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Jan
20

Introducing Our New Chalkboard Facebook App

Over the past few months, most consumers who followed some locations for the latest updates of Today’s Specials, found difficulty in knowing what locations they have followed. One reason is that Chalkboard has often focussed our development towards the small and medium businesses and not towards consumers. One of our engineers, Anuj Bheda brought up this interesting perspective that we need a common focal point to get the consumers to be able to know what is going on around them, and suggest building a Facebook app. The technology team (including our designer Serge Baluyot) worked through the Christmas and New Year holidays, and finally, we like to introduce our new Chalkboard Facebook app.


The main page of the Chalkboard Facebook app.

We started along the line of thinking that Anuj indicated on how we can leverage Facebook to communicate to our consumers.

“One of the things we have never had at Chalkboard is a consumer facing dashboard to let users interact and engage with the small and medium businesses. We created the Chalkboard Facebook App to act as a one stop shop for our users to find out the todays specials around them, what their friends have been viewing, examples being freshly brewed coffee or newly imported beer and accordingly decide where the best place to hang out would be. Taking advantage of Facebook’s Social Graph and the recently announced Facebook Actions we hope to increase the sharing and discovery of specials coming from our merchant partners and induce a form of virality that will help them attract more customers. Another important use case we have tackled with this app is the ability to choose your location to find out the specials around that location rather than having it fixed at your physical location. Our design philosophy while building the application was to create something that lets users view, share and access content in as many few steps as possible.”

After all, Facebook has 800M users all over the world and the challenge now is to leverage the platform to help our small and medium businesses to engage with their customers using the social graph. Hence we started on building a Facebook that allows the consumers to discover new locations and engage with the small and medium businesses using our follow function. With the follow function, we gave the choice to the consumers who might want to subscribe and get updates via email and Facebook on the latest Today’s Specials to the location of their choice. In addition, we added a “recommend” function that allows any consumer to refer a location with an interesting Today’s Special to their friends. We also built an activity feed for the user to monitor what locations their friends are currently checking out:


The activity feed page where users can check out which locations their other friends are following. (Note that they can only view the activity of friends who are also users of the Chalkboard Facebook app).

As the app utilizes the geolocation capability on HTML5 browsers, we built an additional function called “Change Location” where a user can change the location of where they are to see what might be there in another location of their choice. Particularly for older browsers which are not geo-location compliant, the function will be of help.


The “Change Location” function that allows any user to change their location and discover interesting places of interest nearby.

The view we have for this Chalkboard app is an utility app to discover what is around you and engage with the businesses directly. The feedback from the consumers will be valuable to the businesses and help them to improve. However, this is only the beginning of the story because we will be introducing a few new features in the next couple of weeks to demonstrate how this fits into our roadmap in the future.


The location page when a user clicks on from the main page.


You can invite your friends to use the app.

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Nov
14

Chalkboard Tutorial: Update Today’s Specials with Twitter

While we have made some recent improvements to our Chalkboard dashboard, we have produced a series of videos that can help them to use our system better. In the final of our three parter series, we have produced a video to teach our small and medium business (SMB) owners how to update their today’s specials with Twitter. Our twitter integration allows the SMB owner to send out Today’s Specials via twitter, ignoring replies (@), hashtags (#) and retweets (RTs).

Nov
10

Chalkboard Tutorial: Update Today’s Specials with SMS

While we have made some recent improvements to our Chalkboard dashboard, we have produced a series of videos that can help them to use our system better. In the second of our three parter series, we have produced a video to teach our small and medium business (SMB) owners how to update their today’s specials with SMS. Currently, updating SMS is supported in three countries: Singapore, Malaysia and United States. All you have to do is to link your mobile number with our system and you can update immediately by SMS to the number in the country you are based in: Singapore ( +65 96463645), Malaysia (+60 12-3768651) and United States (+1-424-242-5580).

Nov
9

Chalkboard Tutorial: Update Today’s Specials with Web Dashboard

While we have made some recent improvements to our Chalkboard dashboard, we have produced a series of videos that can help them to use our system better. In the first of the three parter, we provide a video to teach our small and medium business (SMB) owners how to update their today’s specials with our new web dashboard. With our new dashboard, making these updates are now simple and easy.

Oct
31

Facebook Pages & Places with Chalkboard Updates

We are excited since last Friday to launch a new feature which our customers have requested for the past many months. Despite some SMB owners to spread updates of their Today’s Specials to their friends across the social network, they hope that the same update can be broadcast into their Facebook Page and Place page as well. We have successfully made this feature happen, and for some business owners who prefer to use their page instead of their personal profile. Here’s a video to describe our new feature:

Chalkboard: Integration with Facebook Places & Pages from Chalkboard on Vimeo.

A video to demo how a small and medium business (SMB) can use Chalkboard to send updates of Today’s Specials via Facebook Pages and Places.

Oct
28

Re-Imagining the Chalkboard Dashboard

For a long time, the Chalkboard technology team wanted to revamp the Chalkboard dashboard. The main reason is that we have many feedback an thoughts from our customers: the small and medium business (SMB) owners. So, after two months of work across the quiet summer, we have re-imagined the Chalkboard dashboard, focus specifically on solving the common issues raised by our customers: one, a seamless dashboard that helps them to update Today’s Specials with a easy to use interface; two, an activity feed that provides simplified statistics to let them know who are viewing, visiting and contact their business locations and three, improving the management of the locations with search functions and easy to view heatmap. In this blog post, we like to take you through how the SMB owner can navigate through the new dashboard. Read More

Sep
19

Chalkboard on MongoDB

Over the past few months, the amount of data in Chalkboard has been growing at a tremendous rate, and we are close to our 100M impressions mark within the next few days. Over weeks of effort, we have successfully migrated 100M of data records on how consumers view our data from mobile and web into MongoDB successfully. Understanding how consumers are interacting with Chalkboard via the mobile and web is currently one of the major challenges we face here. For our merchants, we have helped them to understand their offline marketing via heatmap, but with so much data, we can construct much more interesting patterns out of them. That can only be done with a strong and robust database infrastructure. We will be releasing interesting data across the next couple of days about interesting patterns that we have found from our data. In the meantime, Chalkboard is now on the production deployments of MongoDB page.
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