Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.
The main overriding goal was ease of use. The application has to be self-explanatory, which means that, given the complexity of what we're trying to achieve, it needed to conform to what people were used to. We couldn't do any wacky UX [user experience] experiments, but needed to provide a fun and engaging experience. This was an overall directive given to hedgehog lab.
Another unusual requirement was that, given the way in which we plan to market the app, we needed to have Android and iOS versions developed concurrently. Android is scheduled to finish development one month after the iOS version, which is atypical in the mobile space. We will include the apps in our current marketing flow, which is not aimed at specific operating systems. If it was only an iOS app, we couldn't simply mention an app in general for people to download, when roughly 50 percent of our users have Android devices.
We spec'd out the application fairly well before approaching hedgehog lab in terms of the functionality we needed, but there was an entire process that involved taking our specs and turning them into a minimum viable product.
We have in-house developers ourselves, so we're pretty tech-savvy, but we lack expertise in native app development. We took an approach of how we wanted the app to look on a mobile device, without fully understanding mobile paradigms needed for a good user experience.
I flew out to participate in a workshop with hedgehog lab for about a week. We hashed out what the app was going to look like, based on my company's preliminary designs. We ended up with a much cleaner user experience as a result.
How did you come to work with hedgehog lab?
I engaged with many firms, probably upward of 30. I wanted to make sure that I'd be confident in my selection. We're based in New York City and have an office in San Diego, so we looked in both of those locations. We also looked in California, New York, and other places in the United States and the United Kingdom. We didn't consider any India- or Philippines-based companies due to work communication barriers.
It came down to a number of things I was looking for, ones that hedgehog lab met in their entirety. One of those was their accuracy in making time and cost estimations. I was looking for firms with a lack of hubris. Many companies pitched extraordinarily heavy on how they're better than everyone else, which cannot be possible all of the time.
We were also looking for a company that would offer a warranty period for their work. I assumed that this would be true for most companies when entering this process, but it didn't turn out to be the case. Some companies charge clients even for fixing broken outputs if they are post-launch date.
Lastly, we wanted to ensure that they'd be willing to work with us. We feared a company that would just take our project, build it in isolation for six months, and present it. I didn't want to put money in a black box and hope for a good result. We had chats with their project managers in order to see what their processes were. hedgehog lab was willing to accept this, sharing any code that we requested.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
The total development cost was $250,000, not including marketing efforts.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with hedgehog lab in December 2015. The project has passed its design phase and is now in mid-development.
The scope of our app is very large. It's not a true minimum viable product, but rather the version 1.0 of an app. Development time is expected to be five or six months. We expect to launch the iOS version at the beginning of August 2016. The Android version is scheduled for the following month.