Hobbyearth - social network

A social network for people who love their hobbies

Hobbyearth is a dynamic social platform concentrated on user generated content. It is a startup project - newly established business with a rapid growth potential. The startup team has detailed requirements for the product and a large vision for its future.

Challenges and Solutions

Limited funding and resources

Startups have access to limited funding. This has put constraints on the scope of work. Trying to cover a lot of functionality while spreading too thin often results in a low-quality product.

To address the limited resources we have designed a modular system with integration of various libraries - this reduced the development time for implementing features from scratch and allowed for a more efficient roadmap.

Maintain stability during traffic spikes

At some point, startups can receive a traffic spike. If this brings the site down, there is a lost opportunity, and if the recovery is prolonged - it can be detrimental to the business.

For the possibility of traffic spikes, we utilized content hosting and content delivery network separated from the core web apps. While it covers far from all traffic spikes, it allows for scaling only of the required services. It also saves costs.

Change fast

Startups are always in a dynamic environment. They test new things and adapt to change. For this, they need to add or change existing functionality continuously. Being too slow in responding to the market negates one of the main advantages startups have over established competitors.

Considering the dynamic environment of startups, we adopted the standard for continuous integration, deployment, and delivery - new features can be tested in a closed environment and then pushed to the live site as soon as they are ready. The team can get feedback from their users on the same day.

First impression

Even for the unique and useful platforms, it's difficult to convey it with the first impression. People are saturated with all kinds of products, and they make snap judgments on if they are going to invest time in a particular product or not. It's difficult to stand out without initial traction.

On the design, we considered three points - it should look like a social network and follow popular design patterns. On the other hand, it should look unique enough so people can make the distinguish between the project and the many other platforms. And since the whole dynamic in such networks revolves around the user generated content - the design should put the emphasis on it. All three combined resulted in the current version.

Features

The Set

A media combining tool and one of the main features of the platform was something we helped flesh out and then develop in collaboration with the startup team.

Animated Demo of the "Media Set"

Comments

The comment is a widely expected feature by all people used to social networks. The implementation supports nested comments and voting.

screenshot of the comments panel

Search

The search functionality allows grouping the results by type, for easier use.

screenshot of the search page

User updates

On a platform, a lot is going on. The news stream, along with the notifications, helps the user to keep up with all things he is interested in.

screenshot of the board page

Messages

A robust messaging system allows for real-time interactions between people.

screenshot of the comments panel

Technologies

CSSBootstrap & Sass
JSMarionette, Browserify
FrameworkSymfony
SearchElasticsearch
ServerLEMP
Cloud storageAmazon S3
Transactional EmailMandrill
Realtime updatesPusher
Error trackingRollbar
Package & Task managersNPM, Grunt