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My Startup: DapDap Local Events App


Frustrated by missing out on events I was interested in, as well as there was no app to show you events in my hometown. I created DapDap to allow people to see what was going on locally and made it easy for anyone to post an event to the app for everyone to see!

My Role

UX Designer, Full Stack Developer


React native mobile App & React Web App


Jul 2018 - Sept 2019


I came up with the idea for DapDap in 2017 and started working on it summer of 2018. DapDap was quite a challenge as I had only created apps for android before using Java, but it needed to be for both iOS and Android. I started working on the app in August, creating it in React Native as that allowed me to create an iOS and Android apps using one codebase.

I finished the MVP in January 2019, and after extensive user testing launched the app in June. This was when the real excitement began and the part I enjoyed the most, actually seeing how people used the app and see it working!

Over the summer I was delighted to see the app being adopted by many. 
1,000+ users sign up and 500 events were posted by 120 local event promoters.
It was great to see the app actually benefiting locals by more people going to events! I had great fun making the app even though it was a lot of work as I had to do many things such as development, marketing, and working with event promoters to get their events on the app. 

DapDap App Demo

Why I wanted to do this project:

  • I wanted to do this app as I got frustrated by missing out on events I was interested in. Events would come to my town, and they may not come back for another year.

  • Do it just for fun!

  • Do something helpful for my local community that could have the potential to grow to other towns, nationally and worldwide!

1. The Problem:

  • Stop missing out on events that people are interested in.

  • People not being aware of events that are happening in their local area.

  • Small local event promoters finding it difficult to connect with local audiences.



Stop missing out on events that people are interested in.


I have a great interest in car events, comedy events, and love music too. Some events would come through and I would not hear about them and completely miss out on them. I’m not sure if this was me just being very heedless or that it was genuinely not that easy to know what was on. So I decided to make DapDap, an app to promote local events.


People not being aware of events that are happening in their local area.


Aside from annual events there was a lack of awareness of local events that happened regularly from locals and tourists. People found out about some local events via a local app but that was not updated regularly. It was also difficult to post on that app because you had to contact the owner with your event details. All updates and changes had also to be done through him. It wasn’t scalable.


Facebook is the most popular medium for promoting events, but if you’re not on Facebook it doesn’t work very well. If you have just arrived into the town as a visitor, you’re not going to be linked to the correct event pages. However, it was still the most effective for promoters despite missing out on a lot of potential customers.


The local newspaper was also popular, but only for the older demographic. It was more expensive for promoters and not that effective.


Word of mouth was probably the best and most popular way people would find out about events. My hometown of Westport, Ireland, is quite small so everyone knows everyone but still, events would slip through the cracks and be missed. Word of mouth worked ok for tourists, as they would ask their accommodation providers what was on and they were able to tell them, but only if they knew themselves!

Small local event promoters finding it difficult to connect with local audiences.


Word of mouth is good but it takes time to get the word out there about your event. Facebook is good but there are so many other things on it.

2. My specific role in the project and how I collaborated with others:


My goal was to get people to events they were interested in.


My role was to design, create, manage and promote the app.


This was a personal project and my first start up. I was working on my own so had to do a lot of the work myself, from researching what the app needed to do, creating initial designs and prototypes, using Marvel then creating a basic MVP, getting event-goers and promoters to test it out, promoting the app itself, providing customer support, and trying to figure out how to best monetize the app.


I could not have created the app without collaborating with locals, tourists and especially event promoters as events were the lifeblood of the app. No events, no app.


Once I had a usable MVP, I connected with the Westport Town Hall Theatre and other venues to get them to upload events to the app.


I spent a lot of time just giving people the app, and seeing if they could use it without telling them how to use it. It was pretty terrible at the beginning, inputting into text fields was glitchy and sometimes it would crash!


Each time I did this though I could clearly see what problems needed to be fixed, so observing and fixing has always been my best method for improving an app!


I had never hosted an event so I became more aware of the needs of events promoters. I enjoyed getting a great insight into how things worked for them. I also realized that cost and revenue ticket sales were a top focus for them, not just promoting the events.

3. Research: How I came to the proposed 

After looking at what was out there already to promote events and the difficulties they had, I came up with a plan for what my app needed to do. Two of the most important things was:

  1.  It had to be self-service to upload an event.

  2.  You could view all events without any pre-requisites like having to follow a page.

Screenshot 2021-12-30 at 15.49.01.png

4. How my solution solved the problem:

Stop missing out on events that people are interested in.

After launching the app in my hometown, after a few weeks it became well known and people frequently checked it to see what events were. Some people even said that they went to events specifically because they saw it on DapDap! 

It also worked well for me as I came across a few events that I didn’t know were on! I noted especially a tribute gig for one of my favourite bands, Thin Lizzy! I incorporated a feature that allowed you to save an event to the calendar on your phone and get an alert before the event, so you would not miss it!


Thinner Lizzy Event on DapDap.

Seán Óg, buying a ticket on the spot!

When showing DapDap to a friend for the first time, he came across a play in the Town Hall that he didn’t realise was on. He said that it was a brilliant play so he bought a ticket right on the spot, as the app could bring you to where they were selling tickets!


A feature I really wanted to implement was the ability to be notified based on your interests i.e., jazz, comedy, etc. When an event promoter uploaded an event matching your interests you would get a notification. This would be the "pièce de résistance" of the app to stop you missing out on events. I didn’t get a chance to implement this as I moved to Vancouver, Canada after a few months which put a pause on the app.


People not being aware of events that are happening in their local area.

The word started to get out about the app, thankfully because it was working well. You could go onto the app, view all events or by certain category, and more people started talking about the app because it worked, which meant more people downloaded, which also led to more event promoters posting events. It was like a snowball effect.


