In the iOS team, we are always trying to improve our app. Our mobile apps provide our customers with a platform to create new Gousto orders, edit orders, view recipe instructions and manage their account. These features are also available on our website, so we have to give our customers a reason to download and use the mobile app, which is why we must improve upon these core features and create a better more engaging user experience.
On a day to day basis, we all work hard on company initiatives that directly relate to our business goals, but as a tech team we all take one day every two weeks to work on self-driven projects for Gousto, we call this Tech 10%. These projects enable our team to further their skills in different technologies, improve the user experience of our products and add features to the platform.
I have used this time over the course of the last couple of months to implement some app-specific features, that will take the user experience above and beyond the web. Some of these unique features I have worked on recently are using biometric sensors for authentication, Force Touch for navigation and Health Kit for nutritional information tracking.
Mobile devices have biometric sensors built into them. This enables us to tap into the device’s capabilities of biometric authentication and use it to provide users with an extra layer of security on their orders.
One advantage of using the mobile application on a regular basis is that you remain logged in and skip the authentication process that you would need to go through on the web. This means we can’t be sure that the person using the application does have the permission to purchase a box, such as a child using a family device. Giving customers the option to use biometric authentication to complete orders, ensures that the transaction is being completed by the correct person and the customer can feel safe that their account cannot be used inappropriately.
The Health app was introduced in 2014, to give iOS users a clear overview of data related to their health. Health Kit enables developers to retrieve or store health data into the Health app.
As a food company which gives customers a wide variety of delicious and healthy meals, we wanted to enable the user to store that nutritional information. Implementing this functionality feels like we are helping our customers to become more aware of their diets and therefore encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle. It was a great chance for me personally to dig into Health Kit and understand more about how the API worked.
Force Touch gives the user navigation shortcuts depending on the pressure applied to the screen during a touch. Force Touch is exclusive to native Apple apps, provides a quick peek for our customers to view more of the details about the recipe without jumping right into the recipe screen. Improvements like this to navigation, which nicely complements our menu, are a great example of a native feature that cannot be replicated on a website.
It was also a great chance for the iOS developers to learn how to use one of Apple’s new API’s and express some creativity over the user journey. It is these type of enhancements that make the difference between a good app and a great one.
All of these small enhancements to the mobile app add up to create a greater user experience. There are certainly more parts of the iOS and Android eco-system we are able to use and I am excited to see us utilising that to push the user experience to new levels. We are very fortunate that Gousto gives us this Tech 10% time. Not only do we get the opportunity to develop the product in our own individual way. We get to develop ourselves as software engineers by applying ourselves to learn new technologies.