Having heard about our talent in building exceptional, technically complex apps, Kai Apeltauer turned to simpleTechs for the realization of his Flatss project, the concept of which was to simplify the online housing hunting process with the help of short videos. As we are always on the lookout for new challenges, we were excited to build the right app for him.
After examining the online application process for shared flats, Kai Apeltauer realized that the main problem lay in rating all possible candidates and in deciding on the best fit – an often time-consuming and unnerving process. In order to provide users with a better first impression of potential candidates as well as flats and flatmates, his goal was to revolutionize the market by introducing short, personal videos instead of the traditional written ads.
The result is Flatss, an online housing platform in which flatmates provide interested users with a short video about their flat and themselves and explain what they are looking for in their new flatmate. People looking for shared flats are asked to introduce themselves and what they are looking for in their future home in short videos, as well. All users are invited to set up profiles in order to either offer a room or search for one. By adjusting the settings, they can view the different existing flat ads sorted by region, price, and room size. Of course, every flat posting can be shared through social media by using its individual landing page. These landing pages link back to the app so that interested parties can apply directly.
The first version of Flatss is currently available for all iOS and Android devices. The iOS app has been programmed with Swift 2.0 while the one for android was built in Java. For the backend, we used NoteJS as it is famous for its performance and ability to handle great demand.
One of the main challenge of this project was to play potentially large videos files on small devices with a high resolution. We solved this issue by compressing the videos, reducing the bit rate, and including fewer pictures per second. Thus, we are able to guarantee a high video quality while reducing the file size by up to 90% and keeping the data volume low. Now users can film videos spontaneously or upload existing files without having to fear a quality loss. In addition, we ensured that every video dimension looks the same, regardless of whether the video was filmed in a portrait or landscape format.
Furthermore, we integrated a chat system which allows the sharing videos, photos and text messages with interested candidates and flat owners. Every time a new message or a new video is sent, the recipient gets a push notification on their mobile device or receives an email through the app. By using Flatss, both parties save time and money in the application process.