InnovationM developed a mobile app for Android to facilitate communication between shelter employees. The project involved only coding and implementation, as the visual assets and wireframes were provided.
The app was delivered successfully and InnovationM was recognized for their ability to develop complex solutions. Furthermore, the team’s responsiveness and quick turnaround times were also commended. Their performance earned them additional contracts which are currently in discussion.
“We were very pleased with their work.”
Please describe your company.
I work for a small organization that provides health communication consulting services to a diverse clientele. They include federal, state, and local government agencies as well as private and nonprofit organizations. We do a range of things, including developing Web content, designing websites, and designing and developing mobile applications.
What is your role and responsibilities?
I am the Director of Interactive Media, and I serve as the subject matter expert for any projects we have with clients on interactive media products. Those include instructional technology products, like online courses or other Web-based content as well as mobile apps, e-books, Web-based mobile websites, and responsive Web design. I’m also a project manager for these, and I can serve as a subject matter expert on an area for that project, or I can manage projects that focus on other areas.
What was your goal for working with InnovationM?
InnovationM submitted a quote for a project where we had tried working with an in-house developer. Because we had never produced a mobile app before, the whole process was very new. It didn’t work out very well with the in-house developer. Toward the end of the project, we had to find a last-minute outsourcing development firm to help us implement the design for an Android app, both smartphones and tablets. We had already done the iPhone version, so it was just a matter of implementing it and putting it on the Droid platform. We worked with InnovationM to accomplish this, and they turned it around quickly, in a very short timeline. We were nearing the end of our contract with our client. They finished it in about three weeks, when the normal development time was eight weeks.
We had all the design and specs for the iPhone app, and we asked them to port it to Android phones and tablets. We had done all the IA, the wireframing, the mockups, and the graphic assets. We had worked with this in-house developer to develop the iPhone and iPad version of the app, and we needed to do that for Droid. That’s when we decided to go with InnovationM just for the Android component. We gave them all the graphic assets, IA, structure, logic, and the source code from the iPhone. They referenced it, but I don’t know if they used it or were able to build on it. I forgot which language they used.
What was your process for selecting InnovationM?
InnovationM approached us, and put in a quote. I had a call with our current contact, and he asked some questions about the project. They submitted a quote; it was the most detailed of all the quotes we received. It was very well priced for the turnaround, and they were willing to do it very quickly. Some companies we contacted for quotes didn’t agree to submit a quote with that timeline. That’s how we went with InnovationM.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
It was fairly small.
When was the latest milestone completed for that work?
It was less than $10,000. The project was completed in May or June 2013.
Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?
We were very pleased with their work, and their ability to implement a complex-to-understand app. It's a communication tool between shelter employees, and people to come into shelters or evacuation centers who don’t speak English or have communication challenges of some kind. They are very specific users with very specific needs for the app. They were able to get the work done, and implement it very successfully. Unfortunately, the client we were working with was the State Health Department, and they had never built an app before either. They had been stuck in red tape for six months. The app is just being launched, and we just started uploading it to the different sites, like Google Play and the Apple App Store, this week.
I don’t have any metrics on it, although we and the client were very pleased with the final product. It hasn’t gone to market yet, but I hope it will be on the market this week or early in the 2014.
We got the app that we designed on Nielsen Norman Group Enterprise Apps Report. It was one of 10 apps that were highlighted there because of its design. They asked for a lot of entries. I was at one of their conferences when they put out a call for entries, and we submitted and made it into their top 10. We were profiled in one of their reports, which came out in late summer.
Do you feel that moving to Android from iOS was a good move, or do you think you could have switched the order?
I’m not completely sure. For us, it was easier to start with iOS because it is so structured, and has such a structured set of guidelines. Android is so fragmented that it would have been harder for us to tackle, given our internal process. Process wise, it worked for us. Generally, we agreed to develop an app that would fit all platforms for this client, which was quite ambitious. With the existing process, that was tough. We're doing another app for this client this year, and we decided to make more refined recommendations on what platforms to use.
For example, on the next app, we're just recommending doing it just for tablets, because of the use case and the users. I think we may have been overly ambitious, and it would have made more sense to identify their users, and they should implement the app for that user space. For that particular platform, Android probably would have been best. A lot of staff members have Androids versus iPhones.
Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
Their responsiveness was impressive, and their ability to implement something well in a tight time frame was impressive as well. Since that project was completed, we're in talks with them now. We have a small consulting contract with them for this next app, and we will likely ask them for another quote. I like their communication style, and I like their responsiveness.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?
I can’t think of anything. That was the first time we went through that process, so there were a lot of lessons learns on our side. The challenge involved InnovationM being offshore; the timing had to be something we thought about. We had calls early in the morning because that was late in the day for them. That's just the nature of where they're located – timing.