Shopping convenience and reliability with a mobile application
Authors: Karolina Karolik
Solving shopping problems Interior furnishings should give your room a consistent style. Furnishing details, colours, shapes – all those elements should complement and harmonise with one another. Everyone understands this, but it's difficult to apply this principle in the store. A lamp or a chandelier in a shop window can present itself just perfectly, but will it look as good in the room where you plan to install it?
The ideal solution would be to look at it in your home before you buy it. But obviously you can't borrow a chandelier, hang it to see how it fits your room, and give back if you don’t like it. To meet this need, we created a special mobile application that allows the user to photograph an interior and then naturally place the selected chandelier in it where the “old” lamp is. Pretty clever, no? We implemented this solution for a Swedish lighting shop: Krebs Crystal Chandeliers.
Try before you buy
The purpose of this free application is simple: it allows a potential customer to check what a particular chandelier model will look like in their living-room or any other room in their home. Using a photo of the room, the application shows you a visualisation of the new lighting fixture in place of the one that is really there. Chandeliers from the Krebs Crystal Chandeliers catalogue are scaled automatically or manually in real time, and the new picture can be saved or shared with external networks.
The application also has a module for editing rooms, which includes an option to change the room arrangement or create a completely new room for the chandelier. The application allows the user to browse through all the models offered by the shop including their technical specification and prices. Products are divided into categories; they can be sorted and searched based on criteria such as style, colour and price.
Apart from the mobile app itself we designed an administrative panel to manage chandeliers, through which the shop owner can insert and describe new models. We also integrated the application with the customer's internet shop, Krebs.se, so they provide a consistent and interrelated user experience.
This job took us a lot of time; two developers and one graphics designer worked for six months on designing, coding and executing the application. There were the following stages of development:
• creating the application concept;
• preparing models;
• preparing designs;
• preparing documentation;
• developing the application;
• application implementation;
• publishing to the App Store.
Problems and solutions We created this application completely from A to Z. We delivered a product that meets the needs of both the client and the users. The client gets a tool for improving their sales and a professional, modern image of their brand. The users can make sure that a particular chandelier fits their interior. Of course we did encounter a few problems – without them our work would be boring
The biggest challenge for our team was to correctly present a chandelier on a mobile screen. The project manager, Tomasz Soroka, reports that visualising a chandelier in a natural way, so that it looks real, took many hours of work.
Another challenge was the algorithm used to remove the “old” lamp from the photo of the interior taken with the user's mobile device. The algorithm used advanced digital processing techniques.
To create the application we used the Xamarin app development platform. To set up the web panel we used the ASP.NET MVC framework. We used a REST API to integrate the application with the internet shop Krebs.se. The data is stored in the Azure cloud.
Thanks to this application, Krebs Crystal Chandeliers customers can, without leaving their home, see how a selected chandelier presents itself inside their rooms, using any mobile device with a camera running the iOS system.