a great deal of visual effects to make the interface feel palpable, e.g. shadows and animations that had to be hand-coded since Google only recently published reusable components which still don’t cover all of Material’s features. We also continued our work with vector-based icons to streamline supporting the vast amount of screen sizes and densities of Android devices. For GigTown we used the AndroidSVG library which renders bitmaps from an SVG source file on the fly individually for each device, resulting in pixel perfect graphics on each phone without the bulky asset overhead. Vector-based icons also allow for widget and button colouring straight from the code, removing the need to attach assets for each button state, making an app more performant and better looking.
The team at Polidea are avid music lovers and creators so we get an extra kick out of building products like GigTown. Marek Multarzyński, the lead engineer on our side, was very excited about his role: “I play guitar myself and I enjoy concerts very much, so it was a pleasure making this happen”. To accurately convey the look and feel and content hierarchy of the existing iOS app on Android, our cooperation with GigTown was close. “Getting our Android app off the ground was an integral part of our business and marketing strategy. Despite being thousands of miles away, communication and working with Polidea was easy and enjoyable.”, says Andy Altman, the company’s CEO.