Flock Blog

An Inside Look

Flock Design

In this post I’d like to talk a bit about Flock and design. I must add a disclaimer; I have very little knowledge of design principles or terminology, so for all experts out there, please pardon my ignorance and feel free to drop me a note.

We began working on Flock right as iOS 6 came out. iOS 6 was an incremental improvement to Apple’s well known and loved mobile operating system. In the five years of it’s existence iOS varied very little visually so I felt very comfortable diving head first into creating Flock. Without knowing any real theory behind color spaces, element spacing or depths, or typography I could still make Flock familiar and stylish enough by adding some drop shadows, beveled text, and some gradients. While we were happy with the initial result, we knew any modern app needs style and flair to grab the users attention and earn their love.

It turns out we released the initial version at quite an interesting time. Right after Apple announced iOS 7. As some of you know, iOS 7 is a radical shift in the design of Apple’s mobile operating system. Apple embraced the minimalistic design movement by flattening their components, and generally eliminating the superfluous visual elements in their basic controls. At first glance, to someone like me with no artistic ability, this is a godsend. No longer do I have to worry about custom backgrounds, textured toolbars and beveled buttons. With a minimalist design any schmo should be able to layout their app handsomely. Unfortunately in practice the opposite is true.

With such a major break in existing paradigms the time was ripe to take my knowledge, consider my mistakes, and make Flock 2.0 for iOS 7 totally awesome. Plus using the new flat design I could make it look fresh and beautiful as well. As it turns out, making a great looking flat iOS app is not an easy task. Without the self containment each control possesed in earlier versions of iOS it is now up to the designer to make sure elements are laid out to promote natural flow, create breaks, and utilise proper color contrasts. So where previously each element independently represented itself through skeuomorphism, now every element on the screen must interact in such a way as to leave no doubt to their function. Having minimal visual elements requires in depth knowledge of design principles and the ability to create a great User Experience. After banging my head against the wall for a while and acknowledging the fact that I lack any artistic ability, we decided to get the help of someone whose work we admire quite a bit. As I type this, Flock is getting a complete new look (see above). We are very excited for the upcoming release of Flock and its new design. Look for it sometime after iOS 7 is let out of the gates.

Misha and the Flock Team

Hello and Welcome to Flock!

Thank you for joining Flock.  We have put a lot of thought and effort into creating an app that will let people connect with their friends through everyday activities.  Flock was built because we have consistently been faced with a dilemma:  How do you let your friends know you’re doing something and wouldn’t mind company without having to contact people or creating a formal event?  Current event planning apps are too structured and formal while location based Social apps trend towards letting your friends know where you are at the current point in time, and seeing where your friends are around you.  We combined an informal event concept with the location sharing concept to create open micro-events letting your friends see what you have planned and allowing you to see what your friends are up to.  By having an informal event creation and sharing process we hope to get people out and about doing things they would otherwise do alone or miss altogether.


Now that the easy part of identifying the problem and creating a solution in the form of an iPhone App is complete, we come to the hard part: making Flock useful to every one of our users. Throughout the development process our wonderful, dedicated team of beta users has been using Flock extensively to plan events with each other.  We are proud to say we had amazing positive feedback and we are confident the concept works.  The challenge of an app like Flock is that to be useful, users need to have the majority of their friend group using the app.  We have thought long and hard of ways to get the app into people’s hands and decided steady organic growth is the best path to positioning Flock as an integral part of our user’s social lives.  We are counting on our dedicated users to bring their social circles on board to create new Flock communities, and do more things together in real life.  We have built several tools to help with the process.  You can use the Find Friends screen to invite your Facebook friends or to send a text message to your contacts.  Also, each Flock can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, text, and email.  We hope you take advantage of these tools to grow your network and always stay current on the events around you.

The Future

It was a difficult process but our ideas and ambitions for Flock had to be organized and prioritized to bring you the best and most useful initial experience. We have a running list of features and suggestions from our users, which we will be implementing. Here are a couple of things on our plate for the immediate future:

Account Creation

As you have noticed Flock currently uses the Facebook platform exclusively for account creation.  This was the most efficient way for us to initially handle user management but we realize it will not suffice.  We realize people have various preferences and opinions regarding the various social networks and shared login solutions.  We will be implementing a registration system outside the scope of a social network, allowing anyone to join flock.


The idea behind Flock was for everyone to be able to freely broadcast the things they want to do and to see what list of friends have planned. We realize there are situations where you want to broadcast events to only a select group. Say a family gathering, or your morning running group. We will be implementing a privacy option as well as a Groups feature in Flock allowing you to selectively broadcast events to as large or as small a crowd as you like.

These are the two upcoming additions, which we think will make the app more useful and there are numerous others to follow.

Thanks again and Happy Flocking!

The Flock Team

Meet Flock, a Fun and Casual Way to Make Plans

Last summer, a buddy and I met at Starbucks to discuss some ideas we wanted to implement. All of our ideas shared a common theme: they were problems we were facing. We decided to focus on one.

The Problem: Getting Friends Together

As recent graduates, we missed the convenient social environment that exists in college.

Wanna grab food? Wanna grab drinks? No problem, just stick your head out of your dorm room and a bunch of friends are at your fingertips. Life is good.

In the real world, it’s not as easy. New obstacles like traffic, work, and distance make it harder to connect. We wanted to fix that.

The Vision: Follow Friends’ Upcoming Activities

We asked, “How many times do you do something (go to a specific restaurant, go to the mall, go for a run, etc.) and later find out that friends would have loved to join?”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were going to [name your favorite breakfast spot] this morning?? I love that place!” is an all too common refrain.

The answer is that there are no good ways to communicate this information. Unlike college, friends are spread out in the real world. Yelling down the hall doesn’t work.

While we have many new incredible ways to communicate (i.e. email, text messages, Facebook, and Twitter), none of these new tools make it easy to share upcoming activities with friends.

How can we easily share daily activitieswith friends so that we never miss out on a fun shared experience again?

With that in mind, we wanted to build something that was more event focused than Facebook and Twitter, more casual than email, and more efficient than manually going through your contacts and sending a text to all your friends.

The Solution: Casual, Fun, and Efficient Planning

Today we are excited to announce our solution: Flock: Do More With Friends,which is currently live in the App Store.

Flock allows friends to create and share events in a few simple taps:

  1. Choose an activity
  2. Select a location
  3. Pick a time
  4. Connect with friends

We built the app to mimick the casual, fun and efficient social environment we enjoyed in college.

Casual: Don’t have a specific location or time in mind? No problem. Our event creation process allows you to choose general times and locations. Once you figure out an ideal time and location (through a built in group chat feature), you can then update the plan with a specific time and place.

Existing Apps→ “Who wants to go out at Brother Jimmy’s Bar and Grill at 8:00pm on Saturday June 29th?”

Flock→ “Who wants to go out in the East Village this weekend?”

Fun: There is nothing fun about receiving a gmail event invitation or sifting through all your contacts to create a group text message. Through activity feeds, likes, invites, (and a really cute logo) we hope to make sharing plans something enjoyable.

Efficient: Typing on an iPhone sucks. That’s why we created ‘quick picks’ to help you create events in just a couple taps.

Start flocking today and follow us on twitter for future updates!