Thursday 19 January, 2023

Welcome to our New, Personalised, and Faster App

Lead Product Designer at War On Cancer

Hi everyone, hope you’re having a nice start to 2023! My name is Melissa — I’m the lead product designer for War On Cancer. In this article I’ll be talking all about our latest app release, and what it means for you! I’ll showcase some of the new features and improvements that we’ve been heads down, hard at work at for the past year. There are changes that will improve your experience in the community, make the app faster, easier to use, and help you find content that is more tailored to your needs. I can’t wait to dive in and share all the exciting details with you! So grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and let’s get started.

Launching the Native App for iPhone

Firstly, the change most worthy of celebration is the transition from the app being a ‘hybrid’ app, into a ‘native’ app for the iPhone. You might be thinking — what the heck does this even mean?? — a totally fair question! A native app is an app designed specifically for either iPhone or Android devices, and allows us to create faster, more advanced apps. If you want to know more about the difference between hybrid and native apps, read about it here. 

What’s exciting about this transition is that it has given us an opportunity to redesign parts of the app. While most of the development effort was put into building the ‘new’ app, which will contain the same functionality as the previous app, we have been able to slip in some updates that will highlight content and members in a brand new way.

What this means for you

If you are familiar with the previous app, and have an iPhone device, you will notice some exciting changes to a few areas in the app.

A much faster app

Apart from less glitches and ‘bugs’, the new app looks and feels much smoother, similar to how other Apple applications on your iPhone feel. This should make it easier for you to navigate around the app, with even more accessibility features to come soon! 

Improved recommended content

With this update, you will notice quite a lot of changes on the Discover page. 

Head over to the Discover page and you’ll notice that recommended content is more personalised to your situation. Discover people, posts, insights, health studies and topics that are now specifically tailored to your diagnosis, cancer phase, country and the topics that you’re following. This will make it easier for you to connect with others in a similar situation, or with similar interests, as well as a new way of finding relevant resources and support. 

New ways to update your profile

To get the most out of the new Discover page, make sure you have completed your profile with your correct relation to cancer, diagnosis, country, and have followed topics that interest you. You can do this by heading to your Profile page, or in the new Account Settings and Health Identity areas in the Settings page.

Add flair to your profile

In addition, we have added new features to your profile page that allow you to add a unique touch to your profile, and make it easier to let others know about your situation through profile Tags. Profile Tags sit within a new About Me section on your profile. Use them as a way to get to know each other better and build a stronger sense of connection.

The more you add to your profile, the more likely you will connect with members who share your interests or are going through something similar.

Press & slide to react to a post

It’s now even easier to react to a post in different ways. Simply tap to react with a heart, or hold your finger on the reaction icon to open the reaction panel, and slide your finger across to select from the seven different reactions. 

How to react to a post

Say goodbye to cropped photos

We are also excited to announce that you can now share photos without worrying about them being cropped! Your selfies, quotes and landscape photos will be seen in all their glory, when shared with the community. 

Let us know what you think

As always, if you notice anything unusual or have feedback about the app, please let us know. You can give your feedback in the app by going to Settings, selecting “Send Feedback,” and sharing your thoughts with us. Your feedback is vital for us, and is the most tangible way we know how to serve you better and improve our app. You can also email me directly.

This new app is a milestone for the team. It opens up new opportunities to develop features for you at a much faster pace. 

A shout out to the team!

The hard work is not to go unrecognised, and truly wouldn’t have been possible without everyone in our team contributing.

A special mention to our incredibly talented iOS developers Sara Johansson (@sarawr) and Anton Martinsson (@antonmartinsson).

Their passion and dedication to this project have made all of this possible. Sara and Anton are leading the way for iOS native app development, and with this release they have made their mark on cutting-edge development techniques by using the latest Swift framework, SwiftUI. This framework is a faster, cleaner and more interactive way to code UI across all Apple platforms.

Another big shoutout to my fellow designer Joanna von Bahr (@Joanna). Joanna has been fundamental in allowing us to create features that put our members’ needs first. All of the workshops, designs, prototypes and daily discussions we’ve had were not only essential for this project, they were really enjoyable too!

Other special mentions go out to Trent (@trentwoodbury) our data scientist, Viktor (@viktorwoc) our Product Owner, Jasmin (@jasmin1982), Nemanja (@nemanja), Richard (@richardsimko) and Tarik (@tkaldzija) on the complex strategising and restructuring, Linnea (@linnet) and Joanna L (@joannalindvall) for being the voices of the community, Charlie (@charlie) for your positivity that uplifted everyone, and of course, Håkan (@hakan4) for leading the team and kickstarting this project in the first place! Many thanks to everyone else in the War On Cancer team for helping to workshop and test the app along the way.

Thank you for being a part of this community and for your continued support. We hope you enjoy the new and improved app!

What is a hybrid app?

Hybrid apps, (also known as ReactNative apps), is when one app is developed for both Android and iPhone mobiles. Hybrid apps can be useful when testing a concept for an app idea, though, once the features in an app grows, and the members increase, they can sometimes become slow and are harder for developers to maintain, i.e. they get bugs. It can also become limiting with the features and functionality they can have. So once an app reaches a point of maturity, like we have, it’s much more efficient to transition to Native apps, one for iPhone users and another for Android users. This is exactly what we’ve been working on over the last year.

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