How did you select this vendor?
I interviewed developers across the spectrum—from local freelancers to large firms with offices across the globe. I knew I wanted a development firm with fluent English skills located near my time zone. Guarana was responsive, seemed easy to work with, and answered my questions without technical jargon. My consulting CTO translated their recommendations from time to time, and he praised Guarana's approach to the challenge.
We laughed a lot together during the vetting process, which I appreciated. They also wanted to use the app themselves, and from the beginning, I wanted the people I worked with to do a good job and live the lifestyle for which the app is designed. With this company, I want to support people who are making an effort to be their best.
Guarana’s price was considerably lower than other big firms; they had good references and had built a similar app before but with different content, so no conflict existed. I liked the fact that they’re located in Montreal, which is only two hours ahead of my time zone. Plus, working with Guarana allowed me to practice a little French.
Describe the project in detail.
Technically, GoBeMap can be thought of as a simultaneous, preset Google search for all the components of a healthy and active lifestyle. We find clean and healthy food, gyms and yoga studios, sporting goods stores, parks and trails, and kids' activities and put them on one map with a list. Categories can be turned on and off for clarity. The app is location-based, but users can also search anywhere in the U.S. Each category is color-coordinated with custom icons for easy identification.
The map has pins that lead to business detail pages for each place, with in-house ratings, images, address, navigation, phone number, and website information. The list view provides a matrix of places in each category that is turned on, and each listing leads to the organization’s detail page.
Since we are based in Colorado and are focusing our marketing efforts here, we are hand-curating a database. This also limits our requests to Google's database. Outside Colorado, we access Google with certain keywords and PlaceTypes and filter the results to eliminate some businesses that use our keywords but aren't truly providing the goods and services that our demographic wants.
I had a clickable prototype when I came to Guarana, along with a specification list that I developed with one of my advisors who has developed a studio-management app. We pared down the prototype to an MVP feature list that was cost-effective but still provided the core features that would allow us to test the market. During development, Guarana made a few minor graphics changes as needed when we scaled back from the prototype, and I revised some graphics as well.
Guarana used my PNG files to recreate the prototype in another software, which we then used for the logic application. Guarana was responsible for applying logic to the prototype screens, setting up and integrating the Heroku database, and setting up the analytics accounts based on the metrics I wanted. They also guided me in navigating the App Store.
What was the team composition?
I dealt mainly with the project manager. I also spoke with at least one engineer, and the CEO was involved in the beginning when we were defining the feature set and budget.