Small World

UI/UX Design Brings a Startup Concept to Life


What if using social media at work wasn’t synonymous with wasteful distraction? The Small World application sought to answer this question by taking the powerful engagement attributes of the typical social media sites and wrapping them into a fluid environment focused on generating meaningful connections. Where LinkedIn and Facebook connect digital profiles, Small World goes a step further. On a layover for a few hours? Why not have a cup of coffee with another professional in the same airport? Or strike up a direct message thread with someone in your network? With these actions Small World taps into the most powerful, time-tested business generation model: cultivating real, human connections.


Small World


  • Application UI Design
  • Native Application
  • Product Design



02Branding Authentic Connections

We can’t escape our need to establish deep interpersonal connections. Take a look around. Nearly every technological advancement is somehow manipulated to facilitate relationships. Brands that enable real social bonds will be valued, even loved. The team at Small World recognized these facts and wanted to develop an app that brought authenticity to the professional relationship. Feel the same way? It’s a small world.


Where will the app be used? What tools do professionals need to facilitate relationships and create ‘warm’ leads? Answering these questions began with persuasive colors in the four major application templates. We coated the Feed and Intro sections with hues that produce happiness and optimism. Trust and time are crucial when evaluating professional connections. We used schemes that fuel honesty on Messaging screens to facilitate forthcoming communication. For direct Notifications and Alerts, we selected empowering tones rather than the commonly used cautionary/anger shades. Finally, we employed ‘desire’ tones on the Connections template because nurturing relationships is what the platform thrives on. Pairing this theory with deliberate user actions produced an interface scientifically geared for commercial-grade relationship management.

03When Art Meets Arithmetic

We’ve all used apps that display every function on screen at all times; but where do you click when every item seems relevant? Fluid navigation begins and ends with simplicity and the Small World application embraces the ‘less is more’ philosophy as it affords users effortless exploration within a robust interface.

Small World’s UI is mathematically crafted to ensure each element’s position is consistent, relevant, and ‘within thumb,’ meaning the user can navigate with a single hand.

04Your new referral engine is here

This isn’t a Facebook experience. Small World is built for professionals. Users can find, refer, and request new connections. Denying or removing a connection can be made with simple, deliberate gestures.

Users can personalize their level of accessibility based on real-time availability and overall desire to network. Unprofitable communication has been eliminated so Small World can bring actual impact to your bottom line. Set to launch Q4 2015, Small World is going to change the way professionals do business.

05Native vs. Hybrid vs. Web Apps

This conversation has quickly evolved over the last 300 days as Apple and Android widened their use of the traditional web languages and libraries (HTML5, CSS, JS, etc). Last year, over 40% of apps on the iTunes and Google Play stores used some type of hybrid functionality (meaning they’re weren’t fully native). This trend is projected to increase into the future. Let’s examine why.

In the past, native applications have offered one, superior feature — performance. Building a native app ensures functionality is packaged, repackaged, and presented at optimal speeds. Native apps take full advantage of all device functionality where hybrid/web apps have historically fallen short. Native apps, however, require much higher costs to build and maintain, offer very little transferability (code isn’t shared between iOS/Android), and often restrict your business to a specific team of engineers long term.

The release of Apple’s iOS 8 generated a major shift in the application industry. iOS 8 was Apple’s admission that web functionality and standards had progressed to the forefront of capability. The new operating system is so accommodating to ‘web’ (HTML5, CSS, JS) development, let’s look at just a few improvements Ross Gerbasi of Sencha identified:

Mixed SupportiOS 7.0-7.1iOS 8
Blending of HTML/ SVG ElementsNoYes
CSS Background Blend ModeNoYes
CSS Shapes Level 1NoYes
WebGL - 3D Canvas GraphicsNoYes
HTML TemplatesNoYes
Navigation Timing APINoYes
Srcset AttributeNoYes
High Resolution Time APINoYes
SPDY Networking ProtocolNoYes
Animated PNGNoYes
SVG Fragment IdentifiersNoYes
CSS3 Object-fit /Object-PositioningNoPartial
Text Decoration StylingNoPartial

If nothing else, the table above shows us the writing’s on the wall — hybrid applications are the future. Hybrid applications are much cheaper and quicker to build. A single code base performs on multiple platforms (separate iOS & Android versions aren’t necessary) and takes advantage of native device functionality. Finally, hybrid apps are simpler to maintain because they’re based on standardized languages known to a large, global audience, rather than a select few.

Web applications are strong options for businesses as they use the same web standards as hybrid applications and allow for instant, platform-wide updates while maintenance and hosting costs are minimized. Web apps serve as great starting points as they maximize visibility (desktop, tablet, smartphone) while monetization is refined.

Based on your specific need, each type of application is the most appropriate solution. An app will revolutionize your organization and the way you relate with your customers. The future is exciting and capable, choose wisely.

What if there isn't an app for that? Let’s build one.

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