Cobu is an American company, created with the intention to power genuine communities. The idea behind Cobu is to build a space where neighbors can exchange news, messages, ideas, or even no-longer-needed objects, get to know each other and their neighborhood, or plan get-togethers.
Property managers and retail owners can offer Cobu’s app to the people living in their housing complexes and buildings. So, they can give their tenants a chance to install Cobu, help them meet their neighbors, make friends, and stay connected with the ones around them.
Functioning as a small social network, Cobu lets you leave messages and questions, plan events and gatherings, find local businesses by using a map of the neighborhood, contact others, and create profiles to find friends in the building.
Together with Cobu, we have been trying to turn neighborhoods into communities by helping them create great design and amazing features.
Our partnership with Cobu started in 2019 when we redesigned the app’s home page and added the option to organize and browse neighborly gatherings. Armed with their style guide, we created a UX/UI design that followed both their wishes and insured an unmatched user experience.
Unlike events, gatherings were organized by and for fewer people, but ones who share the same interests - runners, dog lovers, or a book club, while events can be for the whole floor or building. Cobu hoped that these specialized get-togethers would help users bond and find common ground.
Over time, we expanded our collaboration, redesigning the group feature, adding building-wide and group discussions, and the option to create events for those groups.
Development-wise, the first step we took is implementing notifications on Cobu’s app.
We built the alerts from scratch, created the notification center, designed the behavior of notification for situations when the user is inside of or not currently using the app, and implemented deep linking so notifications would navigate users directly to the comment or screen connected to a specific alert.
Afterward, we added personal profiles, discussions within groups as well as building-wide discussions, reactions, a new onboarding system, and are currently working on direct messaging.
We would truly consider Cobe to be our partner in crime. They have integrated us into their project as a whole, including us into their design, marketing, and general decision making, being very open with us, and considering us a part of their team.
Together, we’re continuously working on new features. We’re planning to implement perks from local businesses for Cobu users, create a new smart feed design that will feature interesting places or ones added by other users, in the vicinity, and recommend groups or get-togethers based on the user’s previous activity.
Additionally, we’re working hard on a marketplace where Cobu users can exchange, buy or sell things they no longer need.
Finally, we’re launching a web app for property managers – an admin system where they’ll be able to see the stats, create groups and gatherings themselves, read reports, and generally manage the Cobu world around their property.
The Cobu app has an unlimited number of use cases. One of the best examples is a Texas blackout where it was used by neighbors to let each other know where the electricity is on, who has room to take someone in, who has food, and who is offering help to their next-door neighbor.
“We released a brand new version of our app, and the team was critical in the process of getting it out there. Now, we rely on them as our lead engineering firepower and we plan to grow with them.”
Founder & CEO @ Cobu