What was the scope of their involvement?
We sent an initial scope of work for designing our fan app. It was full range, from functionality to look and feel. Future Platforms worked on the branding for all our clubs as well as the information the app needed to include. They came up with ideas and produced wireframes for them. We were starting from scratch, so their team was the genesis of the idea. Once we came to an agreement, Future Platforms developed our apps for iOS and Android. We did look at other platforms, but these 2 were the ones we needed the most, based on Future Platforms’ recommendation.
Future Platforms also helped us with focus groups. Since we wanted to be one step removed from the process—we didn’t want to go directly to clubs—Future Platforms set up regional meetings with fans to find out what they wanted from the app. Future Platforms’ team also used the knowledge they gained from developing other apps in the sports industry. These 2 components were pulled together for our end product.
Another company created a different app for users with disabilities, but we wanted a native version that could be embedded into mobile devices. Our goal was to understand what disabled supporters wanted. We also wanted to ensure that the app received an AbilityNet accreditation, which is a hallmark for apps that are considered fully accessible. This was a departure from the first app. Future Platforms helped us figure out what the second app should look like, particularly how to display information on mobile devices. There’s a wealth of detail around our stadiums, but we wanted to make maps the central feature. It was a challenge to display an interactive map for a stadium with different areas and several levels. The map also had to be compatible with mobile tools like Google Maps, allowing it to become a living resource for people on the move. In summary, Future Platforms had to develop a platform that was simple, clear, and easy to use for persons with disabilities.
How did you come to work with Future Platforms?
I wasn’t working for the company when they were first engaged. Based on our notes, we looked at a few different options. My boss picked Future Platforms, but I don’t know how they were chosen. It could have been based on a personal recommendation.
How much have you invested with Future Platforms?
So far, the cost of their work for our 2 apps is around £250,000 [$320,000].
What is the status of this engagement?
I believe we started working with Future Platforms in 2014. The fan app has been completed, and we continue to work on the app for fans with disabilities. Our current agreement with Future Platforms will continue until the end of the next football season. We’ve been working with Future Platforms for a number of years, and we have settled into a path where they know what we’re looking for and can provide it.