NEVER MISS A MOMENT
Generation Y lives in the moment. With the rise of Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope, and selfie sticks, the desire to share moments with friends is stronger than ever. Sending a photo or video has long been the norm for showing off what’s going on, but the availability of 4G and top quality handsets has changed the game. The focus now is on real time interaction.
The startup “heyyo” seized this opportunity and designed a group video chat app with a focus on real time ephemeral interaction. SPRYLAB was a key partner for the startup as well as its founders Oisin Zimmerman and Henri Thomée from the very beginning. Close cooperation allowed the heyyo app to be built quickly and the founding team could benefit from SPRYLAB’s prior experience in the field, and ensured a stable infrastructure to allow massive scaling from the very beginning.
Expertise and close cooperation were essential given the tight schedule
Due to the competitiveness of the app marketplace, it was important to implement the app as quickly as possible. Quick and efficient decision-making and development were crucial. The founders of heyyo moved in to SPRYLAB’s office in Berlin and though close cooperation turned their MVP idea into a fully functioning heyyo iOS and Android app, with all necessary back end infrastructure, in just 4 months. The modern UI design and UX operating concept were designed by Henri Thomée and set up in coordination, in terms of performance and time to market, with the SPRYLAB team.
In addition to fast technical implementation, the founders also profited from SPRYLAB’s experience and app development advice, ranging from project management to infrastructure and strategic direction.
Beta testing and iteration was crucial for the heyyo team. SPRYLAB used the app stores beta test functions early on in the implementation process to create feedback loops and test the concept among various focus groups identified by the heyyo team. The feedback provided by early users was immediately implemented. Features that hadn’t even been considered at the beginning were suggested by users and are integral in the official versions available today.
left: heyyo co-founders, right: Lead Project Manager René Freude and SPRYLAB colleagues
An app with millions of expected users needs a stable infrastructure
A scalable hosting and stable infrastructure are critically important for any app that is expected to attract millions of video chat users. For this reason, the most reliable services were selected from the very beginning. Maintenance and updates without downtime are just as important as real time scaling for peak usage. The biggest challenge proved to be the real time synchronization between users. The online status of your friends is transmitted in real time so that a user can see which friends are ready and waiting. Since the chats last 30 seconds by default, it is important that the countdown timer is synchronized accurately according to all participants’ time zones. The balance between the performance and the image quality had to be taken into account – therefore an individual image compression that permits fast performance while ensuring good image quality was developed.
How heyyo works
heyyo users simply take a picture of what’s happening and send it off to friends. If the recipient answers the heyyo within 30 seconds, they can jump straight into a live group video call with up to 3 people.
heyyo is built around the concept of less is more. Calls are limited by default to 30 seconds. That 30 second base allows for live connection with friends, while keeping the interaction short and exciting.
“A photo or video is great but sometimes I really want to “be there” when my friends are having fun. We believed group video calling could be fast & spontaneous, whether it’s a quick hello or experiencing a live concert with friends in the moment. That’s why we built heyyo.” Oisin Zimmermann, CEO, remarked.
heyyo also has additional features, most notably the qikpic and “30 seconds more” functions. Users can send so-called qikpics (“quick pictures” with added text and emojis) to friends if unable to answer or send heyyos. These images are only displayed once and disappear after viewing. Early feedback revealed that 30 seconds could sometimes be a little short, and users wanted to be able to add just a few more seconds onto the calls. To address this, the team built in “30 seconds more” – a feature that allows recipients of the call to extend it for 30 additional seconds by clicking a pop up timer. Each recipient can only extend the call once to ensure calls are still short and sweet.
heyyo: a product of collaboration, now available in your pocket
heyyo is the result of close cooperation between its founders and SPRYLAB’s professional team, as well as countless iterations with early users. Working in the same office allowed for fast decision making, quick adoption of new features, and sharing of expertise. It also meant a new way to communicate with colleagues and a fun and memorable journey for all.