Web design agency based in Shanghai
Built on a philosophy of talented people and great results, QPSOFTWARE LTD is a web design agency, results-driven, full-service digital agency specializing in website design, WeChat/Mobile app development and digital marketing.
Since our establishment in 2007, our mission has always been to create websites and digital solutions to help our clients grow their businesses online. Indeed, the QPSOFTWARE difference is built on relationships with measurable results as we take pride in nurturing authentic connections between our partners/clients and their intended audience.
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"The relationship is as good as it could be, so I’m glad to be involved with them."
QP Software acted as the CTO for a digital communication platform startup. They handled designs and development for the website, mobile (iOS & Android), UI/UX, and quality assurance.
"The relationship is as good as it could be, so I’m glad to be involved with them."
Oct 12, 2017
With the aid of online marketing and advertising, the app received 1,000 user accounts very quickly, but there were bugs that impacted user's behavior with the app. QP Software was efficient and delivered great code, yet their project management and presentation could have been improved.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
We are a Luxembourg-based tech startup whose objective is to create a digital communication platform, which is basically a mobile app on both iOS and Android dedicated to patients in the state of semi-consciousness or immobilization and their families to allow a constant, regular communication towards the patient. Generally speaking, these are patients in a coma, vegetative states, minimal consciousness space, locked-in syndrome, and so on. I am the CEO.
What challenge were you trying to address with QPSoftware?
I finished my MBA and I had this idea. I was looking for a reliable technical partner, basically a CTO, who could be not just a provider but a full partner in the project being a large majority paid in cash and with a part of the interest in the long run and also benefit from the future success of our venture.
I could cover pretty much every aspect of the business with my contacts, with my experience, but I had zero experience in the tech part. I needed someone who could manage the website, the problems, the servers, eventually even find extra providers in the tech part. I needed someone who could be independent in anything that concerned the development of both our app and our website and any technical CSO, etc. that come up down the way.
What was the scope of their involvement?
They built the website and took care about GoDaddy contracts. Every tech part, I would give my input on how I’d like things to be done. They did well in giving me ideas of all the options that were on the table with a good idea about the risks of each direction. We developed version 1 which is currently live. We keep working together for the version 2 and we already have the agreement for version 3 which is expected by Q2 2018.
They supported me with something that was not specific to their business, but since we recently integrated the whole graphic aspect and UX experts in, we went through exactly what we wanted to do on paper and defined the corporate image and the corporate branding. We did integrate this part and it went very well. We could create the corporate branding manual of the company, which then became the website which was the first product that came out of these set of rules.
The website was very interesting. I wanted to do something a bit peculiar. They used all sorts of management tools (Drupal, etc). We could quickly go to what we wanted. The website procedures went on pretty smoothly and quickly. We found a few problems here or there that were solved quickly as well.
Then we started talking about the mobile application. We evaluated all the options in either going native or choosing anything that could simplify the development but would maybe have more bugs. We decided to go for native which was also their recommendation. The app itself went very well and very quick. Everything we had was pretty standard, like standard APIs or network creation approval of contacts and start interacting between two accounts.
We had issues with an important part of the code. The transmission of messages that are played only at certain times of the day on a smartphone that is in a room of a patient. We had to re-identify what was the real-life scenario and adapt and create something really unique for us. We had few problems with this, either compression issues or talking with the server. Version 1 was delivered after 7-8 months from the very first line of code. That may be a bit long, but I thought the team worked well. I was worried and I was pushing, but I think it was a good job that it was done in the time it was.
Version 2 was about debugging everything we found. We had the app living in the open environment for 5 months. We tried to observe any problem from the smallest to the major. Version 2 took us 4-5 months to develop. There was a tricky part also because they decided to change the internal team. They took the project and gave it to a new team. I know that within these 5 months, it was also a good month and a half of people that just looking at the code, understanding what was done before, and then starting to work on it. That was managed by QP and I think that at the stage where we are now, it was the right choice.
We hope to launch V2 this Quarter on both Android and iOS. We’re just doing our very last endurance test this weekend. We’ve already been working on V3. We went back to talk with the same guys that did the corporate branding and the website, and we designed the new graphics integration for all the 50 plus pages of the app. They’re going to take V2, make a full reanalysis of the entire software to understand what can be optimized and what can be reworked, recoded eventually to create something more stable, something that will reach hopefully almost the level of something like Skype, and can offer with intermobility especially. Knowing that V2 will be fully working and debugged, we have time to breathe before launching V3. We will not be rushing as much as we did for V2.
What is the team dynamic?
I have experience and I do have the resources to know what I’m doing with marketing, finance, international trade, and privacy policies. Everything that is coding, is discussed with QPSoftware what the solutions are. It was very easy to sit down and understand how each team worked because they have always been extremely transparent, both with the problems and the solutions that they could implement. We could definitely find a good way of work. I understood that maybe in some cases I need to be a little bit more involved in the decision of process, and it’s enough to make sure that the entire communication within QP doesn’t get lost or we don’t lose time or anything. Our partnership is focused on trying to work as if we were one company. It has worked so far, and I am satisfied.
