A popular community with over 11.8 million members. 

    Project Idea

    Our task was to create a crypto social network where authors could publish and monetize their content: the more popular the post, the higher the reward.  

    • Authors get rewarded for their content with cryptocurrency which they may either send to an exchange or convert into another cryptocurrency or dollars.  
    • The regular users are rewarded with cryptocurrency as well depending on their engagement, but are unable to withdraw or convert it. For them, it’s more of an internal currency, which they may deposit and spend in the app. 
    • Advertisers can top up their balance by cashless payments, purchase cryptocurrency, and spend it on ads.

    The feed reflects user preferences defined by views, likes and dislikes, comments, user and author locations, etc. 

    This social network supports weighted voting. In other words, the more power your vote has, the more weight your like holds, and the more it affects the success of this or that post, giving the post, in turn, more weight.

    This app was developed in 2018.


    In-app video player

    We were to create a video player inside the app and make it autoplay videos in the feed. Since only a handful of apps had their own video players at the time and finding a third-party solution was problematic, our task was far from trivial. 

    In particular, it was pretty hard to ensure high performance in a feed packed with video clips. We had gone through a number of formats and approaches and, in the end, came up with our own solution. 

    Now, you can not only view the video clips right in the feed but also record yourself via the app interface and add GIFs. The size of a video does not affect its quality. 

    Drag-and-drop: posting and viewing made easy

    Apps use drag-and-drop so that: 

    • Content creators can drag and rearrange text, video and audio blocks as they are publishing their material, e.g., an article; 
    • Users can go from one post to another by swiping them left or right, nice and easy. 

    Furthermore, this feature helps put extra emphasis on ad publications. Scrolling the feed up or down makes it so much easier to skip an ad compared to viewing posts separately on full screen and going through them with a swipe.

    Implementing drag-and-drop may seem like a piece of cake now, but in 2018, when we first started working on the project, it was not an easy thing to do. The biggest challenge, though, was not the feature itself but adding ads at specific intervals. 

    Thanks to swiping, users could go from one post to another in a flash, so the hardest thing to do was make sure that ads appeared in between them on time.  


    During the six months on the project, Surf had: 

    • Implemented the design based on the finalized concept and run a range of tests thus finding ways to upgrade the existing solution; 
    • Developed native apps for iOS and Android; 
    • Helped get the project ready for further in-house development — we held brief interviews, onboarded the newcomers, and handed in the documentation on testing and automation tests.

    Below you’ll find a brief overview of the most significant stages in this project’s development.


    Improved design for several elements in the app + game mechanics

    Initially, the client came to us with a full design concept for the app, but specific elements of it could use a bit of twitching. For example, in order to boost traffic, our client added game mechanics: users were awarded stars as part of a rating system. 

    Anyone could earn a star for their engagement on the social network. The more appealing a star was, the more demand it created, and the easier it was to boost traffic.  

    To help the client get the most out of these mechanics, we suggested 12+ different designs for the star, tested out the best ones, and let the users decide, which design they like the most.   

    Key features


    At the end of each day, week, and month, those with the most likes make it to the leaderboard. With a leaderboard available, users are more willing to follow some of the leaders. That way, content creators who have made it to the leaderboard get an extra chance to gain more followers. 

    What’s in it for the client? A chance to become a leader makes content creators compete, which means creating as much content as they can.

    User roles

    The most active users are granted moderator rights by the client, which means they can ban and delete posts if deemed inappropriate. 

    Push notifications enabled

    Say a user leaves a comment under a post. They are then shown a dialog that suggests enabling push notifications. That way, they can see when someone replies to their comment. We also remind creators about push notifications after they publish their first post, so that they don’t miss a single like their post gets.

    Push notifications are implemented via Google Cloud Messaging; we send these from the backend.

    Over 20 A/B tests run during development

    We have tested various types of boxes for push notifications and tried showing them in several spots around the screen. 

    We have tested quite a few types of feeds and narrowed it down to two options: a single post taking up the entire screen and a grid (with multiple posts visible to a user simultaneously). The users voted 50/50, so we kept both options.

    A slew of A/B tests were run to make the registration process clear and easy. Because the app had no specific button, users had to tap the network icon to get registered or log in. 

    To find out the most intuitive way to do that and see if users understand how the process works, we tested various social networks and tried rearranging UI elements on the log-in screen. 

    According to experts at Surf, MDK has the highest test coverage of all our projects (90–95%). In addition to the things mentioned earlier, we have tested a number of design elements, feed and profile settings, registration via other social networks, and more. 

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    Vladi Makeew

    CEO of Surf
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