B&B owners told me they recommended it to all their guests. They initially had been told by someone else about the app.


Tony. The first person who told me that he and his family went to a barbecue music event, just because he saw it on DapDap!

Small local event promoters finding it difficult to connect with local audiences.


For smaller event promoters it worked well, as they had more visibility for their events rather

than having to compete with so many things on Facebook a lot which were not event-related at all.

Event promoters said that they liked Facebook because of how many people were on it and that it was effective but the reasons they didn't it was:


  • Events can get snowed under so many other unrelated content

  • A lot of people were starting to dislike Facebook

  • liked supporting me as a local.

  • Like having an app that was just for events, and having their own space on it.


3 events on DapDap created by the event organisers themselves!

5. Challenges I faced, including designs that were ultimately not pursued:


Chicken and egg problem, events and users.


Initially, a lot of people said I would have difficulty in getting events on the app. I’d need users first and users wouldn’t be interested with so few events; event promoters wouldn’t be interested in posting if there were not many users!

I figured that only small amount of events were needed to keep the app from looking bare and to satisfy the users, so I found public events and posted them myself to get the ball rolling, which then started the chain reaction of users and events!

Event promoters wanted a desktop app as that’s primarily what they used!


One oversight I made soon after releasing the app was that event promoters such as the Town Hall Theatre used their computers rather than phones to promote events. They sent/received a lot of the promotional material through email, which they accessed on their desktop. This was a major faux pas on my part as it meant they had to send the pictures to the phone and then create the post there. This was very inefficient especially as they had to work on a much smaller screen.


I quickly created a web app that allowed them to post events from their desktops.

Keeping events on the app.

On top of coding the app, fixing problems and adding new features I also had to go out

and meet people, go to events. I really enjoyed collaborating with people though!

Needed to work a lot with event promoters to make it easy and useful for them to use.


I needed to work a lot with event promoters to make it easy and useful for them to use. Not only did I have to design the app for event goers, but also for event promoters to make sure it was solving the right problems for them. I underestimated the work, additional features and collaboration I had to put in to make it right for them. 


Uploading event images.


When the app was populated with events, the event list page became slow. I wasn’t sure at first exactly what was the reason but found that the event images file size were so big they slowed down the page. I fixed this problem by restricting the file size on upload, compressing it once uploaded and lazy loading the images also helped.

6. How the project affected the users and the businesses


DapDap became more than just promoting events, it was also about ensuring people had enjoyable experiences. To help this I created a featured category to highlight top events.


Not only did DapDap increase ticket sales for event promoters, but patrons also would go to bars and restaurants before and after the events, which increased the spending in the local economy.

On each listing there was a button to buy tickets which would bring the user to a site where they could purchase tickets.


Over the four-month period while DapDap was live 1,000 users downloaded the app, and all came purely by word of mouth. I didn’t spend any money on advertising or even billboards in the town, as I thought if I’m to grow I can’t be putting billboards up in every town, so my aim was to make it a great experience and people would talk about it themselves.


Over 500 events were post by 120 event promoters ranging from church gate collections to bakery and pottery classes, music events, comedy, running events, plays in the theatre and so much more.


It was so thrilling to see new events being posted to the app, finding out what they were and, most of all, hearing that people enjoyed events solely because of DapDap!

7. What I learned

A lot of work for one person.


There was a lot to do for one person, especially in the coding. I was doing it all on my own frontend and backend, promotion, customer support and found it difficult to add in new features as requested.

It would have been great if I had a partner to share some of the development work with. It’s also very beneficial to have a second person to bounce ideas with. I was working in a Co-working space made up of developers, designers and entrepreneurs so I could talk to others for advice which was massively helpful!

Also it's important to know how you are going to sustain yourself when working on the project. I tried to work on the app full time and aim to make some revenue from it before my runway ran out!

I don’t think this was the right approach, as a new start-up takes time to evolve. It takes time to test the app, create new connections, and release improvements. This was a good, hard lesson I learned. Now in projects, I always to try plan what needs to be done and estimate how long it will take to make, and how it will generate revenue.


You can learn a lot by giving it to users to test and observing how they use it without showing them how to use it. After doing this multiple times I could see where the problems were and improve the app.



Don’t over optimize.


When you think your app could have massive potential, it’s easy to think of future scenarios that may happen and how you can accommodate them. One example was thinking what if a user uploads explicit events, I should have some sort of way of sanitizing or blocking the event before it goes live. I think this is a good idea, but I got caught up trying to do it too early before anyone had actually uploaded an explicit event.


What I’m saying here contradicts what I said in my Pali App case study "Thinking ahead can pay off nicely". But I think a balance is needed and in some cases  a "Just in time" 'is the right approach.


Analytics Tools

I was able to gain great insights by using:


Good design is less.

The fewer features you have the more focused your app will be and will result in a better experience for users, It will also save you time not having to develop so many features.


Finding ways to do things more frugally can save a lot of time but it's important to still do things right. 


An example of this was how I created the app using - a platform that allows you create one app that can be used on any device, smartphone, tablet or computer. This saved me enormous time compared to having to create three separate apps one for iOS, Android and Desktop.

Firebase provides out of the box features to handle all of your backend needs such as user authentication, database, file storage, web hosting and so much more so you don't have to create them from scratch.


People don’t care about excuses.

People aren’t interested in why something isn’t working because of technical reasons, Always make sure that the experience of the user is paramount even if it will be more technically difficult to accomplish.

Build it and people will come!

Contrary to a lot of people who say this is something that you should do.

Along as you make something that is genuinely useful, meaning that you first focus on adding value

before thinking about making money. If you start and are constantly listening to people in order to improve,

I have found that people always come out of the woodwork to help you, once you have something.

DapDap App Demo

The Problem
My Role
Lessons Learned
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