June Release: Re-designed navigation, video lookbook refinements, automated splash screen uploads & more

Lærke

Lærke

It’s time for the June release! Our teams have built a number of incredible features and improvements again. In this release, we improved several of our core features, plus adding new ones to the family. You will now be able to easily upload branded media via Studio, video lookbooks have been refined to give them that extra finesse & much more. We’ve also put a ton of work into improving the security of our platform and overall made it faster and more flexible.  Check it out now.


Platform Update – June 2021

🚀 New features


Android

Phones are getting bigger, and for your app to be as sleek as possible, we need to allow users to navigate one-handed through their app. That’s why we have worked on a complete redesign of the navigation on Android which improves the way Android users navigate your categories. When we redesigned the navigation for iOS we retained the unique qualities of:

  • Always be able to see your current position in the navigation
  • Always be able to see more navigation options
  • Show product results with every navigation step

And the same qualities now apply to Android navigation. Moving the navigation element from the top of your category views to the bottom helps reachability and ease of use which is why, in our previous release, we established the foundations for a complete navigation redesign on Android to create a similar navigation experience to the one we released for iOS last year.

During the project, we made some decisions that resulted in rewriting a significant part of the fundamental logic behind the navigation and category behavior, enabling us to make a complete redesign of the whole navigation on Android. We proudly present the end result: a heavily optimized navigation bar, that allows users to easily navigate the app and never lose track of where they are in the app.

How does it work?

The Android bottom navigation will soon be available on all Android apps out-of-the-box.

Backend, Android

New Products Model on Android (phase 2)

To stay on top of the game, you need an app that is flexible and performs actions fast and responsive. For our apps to do so, we constantly work on improving the backend of the platform. For example, we upgraded the product model on Android by reworking the product’s APIs in the last cycle, allowing us to continue improving this cycle.

As we are refactoring how product data is handled and upgraded, this phase was used to update the product business models used on product list pages, such as categories, search, featured products, and related products to match the new product model.

iOS

Video lookbook refinements

We are impressed with all the great video lookbooks we currently see on the platform and want to make the experience even better for both your users and the brand. During this cycle, we made some refinements to video lookbooks on iOS to make it easier to create them in Studio and make the experience better for your users. In the next cycle, we will pick up the same project for Android.

Improvements

We started by updating the preview video on the Home Merchandise overview, which means that we will auto-generate a preview of the video lookbook in the overview. And the best thing is, that the preview will be auto-generated when the video lookbook is uploaded to Studio. No extra manual work. And, the outcome shows a more delightful overview and makes it clear which lookbook contains a video:

Video lookbook preview on home merchandise

This preview will have a 5-second duration and it will look infinitely. This basically means, that we updated the cycle of the video lookbooks as well. Previously, at the end of a video, a screen would be displayed with the option to replay. We’ve now improved this by having the videos loop infinitely.

Video lookbooks will keep looping as long as the user is viewing the video, either on the overview or in full view and all video lookbook previews will play automatically, to make it easy for the user to distinguish which lookbook contains a video and to make the overview come alive.

We also wanted to enhance the product display and ease product navigation within a lookbook. So, just as you can swipe through the product cards, we enabled the swipe feature within the video lookbook as well. So now, users can swipe through the visual content from the top of the video. We also added a dark edge behind the products to give it more depth between the layers on top of the video.

Lastly, we built a custom transistion from the overview to the detail-view. This transition ensures a smooth and seamless experience for the user, enhancing the overall experience even more.

All features mentioned above are already available out-of-the-box.

Mobile apps & backend

Security improvements

As we work with sensitive data, it is essential for us to always keep the highest security performance in place to offer the most secure experience for all users in mobile apps, Studio, and in the backend. We, therefore, let a specialized company perform a security audit on our products and backend.

We prioritized and filtered issues from the audit based on their threat level and whether they were actionable. These issues have been fixed during this cycle and are already released to Studio and our backend. We will continue working on additional factors in the coming cycles, to sustain a high-security performance.

We performed improvements in multiple places and a visual example is how the app displays in the app carousel when scrolling through apps. The sensitive content will be blocked and on iOS, the splash screen will instead show. On Android, a blank white app frame will appear.

