We developed the Billie Eilish fan app as a tool to help us learn the needs of music fans worldwide. We did this because we want to provide fans with a truly great engaging experience which enables them to feel a deeper connection with the artist and to do this we needed an audience. Once we perfect the Billie Eilish app we’ll release more artist ‘Rave About’ apps to increase our understanding further.
We wanted to create a fan app for a popular music artist that we can use to direct development of our full Tour Discovery (TDP) app - www.theraveapp.co.uk. We’d designed an artist page which contained tour dates and venue details which we want to expand on to give greater fan engagement. The problem with thinking generally is that you miss the concrete detail that comes from being specific.The Rave App - Tour Discovery Platform (TDP)
We chose to focus on Billie Eilish as the information we gained from using Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest keyword tool showed how phenomenally successful Billie Eilish is and how much influence she has. Therefore creating a Billie Eilish app should give us a strong chance of building a decent sized audience of fans who can give input to direct the features that we can add in future.
We chose to develop the minimum viable product - MVP - as a curation of her music videos and news, and boy does she generate news. There are hundreds of stories daily.
The app was designed by Tom Atkinson using Sketch before being submitted to the development team headed up by Freddie - that’s Freddie Mercury on account of the fact that he looks like he might have once sang with Montserrat Caballé.
I caught up with Tom to discuss a variety of aspect of the apps development:
What were your design influences?
The bulk of this app had already been designed as the artist page in the Rave app which we planned to develop prior to focusing on this Billie Eilish app. So a lot of the design concepts were taken from Rave which was influenced by Apple as I’m a big fan of minimalism and their clean sleek designs. The ASO - App Stores have design rules which have to be followed. For example Google want you to follow their Material Design guidelines which was a factor in choosing to develop cross-platform applications using Flutter.
There’s also a variety of play books such as ‘The secrets to app success on Google Play’ - ebook and ‘Building for the billions’ - ebook written by google. There’s a plethora of resources that influence design decisions such as colour palette which is part of human interface visual design guidelines where they actually tell you the colours and fonts to use. For example the San Francisco font was specifically designed for its legibility which is a factor in accessibility - all widgets adapt to system settings and user preferences such as their accessibility preferences on their phone.
What were your design aims for the MVP?
To create a clean, usable, simple and obvious design that is easily extensible. We have great plans ahead which we hope will be user driven based on analytics. The apps use Firebase which triggers events which are recorded in a database. By analysing the data are are able to create custom audiences which enables us to send Actionable Intelligent Messages (AIM) to groups of users based their use of the app.
One of the features that was key to our selection of Flutter is the ability to create iOS, Android, iPad and PWA versions of the app from a single codebase. This enables us to reach out to a wider audience of fans and to engage with them regardless of their choice of device. We are particularly excited by the PWA or Progressive Web App as this gives us the availability and instant accessibility of a web app coupled with the ability to act like a mobile app and receive push notifications as well as appearing as an icon on the users dashboard - just like an app.
How did you achieve pixel perfect implementation?
Flutter applications are constructed from a set of widgets or components that look good on any screen. They expand to fill the screen real estate available and they transition smoothly. In the Flutter development involves customising existing widgets that are already rich in functionality. The design and development process are closely aligned around the Flutter widgets which reduces design and development time as designs are based on existing feature rich components that fit with design perfectly.
Which Flutter widgets did you build on - how did this help you? Why was Flutter good for this project? could you have achieved the same result any other way?
There’s isn’t a specific Flutter component that we use, as we tend to use all of them. Flutter provides a wide variety of pre-constructed components which we customise to meet our needs. This is a great benefit to us as it means that we don’t replicate common functionality which reduces development time and cost.
Flutter was developed with Material Design and human interface guidelines as an integral component. Flutter is a Google product as is the Google Play Store. As Google search engine is essential to discovery too, we decided to go all out with Google, which is why Flutter is a good fit for this project. We understand that in future the Google search engine will rank websites based on user experience, which is a reason to take the material Design route.
We could have used Ionic or any other cross-platform mobile app development tool, however many of the components of our products such as Firebase with its infinitely scalable database, and serverless hosting are Google products which is why we chose Flutter.
How are the products you develop formulated?
Loads of discussion, creation of mind maps. Research and stats. Things are consider and brought to the fore and maybe discarded. In many ways we’re similar to Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, in that we work from our office at home - because we’re a family which means that we can discuss ideas when we have them. We live together - so we can work when we want. It’s all about enthusiasm, reading and keeping your nose to the ground with Twitter, social media and news alerts. It’s the kind of thing that you do when you care and need to know more. You can’t fein enthusiasm.
We were very keen to release the MVP within a couple of weeks or around 10 days of development which we achieved. The app has been submitted to a variety of stores. At this stage it’s been accepted into Google Play.
We have to wait now to se how we get on with other submissions. It’s a waiting game at this stage. We’ll update this article on a regular basis with the progress that we make good or bad.
This is a living article that will show you the effort that we put in to achieve our goals and the thinking that we apply to interpreting results, drawing conclusions and driving actions.Share Article