Developing delightful apps

Lickability is a boutique software studio in New York. We work with clients large and small, to build incredible apps for iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

 
$10,000+
 
$200 - $300 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2009
Show all +
New York, NY
headquarters
  • Lickability
    261 Madison Ave
    New York, NY 10016
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Our client list includes Meetup, Jet.com, The New Yorker, Grouper, Talkz, and many more.

Reviews

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iOS App Development for Magazine

"They delivered on time, offered proactive suggestions for improvement, and took pride in their work."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Apr. - Aug. 2017
Project summary: 

Lickability worked alongside an in-house team to redesign an outdated app using Swift. They repaired API bugs and integrated a number of third-party code, including Omniture, Firebase, and YouTube.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Washington, DC
Betsy Cole & DJ Brinkerhoff
Executive Director & Product Design Lead, The Atlantic
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new app has high conversion and renewal rates, and generated a sharp increase in average review score. They keep detailed schedules through a range of project management tools to ensure a smooth rollout and have an eye for small details, offering proactive suggestions to create the best product.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Respondent 1: I’m the executive director for digital product and technology at The Atlantic, a 160-year-old magazine.

Respondent 2: I was the primary designer on our side throughout the project.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lickability?

Respondent 1: We had an app that's been on the market since the early days of the iPad. It’s gone through a couple of different iterations over the years and was desperately in need of an update.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Respondent 1: They came to town for two days in the beginning as we determined our requirements and outlined the content API and registration API. They helped determine which aspects they would handle, and which aspects we could manage in-house in order to cut costs.

Respondent 2: They suggested very strongly that we develop the app through Swift, so we took their advice. They used the latest version at the time and have already suggested that we update the app to Swift 4.0 for next year.

In terms of features, they took advantage of a number of stock iOS capabilities. They built in support for Dynamic Type and fixed bugs on our API for content delivery.

They also integrated with our partners for account management, as well as third-party code for Omniture, Firebase, and YouTube.

What is the team dynamic?

Respondent 1: We primarily worked with Michael Liberatore [iOS Engineer, Lickability] and Brian Capps [Co-Founder, Lickability]. They served as developers throughout the project.

How did you come to work with Lickability?

Respondent 1: I knew of Lickability through their excellent work with The New Yorker app. I checked their references and contacted them along with a few other vendors.

Our previous app lacked stability, partially because we made bad requests during the build and saw no pushback from the developer. We wanted a partner who could help guide our thinking for this project, so we approached these vendors with a general idea for the app, but without a firm plan.

Respondent 2: We met in person to discuss scope and vision. They answered any questions we had and offered their expertise on the best way to create the product.

How much have you invested with them?

Respondent 1: We spent slightly more than $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Respondent 1: Our first meeting took place at the end of April 2017 and we shipped the app on August 23. It was a quick build.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Respondent 1: We took an app that was previously a premium model and turned it into a fully-gated, paid model. We honestly weren't sure what to expect, but I can say that we are very pleased with the conversion rate. It’s higher than we expected and our renewal rate is strong.

We also had a chat with Apple about how our app performed during an accessibility audit. They were very pleased with the work Lickability had done.

Respondent 2: Our average review score has also improved dramatically.

How did Lickability perform from a project management standpoint?

Respondent 2: We communicated regularly via conference calls and Slack, and exchanged design proposals through Zeplin. Requirements were documented through Google Docs.

They also had an organized checklist that made submitting to the App Store a very smooth process.

Respondent 1: They used GitHub to keep tickets clear and meticulously labeled whether specific aspects related to pre- or post-launch of the product. They never missed a deadline and clearly articulated anything they needed from our end.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Respondent 1: They pay close attention to detail and are very proactive developers. They pushed back on us if we made a request that would ultimately harm the app’s overall performance and made sure the app would scale well for for future cellphone sizes.

They were real partners. It didn’t feel like they were cranking through a quick contract and moving on.

Respondent 2: They care about small details and often caught things we missed. It was good to know our developers cared as much as we did.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Respondent 1: It feels like a cop out to say that I don't have anything noteworthy here, but they were just a breath of fresh air.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Respondent 1: I strongly recommend them. They delivered on time, offered proactive suggestions for improvement, and took pride in their work.

Respondent 2: If you want a company to simply build a product based on rote instructions, then Lickability may not be the right choice. They’re real partners and will work with you to ensure that an end product is the best it can be.

5.0
Overall Score They're engaged, timely, and the best vendor we've worked with.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We shipped on time and they met every deadline.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    A couple of estimates came in low, but that's expected on any developing project.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Our code has very few bugs considering the quick turnaround time.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I already have and plan to continue recommending them.

iOS Rewrite for Digital Consumer Application

"[Lickability’s] place among iOS developers in the world is really high. They are like the rock stars of the iOS scene."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Lickability  was involved in the complete redesign of the client’s iOS app, all the way from the initial decision and strategy to the implementation of Swift programming language.

