Next great storytelling medium on Android

Next great storytelling medium on Android

The team at Kino Technologies is building the next great storytelling medium on iOS and they hired me to bring it to Android. I built the MVP in 2 months when we launched with the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The next launch was Obsessed LV, a series about Vegas teens.

The initial iOS app was in development for 2 years and I had 2 months to try to attain feature parity as much as possible.

The platform enables users to watch mobile TV shows and talk about them with their friends. Storytellers can publish a variety of media including video, samples of tweets and other text-related messages. Users can consume all this different types of media and chat about it with their friends in private groups (rooms) or in public groups with everybody on the app.

Here's what I did, feature-wise:

  • Built a native Android app from scratch in Kotlin, making all technical decisions
  • Implemented XML layouts and custom views from Figma mockups with the goal of pixel perfection
  • Video watching capabilities that support portrait and landscape orientations
  • Support deep linking via Verified App Links so users can invite their friends to join them in the app, including deferred deep links with Branch
  • Notifications so users can be kept up-to-date on when the latest content drops or when their friends are watching. Includes support for Android's native notification channels so that users can silence notifications they don't find useful, and not all of the app's notifications.
  • Onboarding flows supporting registration and login with mobile phone numbers, username and profile creation, and permission
  • Working with contacts
  • Messaging support in rooms and public groups, including support for threading (comments, replies)
  • Profile management including the ability for users to update their profile pictures and delete their accounts, leveraging Android's implicit intents system to quickly develop functionality without requiring elevated gallery permissions
  • Support for both light and dark modes, with automated system detection support. It uses the user's preferred appearance mode initially, and also allows users to force either light or dark mode.

Here are some features that maybe developers and engineering teams care more about:

  • Architected the app in a way to be easily extendible using MVVM architecture
  • Compile-safe dependency injection with Hilt
  • Automated deployments of signed APKs to Firebase App Distribution so the internal team can get updates as they're ready and test them immediately
  • Automated signed builds of Android App Bundles for the Google Play Store so the team can focus on feature development
  • Type-safe navigation using Google's AndroidX navigation component and save arguments so that data can be passed across views in a compile-safe manner

Here are some things that stakeholders may care about:

  • Worked with design and decision makers to see how we can get the most done in such a tight time constraint
  • Making the right calls for trade-offs to make sure we get as much done as possible with the limited amount of time we have
  • Supported the team with launching the app in the Play Store, including foresight into what could go wrong in the app review and approval process and how we can be ahead of the game and make the right decisions from the start

Here are some links:

🚀 Launched May 2024

See Next great storytelling medium on Android
  • Android
  • Kotlin