We at Ohmyhome entered the year brimming with fresh, bold ideas to further simplify housing journeys for our users. This spur for change eventually led us down the path to undertake a complete rehaul of our iOS app, a Herculean task that means throwing away everything familiar about the app and re-building it from scratch.
Why the re-build?
Simply because our users deserve better! Being in a fast-paced proptech space where innovation and change are the only constant, we wanted to create a cleaner and better version of our app to provide a truly seamless user experience.
Part of our 2019 vision was taking Ohmyhome to Malaysia, which meant we could either do a slapdash attempt at improving our existing app or we could seize this opportunity – this time with experience on our side – to fortify the app and make it scalable for regional and even global expansion.
Once the decision was made, we discussed, deliberated and decided to take a build from scratch approach this time, which would not only result in a better app for our users but also give the developers an opportunity to take a cleaner architectural approach.
Ok, so what’s wrong with the older app?
“The object-oriented version of spaghetti code is, of course, ‘lasagna code’. Too many layers.” – Roberto Waltman
The app was in urgent need of finetuning, as it was passed around different developers across multiple phases. Being a fail-fast approach startup led by a lean team, we had to make a lot of ugly hacks to get our features ready in the fastest way possible for our users, which led us to a stage where our code was a haphazard mix of UIKit & Texture written in different styles. Basically, difficult to scale, additionally also following Android-driven UI/UX in places – a fragile combination that wasn’t fitting for Ohmyhome’s global expansion.
So, how do you fix this then?
We broke our app into a larger set of features first and then broke those features into further smaller sets while setting priority based on their usefulness for our users based on our analytic data from the existing app. Our cool team of designers went back to the drawing board and churned out multiple versions of landing tabs, empty state illustrations, and icons for all the different sections in the app. We also hosted seminars for educating our users in Singapore about property transactions. Our product owners welcomed their feedback on our existing app and interactive mock-ups, helping our design team to constantly refine the UX based on how our users were using the app.
“The craft of programming begins with empathy, not formatting or languages or tools or algorithms or data structures.”
At Ohmyhome, our engineering team puts users first in everything they do, fueled by their passion in making property transactions simple for our users. One way we found useful was thinking of the product as how their closed ones would use it. This helped in scaling across demographics and ages as human sentiments combined with data science are what drives decisions.
From an engineering standpoint, we decided to stick with only Texture for all UI across the app along with a framework built by the amazing team at Instagram called IGListKit and Apple proved that it was a step in the right direction when they launched SwiftUI at DubDub-DC, which follows code driven-stack based semantics and our decision of maintaining distance from Storyboards had already begun to pay dividends.
But did it work?
All of the engineering efforts went through multiple design, programming, and product iterations in parallel to rigorous Quality Analysis (QA) and internal testing before making it available to our extended Ohmyhome family (the vast network that encompasses all our savvy DIY users).
The new app is now ready to take in changes and challenges that come with global expansion. One aspect we paid particular attention to was app performance, as not all countries would have the same internet speed as Singapore. Now that we have crossed the finish line, we are incredibly happy to share our labour of love with all our users in Malaysia and Singapore!
You can download our brand new iOS App available now on the Appstore.
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” – Richard Branson