My name is Jeremy Olu and I am a .NET developer who studied Computing at Nottingham Trent University. I have always had a passion for web development and technology, the idea of creating and developing real-life products and services that can be used to assist or entertain users is something that I always strived to accomplish.
Creating Dateflix was something that I always wanted to do. I remember sitting in my uni room with a bowl of Indomie (instant noodles) and my laptop planning – jotting down notes, creating wireframes, writing code to produce some sort of prototype. I tend to do this a lot, but on this occasion, I had no idea how I would design and develop this idea. I knew what I wanted to achieve but was not sure of the execution.
Fast forward to July 2020 – a period of uncertainty due to the current pandemic – which resulted in a worldwide lockdown. Working from home and having so much time on my hands, I managed to find the motivation to start developing Dateflix.
What is Dateflix?
Dateflix is a directory service that allows users to browse through exclusive categories of dates and activities in London tailed to their relationship status or situationship (a romantic relationship that is undefined or uncommitted). Dateflix aims to solve the problem of not knowing where to go, by providing a collection of locations tailored to a user’s life choices and situations.
I decided to create this because of the sole purpose that young people do not like to google. Yes, you heard me. Googling where to go on a date almost seems cringe to an extent, think about it – how many times have you googled “where to go for drinks in London?” or “best fun dates in London” – rarely I guess. Young people do not have the time or patience to be scanning through webpages, blogs or checking sites such as TripAdvisor or DesignMyNight. Not to say that there is anything wrong with doing so – but this is a rare act. Young people rely on word of mouth from friends and family and use social media platforms like Snapchat – seeing friends snap a particular location and enquiring where it is or seeing a location/activity on Instagram and taking a screenshot or saving the post, as well as viewing locations complied in a twitter thread – you see where I am coming from? It is social media, that is the source!
As a result to this – I wanted to merge some social media elements and create a website/web app which incorporated some of these aspects and current trends of the culture to give users a unique and relatable experience, as well as aiding them in finding locations/activities with a twist. The twist being categories for relationships such as “romantic”, “talking stage” and situationships including “friends with benefits”, “entanglements”, as well as other categories such as “boujie”, “turn ups” and many more.
I decided to incorporate the nomenclature of categories to ensure relatable content for users – which for me was one of the most important aspects to capture user’s attention. An example being using current affairs in showbiz and incorporating that into the web app with the category called – “entanglements” – a word used by Jada Pinket to describe her extramarital relationship that she experienced with August Alsina in 2015. This is just one example of how I have used cultural affairs to capture the target audience. Another example is the term “boujie” – an informal term used to describe something as superior, elegant or of high class – I used to this term for a category which includes the elegant, high class and beautiful locations/dates in London.
Dateflix initially was meant to be a personal project – so I did not worry too much about what technology or language that would be most suitable to use. I did not want to waste time, so I just started building the application. I chose to develop the application with .NET as the backend – initially, it was meant to be a website, however, I wanted to give a more unique and trendy experience so I decided to create a web app (a website that has some behaviour of a native app but on the mobile browser). As a result, I could fully focus on designing and developing the mobile side of things, without worrying about desktop elements.
Front end technologies included HTML5, CSS, JS & backend stack consisted of ASP.NET MVC and SQL for the database. I also included some Google Analytics so I could monitor what users where clicking such as the locations, links, buttons, login, signups – enabling me to make personalised experiences for users, as well as making more informed business choices based on user trends and behaviour.
Dateflix currently includes simple features for users to use for free. A collection of activities and locations based on categories is displayed on the home screen/ home page – enabling users to start exploring straight away without having the need to register.
- A date randomiser is implemented for users like me who struggle to find where to go or what to do. Dateflix aims to solve the this problem, but also creates a new problem by supplying vast amounts of locations – the randomiser is a great feature that can be used to address this and supply a location at random, without having the user needing to scroll for days.
- An explore page is also supplied in the application – displaying a selection of locations at random, with an image of the location and name. This was inspired by Instagram’s explore screen, allowing users to view various locations.
- Bucket list – a favourite feature – enabling users to save locations in list on their device, without having to worry about keeping lists, saving twitter threats or screenshotting and saving images of locations. The bucket list will keep a list of the places you plan on visiting.
- Profile – signup/login feature allowing users to sign up enabling them to save locations to their bucket list. Users who do not register cannot save items to the bucket list.
Future of Dateflix
Dateflix has taken off well since the launch 3 weeks ago with thousands of page views, users and sessions. The main objective right now is content – to get as much content on the application as possible, content being the locations and activities in London. Aiming to add 90% of locations in London by the end of the year is the goal, which a subscription-based service would be soon to follow and be implemented for the premium locations/activities – allowing users to view hidden/premium locations/categories with a possible meal and drinks deals at a £2.00 per month fee that would be billed monthly. Currently, the service is free but for a limited time – users who do not subscribe will only be able to view limited locations.
A new and improved UI will be implemented soon thanks to feedback from users on how to improve the UI and UX.
A native mobile app has been discussed and will be developed in the future, allowing users to download the app on the Appstore and Google Play Store, possibly next year.
Different cities, maybe another country? – Yes, this is a possibility – the success of the launch introduced many questions on whether this could be brought to many other locations in the UK and in the world. The aim is to complete at least 90% of locations in the capital – judging how users react to the subscription-based service, another city could also be added, possibly Birmingham or Nottingham in the midlands and Manchester up north, as well as other countries such as the United States.
Dateflix has the potential to become something great and will become something great. I knew this when I started building the application, so I was not shocked by the response when I first tweeted it. This was needed, the integration of cultural trends, the nomenclature of categories and selection of user’s life choices and situations with potentially thousands of locations will surely put a twist into how young people find dates now. Surprisingly, based on the analytics there were more males on the application that females when launched – which goes to show how Dateflix can/is changing the perception of finding and going on dates. It shouldn’t be a one-way thing, it shouldn’t be scary – it should be fun and now easier with Dateflix.