About

ALEX NORMAN, AN ENTREPRENEUR WITH EXPERIENCE DEVELOPING CONTENT AND DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST KNOWN COMPANIES HAD AN IDEA FOR A STARTUP

Having worked with some of world’s best known companies, including American Express, Ford, Sony, HSBC, Microsoft, AND Dell, Alex Norman always knew that marketing a product was never a challenge for him, building it was.

Alex identified a need for a community portal to help residents of New York city apartment buildings connect and communicate effortlessly with each other. He wanted to create a centralized platform to make it easier for residents to access resources and services and also make living in a building more fun and rewarding.

Challenge

The client had a clear vision of the features and the concept. However, like most of our clients, he had a paucity of technical know-how that is required to successfully build the portal as envisioned. In addition to this, being a self-funded startup, he was looking to develop a portal at an optimal cost. Therefore, instead of building a custom software solution, he wanted to customize an off-the-shelf software product. The client was looking to partner with a software development vendor who could deliver a ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) in a short duration, within a moderate budget. The following were the key requirements for the portal:

simple-registration

Simple registration

Should be a free private social platform that allows neighbors and fellow residents to easily register using their Facebook IDs.

Easy to locate buildings

Should help residents locate their own building and connect easily with other buildings in their neighborhood and across the city.

easy-to-locate-building
collbarative-platform

Collaborative platform

Be a product that transforms the way urban neighbors communicate, connect and collaborate with each other and allow them.

  • To collaborate and share ideas for improving building amenities
  • To reach out to members of the community conveniently – to buy and sell used furniture, electronics etc.
simple-registration

Simple registration

Should be a free private social platform that allows neighbors and fellow residents to easily register using their Facebook IDs.

easy-to-locate-building

Easy to locate buildings

Should help residents locate their own building and connect easily with other buildings in their neighborhood and across the city.

collbarative-platform

Collaborative platform

Be a product that transforms the way urban neighbors communicate, connect and collaborate with each other and allow them.

  • To collaborate and share ideas for improving building amenities
  • To reach out to members of the community conveniently – to buy and sell used furniture, electronics etc.
userauthentication

User authentication

Should verify members when they register to join the portal and validate information, before they are allowed to join the MyCoop building

Solution

Our team built the community social networking portal http://www.mycoop.com using an award–winning open source social networking engine, namely ELGG. We adapted the framework to accommodate complex design requirements, and built a robust, scalable and user-friendly community portal with all the essential collaborative features for better engagement and interaction.

ELGG is a PhP based social networking framework with a MySQL backend. JQuery and Ajax were used extensively as front-end coding languages to make the site responsive. Leveraging the comprehensive framework of ELGG, we developed a robust social platform and adapted the framework to suit the requirements and complex design of MyCoop. The portal includes the following features:

User validation and authentication

The portal sends activation link to the registered e-mail ID to validate user information.

Discussion forum

Provides an intuitive and collaborative platform that enables residents of residential buildings to interact and engage with neighbors from the same building, society or neighboring buildings.

Building notification

The application sends alerts and notifications to residents of apartment buildings about events and safety issues.

Marketplace

The marketplace provides a secure platform that allows members to trade used furniture, household items and appliances amongst themselves.

Simplified user management

Includes several access control levels to enable granular permission setup, personalized access to plugins and customization of site appearance.

Quick registration

It takes only 30 seconds to sign up. The user does not have to create a new ID for MyCoop, they can simply use their Facebook login ID to join the web portal.

portal

Results

MyCoop has been ratified by its user community as a very effective platform that provides an opportunity for residents with matching interests to connect easily. MyCoop helps residents and communities in several ways such as:

result_1

Enhanced community involvement

The portal has helped residents connect, collaborate and interact effortlessly to share and crowd source ideas for building a connected and dynamic community.

result_2

Increased participation

Easy registration has encouraged residents to join the portal and get access to current events and information that in turn has enhanced participation in community events, meetings and gatherings.

solution_info

Outcome

signup

Signup from new families and residents

Buildings listed with MyCoop can be easily searched and located by users. As soon as apartments are available, prospective clients get notified, and this has helped attract a lot of new families to the community.

rapidly-growing

Rapidly growing user and building registrations

Currently, the portal has 65,000 registered users with more than 400 buildings that have already signed up, and the user base is rapidly growing.

Interested in discussing a custom social network idea that you have?