Please describe the scope of their work?
We designed it, and we're fairly talented on that. We wanted to make sure that we kept it within the framework of the brand that we offer. We designed the look of it, and we gave them the scope of the interaction. We designed the UI and the UX of how you interact within the system. They had to figure out the back end to communicate with our servers. They were the coders.
Their performance was very nice. We're good at design work, and we have very good attention to detail. Because we didn’t have them do design, we usually interfaced with their engineers. To be fair, the missed a few thing with regard to QA, and making sure it's perfect. Every pixel is important to us, in terms of how everything matches up. They missed one or two of those. In our QA process, when we went back to them, they never got frustrated with us when we wanted a pixel moved over or something else changed a bit. They were willing and eager to go back and forth. They never expressed any frustration about the whole process. We probably went back and forth about 20 times on tiny revisions to get it right with our specs. There was not a single complaint.
Why did you select the iPad as opposed to Android or iOS?
The original version of the app is about a year and a half old. We talked to them about two years ago when I was in Washington, D.C., on a business trip. Two years ago, the iPad had a stranglehold on this. This was well before Samsung and the other companies got a foothold in tablets. The main reason was because the iPad was dominant, but also because of the fragmentation. We're a niche provider. We're not Pinterest or Facebook, and we're not going to sell to all these individuals, and we don’t have the flexibility or the affordability to make seven different versions of the Android app. We have always told Appetizer Mobile we would start with the iPad and, because we have a close relationship with Microsoft, porting it onto to Windows. They said they could do that, but we haven’t done it because the service hasn’t gotten any traction. It comes down to iPad market share. We fully expect to expand it into Android.
What was your process for selecting Appetizer Mobile to work with?
I did a Google search to find them, and I put a few feelers out there. There are a lot of international firms that offer iPad and iOS services, but we really wanted to work with a domestic firm. We knew what we wanted, but we weren’t well versed in the iOS terminology, and mobile was still relatively new. I wanted someone who was flexible and wouldn’t be so rigid with us so that they weren’t going to help us learn and be flexible as we learn to make sure that we got what we wanted.
I didn’t want to have a situation to be told that’s not what we agreed to. Flexibility and who they are as people are important to us. We went through a few companies that made all the promises, but you didn’t feel like you were getting the full story. We liked the fit as far as personalities, and the flexibility that they ultimately did give us.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
The fundamental need to download an app is fairly simple. The backend occupied more of the time for the build. The backend communicated and authenticated our access, used our user name and password that we granted the person and made sure that they didn’t have access to content that they weren’t permitted to have.
The project was in the $20,000 range. I was happy with the price, and I think we should have paid about $30,000. Because of that, we’ve gone back to them for a few revisions since then. They were very accommodating with the idea that we could continue to work with them.
When was the latest milestone completed for that work?
The first version was done in July of 2012, and the most recent version updated for iOS 7 was completed in October of 2013.