The show must go on: Developing a venue booking app with UPick

As the year winds down, it’s time to look back and celebrate all of our achievements of 2021, the challenges and the goals we conquered, and the clients whose projects we helped to become reality. 

This time, let’s take a look at the story behind the development of the UPick app, which had the goal of creating a useful and reliable booking tool for both venues and artists, and how we helped them bring that dream from concept to a product you can use today. Enjoy!

What goes into making a good idea into reality? For the creators of UPick, it meant finding a reliable team that could build upon their idea, understand the concept completely, and offers the best technical know-how to bring it from paper into every smart device you can imagine. The beginning was simple enough; back in 2020, a couple of friends were looking into an area of opportunity no one else seemed to be exploring yet: what if you could simplify the process to book a show for a venue through an app?

The show must go on Developing a venue booking app with UPick_2

The pandemic gave them a wide-open window to implement a solution for an industry that felt the consequences of this crisis deeply. Live shows account for nearly 50% of the music industry’s revenue, so six months into the pandemic, according to the World Economic Forum, shutdowns had already cost venues around the world 10 billion dollars in sponsorships and ticket sales, with no end in sight. 

But with vaccination rates increasing, it was probably a good time to try and bring shows back, and UPick’s creators thought that an app that offered a quick way to reconnect performers with venues had some fertile ground to grow.

So, in February 2021 they started considering Scio as a partner, looking for developers who could create this app from scratch, decide the full scope of the final product, and make important decisions about the direction of the platform.

This was the first time our clients worked with Nearshore developers, and the advantages of having a fully experienced team equipped and ready to roll inside your own time zone became invaluable, keeping the costs of development down without sacrificing quality. 

Since our clients had never been involved in a project of this size, constant communication to decide the specifics of UPick was critical, going from things like how to monetize the service, to the best hosting platforms to use.

Typically, development at Scio consists of a 5-step plan designed to arrive at a solution in the most productive way possible. Understanding users and their needs, as well as the objectives and constraints of the app itself, was Step 1. Step 2 involved analyzing the requirements of the app in order to trace a plan for the UX/UI and architecture of the platform. Then, Step 3 is pure Agile Development, up to the official launch, which was Step 4. And after the kick-off, is a matter of support to ensure the quality of the app, giving ongoing maintenance and adding features as a Step 5.

The Scioneers chosen were a Programming Lead who developed the architecture of the app, a UI designer tasked with creating a comfortable and stylish interface, another one assigned to create a search bar and review functions within the app, and a QA lead who would make sure everything worked perfectly.

Communication was key. Thanks to daily scrums, a core pillar of our process, we walked our client through the progress of the project, needing nothing more than 15 minutes every day to discuss the changes and challenges that surfaced, as well as what we accomplished, every week.

The show must go on Developing a venue booking app with UPick_2

Here, we solved tons of questions born during development, like “how will a band schedule a show?”, “how will refunds work?”, and “how will the venues and bands make deals?” to more technical matters, like choosing a cost-effective hosting solution (AWS in our case), implementing login credentials from Apple, Spotify, and social media (including some necessary workarounds), to selecting the best payment processor. 

Also, as we briefly mentioned, the business plan of the app had to be revised entirely once the booking process was decided, as Upick could easily be cut out from the deal between venue and performer, and our team took care of that.

The biggest breakthrough was deciding to make UPick a “progressive application”, where a web portal could function as an app with consistency across devices, like desktops and smartphones, making it as convenient as possible.

Then features were added, like the ability to share photos, videos, setlists, and even playlists from Spotify, and we had to rethink the way bands could contact venues as our understanding of these deals grew.

Progress went smoothly until finally reaching our Minimum Viable Product, where one of UPick’s users, whom the client showed a preview, managed to run all of their bands through the platform before it was 100% finished, which not only showcases the talent of our team but also made the customer base excited about the final product.

All in all, by September the app was ready to be launched, a whole project contained within the chaotic year of 2021, where Scio was able to offer the exact solutions UPick was looking for. A learning experience for both our team and our clients, we celebrate the effectiveness of Nearshore development, which can deliver no matter the circumstances.

The Key Takeaways:

  • Since communication is crucial to make a product succeed, choose a development option that can communicate with you at the best time possible.
  • It doesn’t matter if the details of your idea haven’t been ironed out yet, a good team will help you with those decisions.
  • Development time of an app, depending on scope, doesn’t have to be too long. It took us around nine months to bring UPick from concept to reality.
  • Some APIs are not very friendly, but there are always workarounds to any obstacle.
  • If better ideas surge during development, it’s good to always voice them. The schedule might need to be reworked, but the final product is always going to be better.