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.