I started with Quentin, the CEO and partner of our company. I talk with him mostly about payments and project development on a large scale. My daily interaction is with Ahmed, who is one of his senior project leaders. He is the one who will talk with the entire development team. 90% of my issues are generally solved by Ahmed.
Then there is another 5% of things that I discuss directly with the graphics guys because we know each other. We understand each other pretty well concerning the design. I can go straight to them. There is another 5% of issues concerning general administration. Other times, when I see there is a specific problem and I haven’t had an answer in a couple of days, then I talk directly with the CEO, and that generally moves very quickly.
There is also Salim and Benito. They’re experts on graphic design and UX. Whenever I need to design anything, even a new logo or a HIPAA compliance or anything, I talk to them. There are 3-4 Chinese guys, and they are focused on operations in China which is an option that we haven’t faced yet. They have the capability to create paying platforms and whatever is needed from a legal perspective in China. There are also a couple of Indian women that are more in charge of the SEO and the marketing optimization, which I don’t really need. They’re more like consultants. I do the marketing myself with other resources that I have from my own network.
The team hasn’t changed in terms of size. It may have changed in terms of people concerning the development. They may add another 4-5 people, but nothing significant. There are another 6-7 people I don’t really interact with. There are a couple of them that are in Australia. I think a few others are in Paris. The senior guys in Australia have been working on my project. He solved some specific problem of the website, but I didn’t talk with him. I talked with Ahmed and Ahmed distributed the work to him because there was an issue that he could solve relatively easy because he is a senior developer.
How did you come to work with QPSoftware?
I was looking for a partner. At the time, my wife lived in Shanghai. I was still looking for options in the United States, Luxembourg, London, and Paris. I started contacting people. Generally, it’s through a connection of people you already know, people who already developed something. QP came kind of out of nowhere; there was someone who introduced us, and I liked the approach. The idea of not having a provider but a partner, you have to find someone who understands what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, sees the potential, and gets on board. With QP, that was almost immediate, which tends to be a good sign.
I had written offers from at least 8 other companies. I think 2 were in California, 3 in Luxembourg, and there were a couple somewhere else in northern Europe. I did also have another couple of offers in Shanghai. Again, the feeling was about companies that can develop this kind of things, but their core business is about graphics and nice revolutionary website which is basically the marketing part. The marketing part, as useful as it can be, was not what we were looking for. In our case we want to do a tool that was revolutionary, that was very different. I needed more of that technical know-how. QP was definitely in the top 3. In terms of the offer, they were in the top 2. In terms of feeling and understanding each other, they were by far number 1.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in January 2016. We have ongoing work with them.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
In terms of the feeling of the market, we are very satisfied. This is one of the reasons why I’ve been very annoyed with V2 about debugging. Since we launched and we started doing a little bit of marketing, €150 a week in Facebook and Google AdWords, and that generated 30,000 followers on Facebook and 2,000 visits per week on our website. People are writing us on a daily basis about how they can they use it, how could it be solid, why is there a little bug that it doesn’t work, and the verification SMS code seemed not to work in the United States. We’ve solved that.
The market started being very active and they come back to you, especially if the product does not work 100% like we want it to. What we’re trying to do is something complex. In our case, it’s healthcare and something that needs to become the best companion of a patient in such a critical state means that your product needs to be sparkling good. That’s very annoying. That’s one of the most delicate problems of our business; you can create a 5-star product, super stable, super guaranteed and every crash is a customer you lose basically.
The app went out and we saw about 1,000 accounts created very quickly, but the people would not use it as long as we were hoping because of all the bugs. I’m not worried about it because I think that the feeling that we have from the market is extremely positive. I think that being 6 months late on the market will not be a major problem. What I’m concerned about is about having a product, V2 that we are about to launch and V3 that will come out in 6 months, that needs to be sparkling in terms of usability, in terms of stability, and in terms of general working. We cannot afford to have problems there.
How did QPSoftware perform from a project management standpoint?
We talk at least 3 times a week. I either talk with them or visit them in person. Most of the time I try to talk with them through WeChat or WhatsApp or Skype. They are very active. Communication has never been an issue with QP.
The partnership with us was very beneficial for them because of the fact that I wasn’t just a customer and I had a long-term plan that included them as partners with their CEO being a shareholder. That allowed them to structure their approach. The projects required fewer tests and less attention to details like we needed. At the beginning, from a project management standpoint, I felt that a few of the bugs that we solved on the version 1 were due to a kind of lack of control over what was going on on a specific part of the development.
They changed 2 guys. They changed their approach to feedback to me specifically. They could get better but it’s due to their team being 20-30 people.
What did you find most impressive about them?
They were exactly what I was looking for in terms of efficiency. Having people focused on the hard part of development rather than a company that sells you 30% development and 70% of SEO or these techniques that require some structure. They are a great partner.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Project management and feedback to clients, which generally shows a little lack of self-organization. I guess this is typical of very techy guys fully focused on development and coding.
Do you have any advice for potential clients?
Have a clear view of what you want to achieve. They are cutting edge, advanced, techy, geeky guys. Do your homework and know what your options are. If you just know a bit about coding, you know you’re not going to lose time chatting about options that shouldn’t be on the table. If you’re someone who’s not too techy and just has a small idea of what you want to achieve, then you could possibly struggle. Apart from this, QP is an excellent choice.