Ebates is a pioneer and leader in online cash back shopping. They’ve partnered with over 1,600 stores across the internet to provide cash back and coupon savings to Ebates users. With an increase in mobile shoppers they needed help creating a set of applications to meet the needs of customers on the mobile platform. The Ebates iOS app was released in the fall of 2013 – now it’s Android’s turn. Below we’ll share with you some of the exciting features and the design and development decisions that went into making the Ebates Android app a reality.
Download the app on Google Play.
Features We Love
Get Cash Back
Ebates receives a commission every time a user shops at a partner store through the Ebates app. Instead of keeping that money, Ebates shares it with their customers. Every quarter Ebates sends a check for a customer’s total cash back amount. Because cash back is an integral part of the experience, shoppers can quickly view cash back totals in the side-menu navigation drawer. For more specific information, shoppers can go to the My Ebates tab to see shopping trips, pending cash back, and Big Fat Payments for all purchases made through Ebates.
Find Great Deals
One goal for the app was to present users with the most popular deals. The Featured screen – accessible from the navigation drawer – houses the most recent ‘Hot Deals’, ‘Favorites’, and ‘2X Cash Back’ deals. Hot Deals showcases the most popular deals among Ebates users, Favorites displays all stores an individual user has favorited in the past, and 2X Cash Back returns top stores offering double cash back.
Access Coupon Codes
Coupon codes are another great way to save using the Ebates app. Deals that have coupon codes are identified with a sales tag icon on the Hot Deals tab and the store page. Clicking on the sales tag icon will open the store browser and auto-copy the coupon code. While browsing on a store’s website with coupon codes, the same sales tag icon will be displayed in the top right of the screen. Tapping on this icon automatically copies the coupon code for use at checkout.
Design and Development
For the Ebates app, the designs required a scrollable grid with a header that also scrolls away. There was no way to do this using the standard GridView Android widget. To solve this problem, one of our developers came up with a library that makes it easy to implement a grid of items using the ListView Android widget which does support a scrollable header. The library can be viewed in action by downloading the sample app in the Google Play Store. The repository is also available on GitHub.
Scrolling through a long list of items can be tiresome and disorienting to keep track of place. Therefore, in the Ebates app, the designs called for a way to identify where a person is in the long list of partner stores. To do so, one of our Android Developers, Chris, put together a library called SectionCursorAdapter. This library lets the app pull information directly from the database while easily including section headers and fast scroll into the list view. The SectionCursorAdapter library will soon be open-sourced for the greater Android developer community to use in apps.
Cross Device Optimization
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to have text reaching all the way to the edges of a screen. For example, in the Ebates app the text on the help page fills out the screen on a smaller mobile device quite nicely, but would look scant and stretched out on a tablet. A quick and effective way to solve this optimization issue is by setting maximum bounds and padding outside of those bounds as seen in the screenshot below.
To adjust for size variation across different devices we used a responsive grid layout. This method sets the appropriate number of columns based on the available width and device orientation. On most Android phones this means a single column, and on most tablets this means 2 columns in portrait and 3 columns in landscape. We opted to cap the number of grid columns at 3 to reduce clutter and make the app more scannable.
About Two Toasters
Two Toasters is a critically acclaimed mobile product development firm which designs and develops iOS and Android applications for partner companies. We provide end-to-end mobile product assistance, including strategy, usability testing, design, development, and quality assurance testing.
Our clients range in size from established tech giants (Airbnb, Simple) and international brands (Zumba, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lexus) to early stage, venture-backed startups (Luvocracy, Birchbox, JackThreads). Not only are our apps highly ranked on iTunes, one was actually featured in an Apple TV commercial (GateGuru).
We build products that are user-centric, incorporating user feedback to ensure that the apps are intuitive and useful. As a technical powerhouse in mobile, we’ve created several frameworks, such as RestKit (www.restkit.org).
Over 1,600 online stores have joined the roster of retailers that offer cash back, special deals including free shipping, and over 10,000 coupons to members of Ebates.com. Free membership allows consumers to shop online at their favorite retailers while earning a percentage of every purchase they make; paid quarterly in the form of a “Big Fat Check” or through PayPal. From niceties to necessities, members of Ebates benefit from incentives at top-name merchants for everything from furniture to fashion and appliances to airfare. Because shopping with Ebates is hassle-free: no rebate forms to fill out and no points or miles to redeem, the site supports a strong community of savvy shoppers across the country and around the world.