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How Cloud Castle designed The Nearby

The Nearby is a mobile commerce platform for local boutiques. This is the story of its design.

1 Naming

When we started the project, the founders had not yet picked a name for the product. It was “an app for shops”.

In the early stages of development, when we started referring to the project as “Shopbook”, it was clear that the real name was needed soon.

We worked with founders of the product to identify several candidate names. From a list of over 50 possible names, everyone liked “The Nearby” the best. We then negotiated the purchase of the domain and all its social media accounts, and the name was official.

The Nearby” seems to be the top choice for name
Travis Parsons
I connected with the owners of the domain. Seems we can get it if we want it
Alex Parsons Product Manager

3 UX

iOS wireframes

Alex Golanov Yaroslav Patrikeev

Meanwhile, design of the user interface was well underway.

UX designers, Alex and Yaroslav were working to make the application design as simple as possible for the MVP release.


The most iterated screen was the item detail page.

Here the user must be able to find out details about a product, get in touch with a shop, find out where it is located, chat with its manager, view other customers’ comments and simply Like it.


In parallel to the iOS application, Alex and Yaroslav designed the UX for the web-based shop admin dashboard.

Web wireframes
Here we wanted to easily encourage in-app
e-commerce through
chat messages
Yaroslav Patrikeev UX Designer
With most users accessing the product through the mobile app, our web features only need
to cover certain cases
Alex Golanov UX Director

4 Design

Declined red version

Anna Shapovalyuk Alex Kolodochko

Anna, the UI designer on the project, began working on the look and feel of the iOS application.


Initially, Anna presented a version with red elements. Although it wasn’t accepted, it helped us get a better idea of the direction we wanted to take, which was more fashion-driven black, gray and white.

Final iOS design

With a solid look and feel established, we applied the design to the web user interface.


The next stage was the
website design.

Funny thing, but while we were working on the website design, iPhone 5 came out and we had to replace the outdated 4S in all the mockups.

Web design
I’m not liking the red
Anton Nikitin Creative Director
I really like black parts. Just black and white UI and colorful images of the items!
Alex Kolodochko

5 App Icon

Eugenia Rodina Alexey Belan

While Anna was working on the app’s design, we asked our illustrator, Eugenia, and our technical designer, Alexey, to make the app icon.

Of course, we started out with hand-made sketches. And like always, we had several directions.


The catchiest and most interesting idea seemed to be the shop front. We wanted to convey the atmosphere of a small French shop, the image that the service’s target audience would connect to the most.


We liked the design of a high-end Paris boutique, but when we tested the draft icon, many of its details were challenging to discern when viewed on a device. So we simplified the physical boutique concept into a flat, less complex design.

Therefore the final
version was this:

Icon development
This idea is to illustrate the different types of shop products as part of the logo
Eugeinia Rodina Illustrator
Let’s try different styles of store-fronts, from small Paris shop to fancy Paris boutique
Travis Parsons
We like this one, but it’s difficult to see all the details when it’s small on the device. I’m going to try to simplify in a flatter design
Eugeinia Rodina Illustrator

Final Result

The Nearby The Nearby

A happy client, a rapidly growing community of shops and shoppers, and great product feature engagement.

Cloud Castle continues to design and develop new features for The Nearby team as the business grows.