Spotkit is a geo-tagging mobile application that lets you save your favourite places locally and while travelling to a list that friends can see and search.
There may be an abundance of “the Next big apps” out there and in a very competitive market I wish every developer the best of luck. In order to be successful in this ever-expanding market I feel you need to establish key 3 things:
- Is there a problem and a solution?
- Is there a gap in the market?
- Do you have the skills and drive to make and implement the solution?
Does SpotKit have the answers to this conundrum? and are they on their way to success?
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How I Found SpotKit
Firstly, I am not an affiliate marketer, the views I express in this article are purely my own of the back of a chance encounter with SpotKit. That’s not to say I won’t be willing discuss opportunities with affiliates out there or if you are a new developer and you want anhonest review and tester for your product please contact email@example.com to have a discussion. SpotKit has no way approached or paid anything for this review.
So this is a story about boy focuses on twitter, tweets, Spotkit likes tweet, boy finds Spotkit, Boy reviews SpotKit. Admittedly, that story is not going to be the latest Zac Effron ROM-COM, but I think it has a certain social-media sweetness to it. Don't you?
I’m currently trying to expand my twitter and interact more, so I contacted Spotkit and thanked them for a recent like and follow from one of my tweets. After asking them a couple of queries about their company and their app. I then suggested an interview, app trial and review; th eepurpos so that I can build my skillset and they can get some additional exposure and lovely jubly backlinks. Potentially a win-win, or a lose-lose if I hated it and Spotkit hate my review.
Initial Trial Period
I purposely did not ask Spotkit about any of the app functionality or intent so that I could have the full user experience. The app is available for free in the app store (I’m an I-phone user so all of my review will be based on the IOS10 interface). The SpotKit app, at the time, being so new, did not have any reviews or ratings in the appstore, which to be honest is something that would normally prevent me from downloading it, I tend to stay away from anything under 4stars, unless your Facebook (2 stars) and that is only because of its calendar function. As SpotKit is new so I can’t hold that against it. The description in the Appstore is detailed and I was specifically intrigued by this text
“Find truly unique local gems unsearchable on other mobile platforms.” SpotKit, Iphone App-Store, 2015
Say whaaaaaat! There could be something to this app. Normally, I wouldn’t have read an app description in so much detail and feel that this is a key element and may be better emphasised in the description or brought above the fold.
The first thing that struck me on instillation was the design. Greeted by the SpotKit logo overlaying a number of small photographs, it then quickly loads to the setup screen and some good imagery of a man dangling his feet with a total disregard for health and safety. The font and style of SpotKit has obviously had a lot of love put into it.
Signup is quick, easy and intuitive and took seriously less than a minute.
I’m a fan of design (hence DesignUntapped) and I do believe some of the best and hardest design is making something simple yet intuitive while not compromising on the aesthetic. Think about it that is what Apples IPhone success is based on, its what Google does better than all search engines that compete with it.
Using Spotkit is quite simply, a breeze, it is very intuitive, good design means that before your know it you are directed to the +button at the base of the interface. You then take photographs or select a previous photograph (this will then read the location of the photograph, if you have this setting turned on). Type what you want to call the address (this then links to provide an actual address, if it exists). Then you select a category, unfortunately, you have to select one of the pre-existing categories so you may have to find the best fit. Post it and it is now shared as one of your places. I’ve tested this with a number of places, some existing places and others such as one of my lunchtime spots, i’ve also added some surf spots. So i can see how rapidly the database of places could expand.
As the app is in a beta testing stage there isn’t a lot of people on there, however the follow function is intuitive and there is comment and like functionality for your followers. I do see the social aspect and sharing thing as something that could be improved, it would be great if I could share a spot to a “real” friend (i.e. not an app follower) via text message/email.
SpotKit, Interview with CEO and Developer Steve Danelian.
Here at DesignUntapped we provide quality and deep content, so inline with this ethos, i’ve tried to go the extra mile and interview the CEO and Developer of SpotKit, Steve Danelian.
I wanted to get a flavour of who is the driving force behind SpotKit and where it is going. So I spoke to Steve , out of his Studio in Los Angeles, myself in mine in sunny Perth, Australia. Steve struck me as charismatic with a clear drive for where his company is going. He had an energy like the energiser bunny that can only come from being passionate about his product and he was very open in our discussion and very engaging.
Spotkit - How the idea was developed?
Steve is a professional photographer and spent circa 20 years travelling the globe, scouting locations for shoots. He would find any number of wonderful places and then come home to his girlfriend (now wife), 3 dogs and friends and recommend some of the places he had found. As a photographer, often these places aren't typically in your Lonely Planet guide books or nowadays written on Trip Advisor or Yelp, some of the greatest places Steve found, would be free to view, idyllic and inspiring. He identifies that this was his Eureka in the bath moment. No other medium out there was marketed towards this unique experience and SpotKit was born as a virtual tool to recreate this experience.
Competitors - How do you and Spotkit differ from your rivals?
The likes of instagram are great for sharing imagery but Steve identified that the gap is location content and how the software manages the geo-information in an intuitive manner. He has spent a long time developing the app, and lots of trial and error to develop it into its current intuitive form. Stever seemed to very pleased with my feedback about the apps user friendly interface and stated that this was no fluke, this is design development.
SpotKit - What Next?
Steve is now 100% in promotion, funding and business development mode. He outlined some of his business plan to me (which I won't divulge) but what i will see is that their is a clear focus, targeted marker and a strategy. Steve highlights that the key demographic is the 18-34 market but doesn't see why people of all ages won't become fans of the app. The next stage on the user side is to partner with some "Expert Curators" whom are essentially superusers. These are the guys and gals with extensive local knowledge to build the database of places throughout the world. That way when someone visits a town, city or rural area, following the Expert Curator will establish a virtual tour guide to find wonderful bars, hikes, meditation places, gorgeous scenery and fantastic food.
The Positives of SpotKit
I see spotkit different to Yelp or Google Places. This is a way of humanising the recommendations of others. A way of sharing off-the-beaten track finds and favourite spots, a view or a hike or a surf spot. You can’t find those recommendations in Trip Advisor. Steve at SpotKit akined it to someone coming home from a vacation and recommending that lovely place that they stumbled onto following a walk or a chance encounter from a fellow traveller.
Recommendations and Improvements for SpotKit
- I think SpotKit really need to promote the uniqueness aspect of their app to make it stand out from the crowd of apps.
- The social aspect of the app could do with being improved and having some cross-interaction between other apps and email.
- The category function could be improved to be more flexible (but according to Steve this is already in hand).
- I think the User Profile could benefit from additional meta-data, as a thrill seeker may not have the same interests as a retired artist. Even an age range could be useful.
In summary I have thoroughly enjoyed my trial of SpotKit (it will be staying on my phone). I like the simplistic, powerful and intuitive (there's that word again) interface and the idea of digitising the local knowledge for recommendations for places off the beaten track. It is potentially a quality mobile tool to share your favourite spots, places, hikes, surfspots with an intuitive interface that makes it a joy to use.
Is there room for improvement, definitely. Do I see SpotKit implementing and developing improvements, you betcha. The success of an app, once the idea is actualised comes down to marketing and exposure, the key for SpotKit is to grow, understand its users and implement a marketing strategy to expand. Fingers crossed for Steve and SpotKit that this app has the legs to develop.
SpotKit is available on the App Store. For news about SpotKit check out @spotkit on twitter or contact Steve@spotkit.com.
Take a look at designuntapped totes for when you are out and about finding and sharing all these wonderful places.
Love N Stuff,
Andy @ DesignUntapped
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