What was the scope of their involvement?
We initially built an Android version of the app, and then built an iOS version. We didn’t have a design, but I did bring in a clear idea of how the app should work. We had to make some fixes to IWA’s work later on, but not many.
There is a WhatsApp-style communication functionality on the app where a young person can send a message, then it’s taken in to identify the problem. It’s either then replied to by us or forwarded to the appropriate support, such as a police officer. This functionality was bought separately from a Finnish service called Ninchat, and IWA embedded the tool.
There is a schedule that details which online services, for young people, are currently open. Users can click on a particular service and go directly to it, and it’s an easy way of finding online counseling. It works based off of the Google Calendar system, which is embedded in the app. The other functionalities were built from scratch by IWA Ltd.
In addition, there are some informational pages about, for example, what to do in the event of cyber-bullying. We can also embed some videos there, and it functions as a self-help tool that provides easily accessible knowledge for people who are in trouble online or offline.
The heavy work was done around the message board system, through which all messages are delivered to us and other members involved (police and victim support professionals). They can see the same questions and can forward them to appropriate people. We can see replies and further progress for each question through a log, which was tricky to build and was something we’ve worked on since the beginning.
We faced the problem of not being able to see questions being addressed to police officers because of Finnish law, which caused us to have to build another version. After making this correction, police officers could see all the posts, but we couldn’t see the messages intended for the officers.
What is the team dynamic?
All details, from graphic design to general look, were done together with their team. We had frequent online and face-to-face meetings at their office in Helsinki. I met IWA at least 3 times before going on maternity leave. We had a close collaboration with their design team, as well as with the people responsible for the technology and coding work.
There was one project manager assigned to us from IWA’s side who coordinated a group of developers from Thailand. He was located there, more or less.
How did you come to work with IWA Ltd.?
We were doing some benchmarking through other NGOs, as well as conducting Google searches and asking colleagues about developers who were creating similar apps successfully. When we met IWA, it was a match made in heaven. They understood what we wanted and were open to collaborating, as well as rethinking our concept. IWA pushed us to reconsider some of our hopes and wishes, and it was easy to work with them from the beginning. We met some other companies as well, but it was not really successful.
How much have you invested with them?
The cost of their work was approximately €80,000 [$95,000].
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with IWA in July 2015. The iOS app was published in February 2017, which ended the main part of the work. The project is still ongoing, and we’re able to contact them for support concerning any bugs or technical issues.