Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
One of the first things that had to happen in this project was we needed to come up with a design. Brightec went beyond to make a great user experience. They went and talked to people on the street and asked how they would engage with our proposed app, what sort of features would work for them, what wouldn't, what they used in the supermarket, what they used at home before they went out, and how would it work for real people. The amount of research that they put behind that before they actually started creating designs we thought was actually quite impressive.
They said in advance that this is what they did, but they actually did. They based the user experience on sensible research and then came up with a design that they believed would work informed by that research. That was the first thing that was a great deliverable, the design that we could all sign off on very quickly. Once they presented a design to us, there were a few tweaks that we said, "Could you do this or that?" But, by and large, it met the brief. We were happy with that. That was a great deliverable.
Then, in terms of the data interchange, the API [application programming interface] has to be efficient, as it's a reasonable amount of data that is passed backward and forward. They clearly said what we needed to surface. We surfaced it. They took it and worked with it. The specifications they came up with for our side of what they needed were very clear, very deliverable, agreed in advance, and so there was no big surprise down the road as to how our side of the project should work as well as theirs. It was a good partnership in terms of that. Then, of course, the thing had to be delivered on time and on budget, which it was.
How did Brightec perform from a project management standpoint?
One of the great things that we experienced was very strong project management. It was strong project management, but it was also very strong communication. Every week, they produced these short little videos on the progress of the project so that we could see. It's quite odd to see how the progress is going before you have a finished app. The video showed us designer screens, and developer screens, and had a developer talk about how that week had gone, and what he'd done. The video kept us in the loop so that we could pick up any problems or issues – there weren't any, as it happened, but if there were, there was a strong communication link to keep us up to date with what was happening.
What distinguishes Brightec from other providers?
When we came to the testing stage, they clearly had a very strong plan to test that it did what it was meant to do from a technical standpoint, but they were very keen to do user testing. We provided them with a number of volunteers. We're a charity – people volunteer to work with us. We provided them with a number of volunteers who did user testing, and they were very keen to hear all that feedback and to take it onboard and to tweak things where they needed tweaking. They were very flexible about that and continued to iterate and make the app better.
I've worked with quite a lot of software companies and, sometimes, the technical testing gets done, but the user testing is almost ticking the box. With Brightec, it wasn't. They were very thorough. That was quite impressive, too.
Is there anything Brightec could have improved or done differently?
Not really, to be honest. It has been a very positive experience, and one we hope to continue. We do envisage there being a phase two to this project where we add additional functionality and enhancement to the app, perhaps toward the end of this year. We do see this being an ongoing business partnership. Yeah, we're happy.