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Digital product development like mobile & web applications is highly instrumental in scaling business growth by accessing new markets, expanding customer reach, growing brand awareness, enriching customer engagement, and contributing to many growth strategies.

They also provide scope for efficiencies that can drive economies of scale, and leverage network effects. And, in turn, it boosts competitiveness and productivity. Digital product development technologies can substantially lower many costs: search costs, replication costs, distribution costs, tracking costs, and verification costs. That’s one of the best things that you can expect.

Let’s talk about two such applications by big enterprises that have taken over their respective industry by storm and transformed their business growth and customers’ reach to millions through their mobile & web applications. This can give you a clear idea about the things that are necessary for digital product development.

Airbnb

Airbnb is an application for online vacation rental services. That connects people looking for accommodation with people looking to rent their property or homes. This simplifies your lovely vacation and sharing happiness.

This app is accessible to homeowners and travelers of around 191 countries and 65,000 cities globally. This is one of the best in the market with thousands of listings available. Because of its massive growth, the company has received funding from about 15 big companies with upraise of $4.4 billion.

The Airbnb mobile & web applications feature services like a list of experiences and reviews for various restaurants, accommodation costs for travelers, and more in recent years.

First and foremost, for building an app like Airbnb, the app should offer a smooth transition from the starting to the end while using it. The app should be easy to use and provide a better user experience for excellent app reviews.

The working process of Airbnb

  1. The property/homeowner lists out their property description along with the rules, facilities, prices, and any other information that attracts the attention of the tourists and travelers who are looking for accommodation.
  2. People searching for a property to rent will apply the filter according to the price range, location, and other preferences.
  3. Next comes the request to book, wherein travelers are required to raise a request for a booking to the property of their choice.
  4. The property owner will then accept or reject the request according to the property’s availability.
  5. Once the property owner accepts the booking request, the deposit gets deducted from the traveler’s bank account. The remaining amount has to be paid after the stay by the traveler.
  6. Lastly, after the stay, both the host of the Airbnb home and the traveler can review their experiences respectively for future references for other travelers and homeowners.

Now that you understand how the Airbnb application works, let’s learn about some of the framework and programming languages used to develop the Airbnb app.

Airbnb uses the following tech stack:

  • Backend Frameworks like Node.js, Django, or Ruby
  • Frontend Frameworks like Vue.js, Angular.js, and React.js
  • Server-side technologies like Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, and DigitalOcean
  • Databases management technologies like MongoDB, MySQL, MSSQL, PostgreSQL, and Azure DocumentDB
  • Network Caching Services like Nginx and Redis

List of features:

  1. Sign-up/Login:

    Firstly, the user is required to sign-up for the app or website by providing basic personal details like name, ID number, email address, etc. If already registered, they have to log in by filling in their use and password.

  2. Search Filter:

    Filters enable users to set their requirements like property type, size, price range, available dates, and others so that they can find the property of their choice effortlessly.

  3. Manage Account:

    This feature allows users to manage, update or edit their profile and information on the app like their password change, etc.

  4. Wish List:

    The wish list feature saves or marks any desired property by the user for future reference or if it is currently unavailable.

  5. Chat Notifications:

    Like a notification essentially notifies the user, chat notifications inform users if they receive a message on their app chat.

  6. Chatbot:

    If a user wants to interact with the property owner before booking, the chatbot feature helps.

  7. Maps:

    Maps essentially locate the property on a map so that the user can see the area overall and its surrounding places.

  8. Booking:

    This feature helps reflect the history of booking and booking the property of choice.

  9. Payments:

    This feature allows the user to pay for the stay to the property owner after finalizing it. It also enables users to see their payment details and transaction history and select their currency as well as payment method.

  10. Help:

    The ‘help’ feature of an app allows countering any difficulties that the users are facing and provides solutions either by specially curated FAQs or by connecting them with customer support representatives and websites.

  11. Review:

    This feature helps users share their experiences and thoughts both for travelers and homeowners.

  12. Sharing:

    If a user wants to share the property details with someone else, they can easily do so with the share feature, which allows them to share it on other social apps or on the app itself. It also features the option of inviting friends to the application.

Airbnb has more than 7 million listings and users in more than 200 countries. It has become so accessible for travelers and property owners that it has more than 150 million users. This is surely a great performance for an application. More users on the app mean more customers and more revenue for your company.

Slack

Slack is one of the fastest-growing startups across the world. It is a workplace/business communication tool. Within just eight months after launch, Slack reached a valuation of $1B.

Originally developed as a solution for game developers, Slack gained 8000 companies sign up within 24 hours of launching the now renowned remote working tool.

How did Slack build such an efficient remote working tool?

Essentially, it’s a simple messaging app. It has a wide range of engaging features like public chat rooms categorized by topic, direct messaging, and private groups. This allows a lot of comfortable space for the users. These simple things surely made a huge difference in user experience.

An administrator can accordingly define the accessibility of each user. That allows the companies to easily regulate the information for various roles and hierarchies. So, this feature, in particular, has improved the usability and management of the app.

It also includes creating public channels like #random, which allows teams to discuss informal or non-work discussions and build relations in the workplace.

List of features:

  • A Contact book
  • In-app search bar for contacts, groups, media files, and particular messages
  • Online/offline/typing status and visibility settings
  • Message exchange with reading receipt
  • Group messaging with delivered and read receipts
  • Voice and video calls and group calls
  • Customized in-app emoji
  • Media file transfer (pictures, videos, documents, contact cards, external links, etc.)
  • Customizable user themes and wallpapers
  • Independent slack channels for different departments
  • Third-party integrations like Google Drive and Office 365
  • Creating separating threads for seamless communication
  • Workflow Builder that automates routine actions and communication
  • Event management tools like run sheets, Gantt charts, and event-specific calendars

Slack is available as a web app, mobile app as well as a Desktop app. It is accessible on any mobile device, browser, and standalone desktop application. So, there is versatility in this application which is a nice feature.

Web

Slack is mainly based on a blend of JavaScript/ES6 and React.js for the Web platform. When Slack created the Windows application, they could not use the previously existing codebase.

Therefore, to make it available on all the different types of devices and the web, Slack decided to implement cross-platform development tools like Electron.

Desktop

Slack’s desktop application is also developed using Electron for a frameless, faster look of the app. That generally provides a host of other background improvements for an improved app experience.

The Electron framework enabled cross-platform desktop applications by using programming languages like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

However, Slack’s original desktop app was written using the MacGap v1 framework. It used WebView to host web content within the native app framework. But it wasn’t easy to upgrade it with the new features only available to Apple’s WKWebView. Moving to this view required a total application rewrite.

Although the Slack desktop is a hybrid approach, the assets and code loading were remote for the most part. The Slack developers combined Chromium and Node.js from the rendering engine and module system.

The new desktop app is now based on an ES6 + async/await React application, which gradually moves to TypeScript.

Mobile

  • Slack is built by a mix of programming languages, Java and Kotlin for Android.
  • For iOS, it’s written in a mix of Objective-C and Swift.

For developing a successful app, a strategic approach in the development process is crucial. Along with full engineering of the product, deploying technologies to sustain the product development, features enhancement, and other development areas. All of those are equally important for Product development.

A minimum viable product or MVP helps in developing a user-friendly product and software design. We can easily test that before fully launching the final product.

A lot of enterprises create MVP first and launch with a small group of people to test the features and functions. This is a must for digital product development services.

They collect feedback from their users and then implement the feedback into their final product. MVP is also a great way to get initial funding for the app. It is also used to validate the whole app idea.

Further Reading: How To Plan A Lean MVP That Scales? (An Essential MVP Guide)

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