Backend

SSL pinning

Talking about security leads us to the next topic. In cycle 4 of 2020, we improved our platform’s security (protection against Credential Stuffing / DDoS attacks). In this cycle, we were able to wrap up this project, which gives our apps a more secure connection to our backend and only trust connection to our backend, such that traffic can’t be rerouted or inspected.

Mobile apps & backend

Speed improvements

Next to building new features, improving our existing ones also has our priority. In our first cycle of this year, we added speed measurements to the front and backend of the apps to see if we could improve the overall speed of the user experience.

We analyzed this data, and in this cycle, we implemented some changes that would help make the apps on our platform faster. We also spend some time improving the performance of essential parts of the apps like the category views, product detail view, and the transitions in-between. Lastly, we implemented some improvements to speed up these views. We are satisfied with the outcome, have a look for yourself here:

Speed improvements
Studio

Easily upload branded media

We know how important it is to always keep your app content aligned with your ongoing campaigns. Therefore, we’ve explored how we can automate and optimize the process of replacing splash screens and account images in the apps. We took the first step towards a fully optimized process by building an interface in Studio where these images can now be directly uploaded.

Going forward, you will be able to upload splash screens and account images through Studio, cutting out the step of reaching out to our support team. However, at this time it still requires an app update by our service engineers, so keep this in mind as you upload your images in Studio.

You will find the placeholder for uploads in Studio -> App Settings -> New Account Image.

As Studio is made for being an easy, fun, and flexible CMS, we aim to add as many customization options into Studio as possible. Therefore, our end goal is to automate the entire process, where no app update is needed for these images to be changed.

iOS

Favorite synchronization

A much-requested feature is the ability of our platform to sync the users’ favorites with the commerce backend. This allows users to save products in the app and see the same products in their favorite list on the website or vice versa.

When a user logs in, the app automatically retrieves existing favorites from the website. The app then combines the website favorites with the app favorites, which can also be accessed from either the website or the app. Even though your website might offer multiple favorites lists, the app will only support one list to be maintained. Together we can discuss the best setup for this.

The feature has been implemented for brands on Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The feature can be enabled through configurations to the brands’ storefronts. Our team will reach out to all Salesforce customers soon after the release with more technical details.

For brands that are on Magento 2 or other platforms, a custom setup is required. Please reach out to our team for more details.

Backend

Magento 2 checkout speed

We have improved the way product requests are being handled in our Magento 2 checkout implementation. In this cycle, we optimized the Magento 2 checkout, which means that it’s now possible for app users to create larger baskets, and update them, more reliably – ultimately improving the app experience.  A setup is required and it is as well required for our Magento 2 customers to update to the latest Magento 2 version.

The Highstreet team will soon reach out to all Magento 2 customers for the setup.

iOS

Other iOS improvements

  • Fixed the store locator’s direction button text getting cut off.
  • Fixed the product images in video lookbooks are stretched out in the height.
  • Several improvements were made to the video lookbooks feature.
  • The transition from the lookbooks overview to the video lookbook is cleaner and smoother.
  • The transition back from the video lookbook to the lookbooks overview is a simple alpha fade.
  • Improved the image quality of the image used in the transition from the video lookbook to the product.
  • Fixed the appearance of the `All root` category in the bottom navigation bar.
  • Fixed crash when the user presses the lookbook tile while the tile image is loading.
  • Always show the navigation bar on content extensions to prevent issues with it disappearing and not reappearing.
Android

Other Android improvements

  • Added deeplinks to order history detail views (hs://account/orders/{order_id}) Deeplinks to the order history will resolve to the account main screen when the user is not logged in. 
  • Added a temporary bottom navigation tooltip that indicates the updated Category Navigation. It will only be shown once after updating the app.
  • Fixed two rare crashes caused by the bottom navigation redesign.
  • Fixed issues in the native store locator feature.
Studio

Other Studio improvements

  • Save original file name regardless of whether you use the Cropping tool or not. Filename will now be available once again inside the Localise Media Modal.
  • Added missing assets for countries. (For example, GGDB had some missing assets)
  • Device Preview will now load the rows regardless of whether some assets are missing. Recently we had a case where some assets were not available due to Imgix, and Device Preview was stuck with an infinite loader. That will not be the case anymore.
  • Added a new resolution guide.

What’s next?

That’s it for our release update! Have a peek at our release portal to see what’s new and what’s next at Highstreet.

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