For me, Reserverr was really a unique project. It was by far the largest scale project that I’ve ever worked on, and it challenged me consistently. I still feel like a project like Reserverr has the ability to be successful, but I want to point out a few of the things that I overlooked, and what I think we did especially well, when building Reserverr. It is my sincere hope that reading this short article will help others to better plan their ideas and watch for the pitfalls that I missed.
Have a Great Admin Panel
If you plan to build a good web application, you must have a fully-fledged administrative panel. The front-end is one thing, but the back-end is another that is almost always overlooked. You should invest a lot of resources in your back-end because administrators like you will be looking at this to work on the application. In Reserverr’s case, we needed the administrative panel to mark reservations as “Complete”.
Another issue that we faced with “complete” reservations was the myriad statuses that were available. We had a status for, “called”, “failed”, “declined”, and about one hundred others. Each status had a minute difference to the other, but there was no documentation, and developers confused the difference among all of the statuses. Tracking reservations was difficult, and in many cases we found ourselves making the calls ourself just to check up.
A Sleek Design Is a Must
One of the things that made Reserverr stand out was its slick design. Having a nice design is just one thing that makes users want to come to your site because, in a way, it can be like interacting with a work of art. We even had plans for an iPhone app that had never been completed (pictured below).
Pictured here is also the first design of the web application (pictured below). Throughout the year and a half that Reserverr ran, we made numerous changes to the interface, but it always generally resembled a calendar:
Know Public Relations & Have a Big Launch
The Reserverr launch was quite successful. We created a Launchrock-like campaign where users would be able to bypass the line by tweeting about us. We found that this was relatively successful, and we approved about five new users each day. One of the first things that got us some initial momentum was submitting simple releases about Reserverr to sites that like to cover new web applications. Due to the complex (at times, “magical”) nature of Reserverr, getting press wasn’t very difficult. We only needed to prove that it worked.
Before Reserverr, I never understood why people complained that simple web applications took so much work and upkeep. I don’t plan to build any more free public web applications because hitting the “critical mass” is an issue that many people overlook or oversimplify; finding core users is hard. Even though I wouldn’t build another web application, that isn’t to say that Reserverr was not an incredible experience. I worked with a great partner, and I got to spend some of my first time in the press. These were two invaluable experiences that I would never trade.