Mobile Development for Education CompanyFeatured Review
- Mobile App Development
- $200,000 to $999,999
- Jan. 2012 - Jan. 2014
- Willing to Refer
"Tack Mobile was instrumental in building out our full mobile suite of apps across iOS and Android phones and tablets."
- New York City, New York
- 1,001-5,000 Employees
- Phone Interview
The client was a large education company looking to create a mobile platform for learners. Tack Mobile was hired to work on these mobile apps, from creating a new brand and style guide to web and mobile development.
The client stated that their apps were rated highly in stores, and praised Tack Mobile for their creative thinking and their innovative approaches as well as their experience in a variety of industries. Tack Mobile is highly recommended.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
Pearson Education provides online learning platforms used by millions of students around the world, especially within the US higher education segment. The platforms are aimed at people working full time, adult learners, stay-at-home moms, and so on, looking to earn a university degree online.
I was a mobile development project manager for the company, working on higher education platforms.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenge were you trying to address with Tack Mobile?
We created mobile apps for serving learners, at a time when mobile was kicking off and providing great opportunities for adults and remote students to learn on their own time. The challenge was to create the best learning experience possible for mobile devices, exploring the opportunities for the area, without simply converting what we already had available for the web. We considered how learners could take the most advantage out of their devices, in ways which couldn't be achieved on the web versions. We engaged with students and educators in order to really understand their lives, problems, and goals.
What was the scope of their involvement?
We engaged with Tack Mobile in an exploration phase, determining what the mobile segment could do for learners and what problems there were to solve. Along with this, we also considered which features should be built, as well as what brand look-and-feel we wanted to get across. Tack Mobile introduced a new type of relationship with the end-user. Our company had worked with universities, and we had been a white label brand for them in the past, but things changed when it came to mobile since we couldn't build an app for every school. There was a new type of relationship that the service needed to have with our students. Trust in our brand would be key for learners getting the best possible experience.
Working with Tack Mobile, we created a completely new brand and style guide which started with the mobile development but ended up carrying back to the web, changing the entire relationship with our learners, over the course of a 2-year period of app development.
The collaboration started small, with only 2-3 people. At one point, we were working with 7 or more full-time people from Tack Mobile. This lasted for around a year and a half, so it was definitely a large engagement. We had a very close relationship, given that our company did not have a mobile team at all when we started working with Tack Mobile. We didn't believe that we could attract the talent and skill necessary for delivering the best quality product for our customers.
How did you come to work with Tack Mobile?
I already knew Tack Mobile's founders, as well as their heads of design and development, through engaging with them at a different company. We were the first customers of Tack Mobile, just as the company got started. I knew their capabilities and how hard they could work, and we worked with Tack Mobile as the team was grown to a much larger size. I picked Tack Mobile because I knew they'd provide a fresh approach, and they understood the complex nature of our problems. We wanted a long-term engagement, not a short project. I'd worked with other companies in the past, all of them had a short-term focus.
How much have you invested with Tack Mobile?
The total cost of our work with Tack Mobile was over $200,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with Tack Mobile in 2012 and had a full 2-year collaboration. As we continued to work with them, we slowly built up our own team, pairing them with Tack Mobile.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Tack Mobile was instrumental in building out our full mobile suite of apps across iOS and Android phones and tablets. We went through generations of app development, which involved many updates. The apps were extremely well received by our end-users, learner instructors, and institution customers. The average rating was 4.5 in app stores, which is not only high in general, but also relative to our competition in the marketplace. The apps had high results from usability and accessibility tests.
We had over a dozen supported languages from around the world, and the apps were used in 100+ countries. Around one million people used the apps every month.
What did you find most impressive about Tack Mobile?
One of Tack Mobile's greatest strengths was that they had the balance of working with a number of clients from other industries, which kept their thinking fresh and enabled the group to bring in new approaches to problems coming from healthcare, energy, or other fields. Tack Mobile took the time to deeply understand the problems associated with education. A cursory approach can not only fail to solve problems but also make them much worse.
Early on, we thought that we needed to have features which mirrored the experiences from other apps, like social media. This proved to be more distracting than it was useful. Tack Mobile's team took the time to perform user discovery surveys, have workshops with learners and educators, looking at the data, and determining what issues they were having, and how they could be better solved. This commitment to deep thinking is something which I haven't seen as much with other companies. Our work took more focus and a better process.
Are there any areas Tack Mobile could improve?
There were some growing pains while Tack Mobile's team was being built, but I always felt that any issues with individual team members were dealt with quickly, and they made sure that we were happy with the talent working for us. Nothing comes to mind around big improvement issues.
I acted as the product manager, and we also had our own project managers for the engagement with Tack Mobile. Other companies might need those functions, and they were missing on Tack Mobile's side early on. When I worked with them, Tack Mobile was more of a talent agency than a full-service one. This may have changed since that time. We got exactly what we needed, and didn't pay more than was reasonable.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
"Due to the nature of our relationship, this question may not be fully applicable. Project management was more our responsibility than Tack Mobile's. We set user stories based on bi-weekly scrums, and Tack Mobile executed the work accordingly."
Value / within estimates
"We ultimately moved to an in-house team due to the higher cost of working with Tack Mobile, and outsourced to another company as well. Working with a team like Tack Mobile doesn't make sense for a company where cost is a concern."
Willing to Refer5.0
"I have referred them.