The Reviewer
 
50-200 employees
 
New York, USA
Product Director, Meetup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Throughout all project iterations, Lickability felt like a full-time member of the client’s company. Their expertise in Swift coding is what makes them so respected amongst the iOS engineering scene.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Meetup is a digital consumer website and mobile app whose focus is bringing people together around things that they love.

I am a Director of Product. I focus on member engagement by keeping members active through finding value in Meetup.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lickability?

We had decided to completely rewrite our iOS app and didn't have enough resources in-house to make it happen on the timeline we wanted, so we contacted Lickability.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They were very much seen as full-time Meetup employees in that they were invested in the quality of the outcome as much as we were. They were in discussions from day zero when we were talking about even deciding whether or not to rewrite our app. Lickability was involved in helping make that decision, doing some rough estimation of the level of effort of that decision, and then helping to strategize exactly how to execute the rewrite. Once we were actually in development mode, Lickability led all of our engineering, including a lot of the high-level architecture of not only the software itself but also of even how we work as a team. They made recommendations on our processes and best practices for making quality apps. On a day-to-day level, they were doing coding and making parts of the app happen.

How did you come to work with Lickability?

My manager, who's our Vice President of Product, had worked with most of them when they were all full-time employees at The New York Times.

What is the status of this engagement?

We engaged with them on the project sometime around June of 2015. The number one milestone of launching the redesigned app is completed. That said, they're still with us and continue to work with us on iterations and future versions of the app.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

One big metric is that we hit our goal of our relaunch date. We could never have done that without Lickability.

Also, the response to the project itself has been super positive amongst a lot of different segments of people. Another step is that the code base is now 100% written in Swift programming language and there is 0% of code from our old app. It really was completely rewritten.

How did Lickability perform from a project management standpoint?

That's one of the best things about my experience working with them. I've worked with solid engineers in the past, but Lickability goes beyond with really, really great project management. Like I said earlier, we really thought of them as full-time employees in that they participated in every planning meeting. They were as communicative about their progress on things and any issues they encountered as any full-time employee would be.

What did you find most impressive about Lickability?

Their place among iOS developers in the world is really high. They are like the rock stars of the iOS scene and it makes it really great to work with them because they're at the forefront of that whole domain. Their investment, and I don't mean financially, I mean mentally or spiritually, is very high for a contractor. They were as interested in making a quality app as any of us were.

Are there any areas Lickability could improve?

It's really hard for me to think of anything. Maybe there's something to improve upon with cost, but I can't speak to that.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Lickability is as reliable as our fulltime employees.
  • N/A Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They're great to work with.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Extremely!

App Development for Large Media Company

"The thing that distinguishes [Lickability] is that they truly were trying to understand the problem that they were dealing with."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Nov. 2015 - Mar. 2016
Project summary: 

The client augmented their development team with Lickability, who helped with the overall architecture of their iOS application.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 employees
 
USA
Director of Project Engineering, Media Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Lickability brought a refreshing approach to organization and priority definition. Their experience developing similar applications is why this client selected them over other providers.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

The organization is a reputable media company. I was the Director of Project Engineering. I ran the engineering team, and I was the point person for products for our digital properties, including the website, app development and anything else that came up on our roadmap.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lickability?

We were trying to develop a lightweight iOS app. Though we were not looking to recreate the entire user experience, we had a very specific goal in mind regarding the users that we wanted to attract and the development time we wanted to commit to it also. We were cognizant of the resources that we had available, but we also knew that taking on and creating a new project like this would require ongoing support.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Even though we had a developer in-house, we wanted to augment our development resources and were looking for an outside contractor to come in and help us. We had already submitted the coding for the development of the application before Lickability got involved, so the app was more like an advanced prototype. When they came along, it was still early enough for them to help with the overall architecture. They brought in the experience that they had from doing similar apps, and specifically insights to problems that they faced where they had previously worked. Their experience was very helpful regarding defining the scope and the feature set, and regarding prioritizing tasks also.

How did you come to work with Lickability?

I knew of the owner of Lickability from his previous work, so it was more like an internal referral from friends. It was also word of mouth. The applications that he and his team worked on were popular. We saw parallels between their work and what we wanted to do, so we selected them because they had already tackled problems in similar projects.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them around November 2015. The work has been completed.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

This was an entirely brand new initiative. Our digital edition is a replica of the magazine with some hooks into web content. The app has been live for a while now; it's been pretty successful. It has excellent ratings in the app store, and editorial and others are extremely happy with it. It works well with our existing systems.

How did Lickability perform from a project management standpoint?

One of the things they were good at bringing into the project was a sense of organization and definition. They talked to us about our actual goals and brought a lot to the table regarding priority.

What did you find most impressive about Lickability?

