Arty Geek created a complex piano-playing animation tool in HTML5, allowing seamless functionality across browser types through the integration of music notation, media, and XML files.
The completed product supports up to 5,000 daily users, thanks to Arty Geek’s stable development work. The team contributed significant amounts of exploratory research and the work product is high quality.
"I only have good things to say about them."
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the CEO of Negina, which provides online music lessons for the Israeli and German markets.
What challenge were you trying to address with Arty Geek?
What was the scope of their involvement?
We needed to create a tool that works within a browser—on Chrome, Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, etc.—that can play a lot of music notes simultaneously with no gaps or no noticeable delays and without using Flash. Back then, we used Flash, but browsers stopped supporting that, and we needed to move to HTML5. Most companies we approached didn’t even want to dive into it because there weren’t many libraries of Open Source resources that we could use to create it. Arty Geek had to do extensive exploration. They were positive they could do it. Most other companies said it was too early to create this tool in HTML5. Arty Geek went through a month or so of exploration at their expense just to prove to me that they could do it. They created a very simple prototype that actually did what I wanted, then they moved on to creating the entire tool, which was quite complex.
The piano tool actually shows you how to play a specific tune. Let’s say you want to play Hey Jude by The Beatles. You see a piano in front of you, and when you press play, you can see which keys are being depressed. You can make the playback slow or fast, and you can show the name of the note on the keys. You can isolate the right or left hand if you want. You can see the actual notes on the screen while the song is being played, so it’s actually learning by imitation.
The tool is designed for people who don’t know how to play piano and don’t want to go through the struggle of learning notation, which takes years. We offer that as well, but it’s not a key focus. [In comparison,] [t]here are tons of YouTube videos that show you how to play songs. The backend is quite complex because it has to combine a lot of different files, including XML files, media files, and music notation files that need to be synced within the browser and not in a native app, which is very easy to do because it would rely on the power of the device.
How did you come to work with Arty Geek?
I work with freelancers from all over the world. I have family in Ukraine in the same city where Arty Geek is located. On a family vacation, I had some business meetings with local companies and tried to find partners for this project. I chose Arty Geek because they were so sure they could create the tool. I also looked at their reviews on Upwork, which were fantastic.
How much have you invested with Arty Geek?
We have spent around $50,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working with them in October of 2015, and the project was completed in March of 2017. We’re still in touch.
Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?
The product is used by 4,000–5,000 people every day, and it’s very stable and works as it should. Before this, we had a Flash tool that didn’t work on mobile devices. Obviously, once we implanted this new tool in our website, we saw growth as mobile users became potential clients. We had an increase of about 70% in revenue because of this.
How did Arty Geek perform from a project management standpoint?
I only have good things to say about them. The starting phase was exploratory because they wanted to verify for themselves and show me that they could build the tool. After that, they gave me estimations about each phase. They broke down the project into several phases so that we could measure the achievements, and I paid them according to that structure. I didn’t have a strict timeline for them because the work was quite innovative and it’s hard to tell how much time it would take to solve an issue that nobody else has before.
I was very happy with the way they reported their progress. They’re very easy to reach, and they answer questions. They were also very communicative about asking for help. After working with a lot of freelancers and companies around the world, I find that people often just do what they think is best and send over something completely different than what was described.
What did you find most impressive about Arty Geek?
They stay up-to-date with new technology, and it’s quite unique. Their employees are constantly learning new technologies like Angular. For my project, that was crucial. They also have great communication skills, which I didn’t expect when outsourcing to another country. Arty Geek always listens, and they provided a contact person so that I didn’t have to speak with the entire division.
Are there any areas Arty Geek could improve?
We’ve finished what we defined, and now we have a long set of corrections and things to change because of my inaccurate specifications. I don’t think they’re fit to do little projects. If I need another 10 hours of working on the tool, they may not be the best option. So, I continue to develop the product in-house. I would like to do the final touches with them, but they’re focused more on larger-scope projects. I could wait until I have enough changes to offer them a project. Maintenance over time is not cost-effective for them if there are limited hours per month. That’s something that could be improved.