Project Name: NightCapp MVP
When people are out socialising, eventually the venue or place they are in closes, but they want to stay out and carry on their evening.
There is a lack of existing products that can easily and quickly solve this problem. How can we create a solution for helping people find places around them that are still open so that they can keep socialising?
An MVP that can validate the problem and has value to the user. The MVP could come in any form, but will likely be an app due to the nature of the problem.
The night time economy in London and the UK is booming, as licensing hours have been relaxed, more and more venues are opening later and later.
However, unless you are a local, finding places to carry on the night can be tricky - travelling out of your way in the hope that a pub or bar is still open is risky, and highly disappointing if it’s shut.
There are apps that can help with this, but they are not always trustworthy or are difficult to use, particularly if you want to find lots of places quickly that are close by.
The untrustworthiness, the clumsy user experience (especially after some drinks) and lack of awareness of potential solutions opened up an interesting problem.
How many people are not fully aware of their surroundings, who instead of finding what they’re looking for, end up compromising or even going home due to lack of options?
So the problem being experienced by people is a lack of knowledge of what places are still open near them, and until what time.
When I am out socialising I want to see what places are still open near me so I can continue my night of socialising.
How might we easily show what places are still open?
When I have found a place I want to see what time it is open until so I can decide if it’s worth going to.
How might we show closing times of places easily?
As this was a side project, the majority of the research focused on existing solutions - namely if any came close to solving the problem.
The rest of the research came from speaking to people, asking them about their experiences and what they would normally do in those situations. If they had an existing app or site they might use, then asking them about what the issues with it were also helped pull out some insights.
Focusing on the core problem and user scenario of finding places around them, an app was the best option to add value to the user. Upon opening the app, it would instantly locate the user and show them as a blue dot on a local map, they would then be able to see open locations (and times) around them.
Creating an app is difficult, but fortunately there are plenty of ‘MVP’ tools that allow for prototyping quick and simple solutions.
Utilising map box, leaflet.js and Phonegap allowed for a solution that could pinpoint a user to a map. That map is then populated with locations and opening times that had been collated from a number of different sources.
Because of these opensource tools, it was also possible to easily launch this MVP on both iOS and Android without much modification.
This MVP fulfilled the core brief of enabling a user to quickly and easily identify locations around them that are still open, and how long for - a small bit of UX work that also helped was colour coding the locations closing within the next hour, making it even quicker to find a place to carry on the evening.
- 10,000 unique users in first 12 months
- 413 unique users in a single day
This was a great learning experience, particularly when looking at the volume of users and positive press. There obviously was a problem that existed, and NightCapp went a long way to solving it instantly.
The venue opening/closing data was largely correct, but a future solution could be to enable venues themselves to input further information that would help ‘sell’ the venue and ensure the opening times are correct.
From here, the idea could be expanded in to other areas, like food for example, or being able to search for other things around you.
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