Mobile Apps: The Evolution of a Mobile App
The top brass at TextureMedia (formerly The NaturallyCurly Network), a social network and community for people with wavy, curly, kinky hair and the brands and professionals who service them, launched a multifunctional, free mobile application called Curls on the Go this past summer.
Why did the Austin, Tex.-based company launch a mobile app instead of a mobile website? Because that's what its devoted followers wanted.
"Last year we started thinking about going mobile and started talking to our audience about it, and we learned that they're always on the go," says TextureMedia CEO Crista Bailey. "As as a result, we wanted an app. In fact, the mobile app's content and functionality were community vetted prior to release and prioritized as indispensable information when it comes to curly hair."
NaturallyCurly.com is the company's flagship brand. It attracts 700,000 unique monthly visitors. Other TextureMedia sites include CurlStylist.com, a community for stylists servicing a curly clientele; CurlMart.com, an e-commerce site with more than 60 brands and 550 community-vetted products; and CurlyNikki.com, a blog on ethnic hair.
"What we didn't want to do is throw everything from our website onto the iPhone or Android," says Bailey. "We sent a survey to our subscribers this last winter asking them what they thought would make the app indispensable and functional. We wanted to know what would make them pick it up every day." Within 24 hours of sending the survey, TextureMedia had 1,500 responses.
About the App
Curls on the Go is a targeted app designed to sell products and provide reviews, weather forecasts and recommendations to all people with curly, wavy or textured hair.
"We developed this as a tool that could be used on a daily basis to help solve problems for this audience, who were looking for styles while on the go," says Bailey. The app is designed to be personalized to each user. When a user first downloads the app, for example, it asks her several questions about her hair. Once the user's hair type is recognized — she could be a 2C, meaning her hair is wavy or a 3C, meaning her hair is kinky/curly — products and videos related to that hair type are served up to her.