Bitbean Helps Mobile Website Fuel Prayer for Tens of Thousands

Jewish tradition obligates men to pray with a minyan (prayer group of 10) three times daily at sunrise, midday, and sundown. GoDaven is a Worldwide Orthodox Minyan Database that helps “minyan-goers” in their quest for minyan locations and available times. Featuring thousands of minyan listings around the world, they provide a much-needed service for Jewish men. Their goal is to give their growing number of users the ability to quickly and accurately locate the nearest minyan and prayer times. In addition, they assist synagogues and administrators by featuring their information on one convenient online website. 

Why they needed help

As more and more minyanim were added, GoDaven struggled to keep up with their ever-expanding database. The idea of a few select people behind the constant changes to their over 6,500 locations and 130,000 prayer times wasn’t cutting it. In addition, searching and finding what users were looking for became increasingly difficult with numerous places to sift through. To top it off, the information was commonly outdated, leaving its users frustrated. They came to Bitbean to see what the latest technology could do for them. 

What we found

Bitbean started by looking at GoDaven’s user challenges and what improvements were needed. Additionally, we took a holistic look at their long-term goals and potential growth opportunities.

GoDaven’s users encountered problems with a system lacking real-time data, mobility, and user-friendly features. Minyan prayer times, for example, vary from one location to another based on specific rules, days of the week, and special days. These variables were not based on real-time data, but only stated as part of the listings.

Since scheduled minyan times can frequently change and vary by location, constant updates were needed to ensure database accuracy. So, the site’s database was not always accurate and could easily frustrate users. With the addition of more and more minyanim, these problems increased. There was a need to find a better way to get information from thousands of synagogues in hundreds of countries.

Another issue involved location-specific availability of the ever-increasing addition of minyanim. Without GPS, user searches returned a long list of addresses that didn’t reference the user’s current location. And without a map or directions, it was difficult for users to determine where to go and how to get there.

The strategy

Through our deep-dive approach, we connected with GoDaven’s business goals to provide the best mobile strategies to serve its thousands of users and accommodate growth. We accepted GoDaven’s project with a plan to create a system that integrates new interfaces, APIs, and algorithms to overcome the problems associated with GoDaven’s outdated website and the growing pool of minyanim. 

We then assembled a solid UI/UX design team to build a user-friendly interface to dynamically display the generated results of minyan locations and times. Next, our expert engineering team would build a system with GPS functionality integrated with a rule- and time-based engine layered with real-time sunrise, midday, and sunsets. The key piece, however, was incorporating the ability to crowdsource information. 

Our game plan

User-friendly and enhanced search

Initially, our expert design team collaborated with software engineers to begin creating an easy-to-use and seamless experience for users. Through UI/UX research and design, the updated and improved website now gives users additional options for efficient searchability.

For example, the new software solution provides filtering preferences with several options to narrow results with pinpoint accuracy. And all without having to do an advanced search. This saves users’ time and eliminates the tedious process of shifting through long listings that may not be relevant to the user’s needs.

Users can also now search by the synagogue or Rabbi’s name, or address, city and zip code. Dialect options are also available to narrow searches.

Location-based searching/navigation

Because GPS functionality offers a precise location, we updated the website to allow GoDaven users the option to “Search the Next Minyan Near Me.” These searches return the closest available locations relative to the user’s current physical location. 

In addition, virtual maps now visually aid users to help them determine nearby minyanim each represented by a small red pin on the map. By integrating GPS, GoDaven’s users also benefit from the provided turn-by-turn directions to help them reach their destination.

Dynamic, rule- and time-based management system

One of the most impactful changes included in our new solution was providing users with real-time prayer times that were in sync with set times of the day. Now when administrative users input original minyan information, they can essentially set it and forget it. The system itself manages the time changes due to varying sunrises, sunsets, etc. through complex algorithms that are based on a minyan’s location and rules. By automatically adjusting for times of day, it indefinitely updates prayer schedule times throughout the year. 

Crowdsourcing information 

Keeping GoDaven’s information updated was key to satisfying their users’ needs. Because of the thousands of synagogues around the world, we needed to shift the process of updating directly to synagogue administrators. Additionally, we added a feature to allow all users to make suggestions to modify incorrect information. 

Temporary minyanim to accommodate travelers

To accommodate travelers with no near-by minyan, we developed functionality to include temporary minyanim. Now users themselves can easily set up a temporary minyan to include location, prayer times, prayer types, and dates. Once the date range expires, the temporary location will automatically be removed.

A new and improved experience for minyan goers

Bitbean’s custom software solution improved usability and successfully accommodated opportunities for future growth. The use of technology provides GoDaven’s users with a better and faster way to locate the growing number of minyanim. Now users around the world trust GoDaven to lead the way.