In many aspects, they have a similar format to other providers. The thing that distinguishes them is that they truly were trying to understand the problem that they were dealing with. They were proactive in getting things done. They brought a level of organization to the project that I don't normally see. In many aspects, there are third parties that I've worked with who you must prod a little bit, or you must do the project management to a certain degree with them. Lickability came with all that as part of their service, and it was very professionally done. It was very refreshing.

Are there any areas Lickability could improve?

Nothing obvious comes to mind. I was very happy overall.

4.0
Overall Score They were great to work with.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I rate four out of five as very high. Five is exceptional, above and beyond. Four out of five for being extremely good.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

iOS Restructure for Ecommerce Retailer

"[Lickability’s] knowledge of the tools and the technology from an iOS standpoint is so deep that it’s as if you’re engaging directly with Apple."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
July 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Lickability restructured the entire architecture of the client’s iOS app, using Swift technologies to rewrite everything in a sustainable and scalable way.

The Reviewer
 
500-1000 employees
 
New York, USA
Kareem Shirazi
Product Manager, Jet.com
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their deep knowledge of iOS technologies is what led this client to use Lickability over other developers. They are very responsive and can fix any issues within hours.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Jet.com is an e-commerce marketplace where prices drop as you shop. I am the Product Manager for the iOS team. I lead a group of designers and developers working on the iPhone and iPad applications.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Lickability?

We wanted to pretty much re-architect the entire app.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Restructuring an app is a non-trivial task; it requires a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of whiteboarding sessions. For most of our existence, we had one developer working on the app. We made it with hacked and nonscalable solutions, so we wanted to take a step back and really look at the foundation of the app from a codebase standpoint and make sure that it’s built in a sustainable and a scalable way. We needed a team that was quick, smart, and that’s done app development before. Lickability was recommended to us, so we engaged them and worked with them over the course of two months to re-architect the entire application from the ground up.

We rewrote a lot of things in Swift. When they weren’t in Swift, they were in Objective-C, so there was a lot of translating that occurred. As far as the tools they used, it was just your normal suite of tools that you use to develop an iOS application. We used the latest tools that Apple has provided and upgraded all of our code to adhere to that.

How did you come to work with Lickability?

Before I got involved with the team, there was another product manager who was in charge. Our lead developer knew of the guys who ran Lickability because of their great work on the Tumblr and the New York Times application. They were known people in the iOS community, and that just further validated that we wanted to use them. We also met with a couple of other companies, but ultimately we went with Lickability.

How much have you invested with Lickability?

The project cost was around $100,000 to $150,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with Lickability in July 2016 and the engagement is ongoing. The deliverables lasted until mid-September. We’re still working with them now, but it’s in a different capacity. We liked all the work that they did, and we wanted to keep them on a retainer-like function where we could leverage them for their expertise on certain things or just to help out where we needed resources.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

The type of work that they engaged in wasn’t as metric-driven as some other engagements could be. We didn’t ask them to build this specific feature that we were measuring out in the marketplace; it wasn’t like that. An analogy I’ve used in the past is that before, the foundation of the application, like a house, was made out of wood. When we ended up engaging Lickability, they were the ones who created the proper foundation. They put concrete and the appropriate structure in place so that we could build on top of it and not worry about bugs as much or worry about things crashing as often because everything was done in a sustainable way. It’s hard to put metrics around it. It was a close relationship between the engineers from Lickability and the engineers on our side looking at the code that was written on a daily, even hourly basis, and making sure that everything was aligning, making sure that it made sense, and when we integrated it, making sure that it worked.

How did Lickability perform from a project management standpoint?

They were involved in our sprint cycles, so it was as if they were just a partner of the team for the two months that they were working with us. We touched base with them every single morning. We had a Slack channel where we’d be able to talk freely. Managing the timelines and expectations was done in a very agile way, so we would understand if things were slipping in real time.

What did you find most impressive about Lickability?

They are just ridiculously good at what they do. A lot of people that we talk to on paper sound the same, but their knowledge of the tools and the technology from an iOS standpoint is so deep that it’s as if you’re engaging directly with Apple and the people that created it. Our lead engineer has been doing iOS development since the beginning, and he’s constantly impressed at what these guys can pump out. I think just the deep knowledge and speed in which they do things is notable.

Are there any areas Lickability could improve?

If something wasn’t working or if something wasn’t going according to plan, they were very reachable and very open to dialogue. With any issue that potentially was going to pop up, it was just a matter of talking to them either on the phone or through Slack and resolving it within a couple of hours. I can’t really say there was anything that they could’ve improved on.

5.0
Overall Score Lickability was a pleasure to work with. We would definitely work with them again.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They stuck to the deadlines and were very communicative if anything were to change.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They are a bit on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for with them, which is quality.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The quality was world-class.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would recommend them to anyone looking for a consultancy and iOS development or even a re-architecture of an app like we did.