Technology

Custom Applications

25% of apps are abandoned after a single day.

Be in the 75%.

We deliver secure, scalable, easy to use web and mobile applications.

Why custom applications?

A custom application provides you with complete control over the experience you want to give your customer.  Your customer in this case may be internal or external.

Custom applications include:

  • Mobile apps
  • Web apps or Minimum Viable Products
  • Key internal systems where your requirements are very unique and you need to create your own or significantly customise an off the shelf solution e.g.
    • Learning or Accreditation Management System
    • Logistics and Resource Management System
    • Event, Ordering and Ticketing System
    • Helping one of your current systems integrate with another

The types of returns you might look for from an application include:

  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased customer engagement
  • Increased resource or other cost savings
  • Increased transparency and visibility for better decision making and resulting profit increases

How does it work?

We use a methodology called “Agile” for all of the custom applications we build.  This means that often the steps we take will happen in parallel and we’ll be really transparent and open with you throughout the whole project.  The project is up into smaller, two week chunks and delivered in phases.  This allows you to see more progress, sooner.

Discover

Communications Plan

In delivering applications, the one thing we find is most important along the way is open and regular communication.

Each organisation is different, which is why we start this planning process by identifying key stakeholders, their information needs, communication styles and then preparing a customised plan that is carried out throughout the project.

Conduct Customer Research

It all starts with taking a deep dive into your core user types (people who will be using the application) to understand what their challenges are.  This often means meeting with these people and asking a range of questions to understand their unique situation.  We do this in preparation for the initial user experience workshop.

Conduct UX Workshop

Once key stakeholders have been identified, an initial workshop can be held on site or at out offices, whatever you prefer, to begin the discovery process.  We’ll hold workshops to help define user persona’s and the information architecture of the application.  We’ll deep dive into the value proposition for each user, create characters that help bring users to life so you can walk in their shoes and use techniques such as cart sorting to prioritise information.

To validate the information structure we may conduct further online user tests before continuing with functional requirements gathering.

User Stories: Gather requirements and prioritise

During this step we run a second workshop with key stakeholders to brainstorm user stories and to document key user flows through the website.  The user stories are written in a standard format which flow through to the development requirements which have further business analysis and test cases assigned to each.

To validate functional requirements, we may conduct feature reviews with ultimate users to understand how important certain features are to them and help to minimise wasted spend based on ideas or functions that users won’t value.

Scope Definition

It is at this point that we recommend scope lock down.  The preparation of a document that contains the key user stories that are mandatory for delivery throughout scope.  It is important to note that there may be some extra features that are unclear whether they can be included until development velocity (speed) is calculated within the first 2 weeks of development delivery.

Interaction Design and Wireframing

Many development companies begin their process with detailed requirements documentation.  Our key difference is to use the prioritised requirements gathered during the discovery phase to drive immediate lo-fi mock-ups/wireframes.

Using our best practice knowledge in User Interface and Interaction Design, we create mock-ups for all key high level requirements.

This enables you and any other stakeholders to login and easily navigate through the application to see how different elements may operate.  Along with this, we create a supporting User Requirements analysis which includes “happy” and “sad” test cases for each user story.  This means, during the quality checking phase, each requirement is able to be tested for successful and unsuccessful use cases.

From our past experience, we know this type of approach enables us to save between 100 and 500 hours of development time (depending on the size of the project).

Again, in this stage we’ll usually test with 8-10 users to ensure we’re on the right track and to identify any key usability issues before coding begins.

Process Mapping

During this step we map out system process flow diagrams that support the development components of the project which, along with development test notes in the mock ups (wireframes), the development team have complete clarity around what they need to do. These process diagrams are Microsoft Visio compatible and can be exported in multiple formats.

Designing and Content Planning

We give you a choice when it comes to design.  By using admin themes we are able to significantly reduce the cost of font end coding of any application and ensure the development team focuses purely on back end functions.  However if a unique design is important, it is at this point that we would apply a design onto of all the wireframes.

Any system notifications or key system content would also need to be written at this point and mapped back to the related process diagrams.

Build

App Development Planning

Diagram Solution Architecture

During this step, our development team will review all the requirements, process and wireframe documentation put together and design a diagram that showcases our recommended final state solution architecture.  This requires a lot of thinking about the future of a system to ensure it is secure, stable and that the platform it is going to be built on can meet the functional requirements.

Entity Relationship Diagram

From this, we map out the data points required in the database we will be working with:

Add test requirements to stories and stories to development project system

“Stories” is another word for “requirements” and we use this to describe a specific chunk of functionality to be delivered.

To each story, we add test requirements.  This is what our tester would use to validate if the story (once developed and delivered), is functioning as expected. Each story is added to a detailed project management tool for development:

Estimate the complexity of each story

In any custom development project, it is difficult to assign exact hours to complete any piece of functionality.  However, from experience we understand the basic speed that each developer works at, and we use this information to work through each story with the development team and estimate the complexity of each story (ranking from 0-3 points).

Estimate expected speed of delivery

We place all stories in priority order and then estimate expected speed of delivery of the points allocated to each story (this is commonly referred to as “velocity”). It is from here we can provide a broad understanding of the likely cost – however we often re-estimate after the first or second week once we can confirm velocity.

App Development Delivery

Development

This is where custom development begins.  Likely using agile methodology (however the approach does depend on the requirements), Artlivemedia would deliver key requirements within 2-week cycles.  While we may not deploy live, the idea is to test in these cycles and provide a view of working functionality to you every two weeks.

Test

ALM Internal Testing

As each story is delivered, the Artlivemedia development team hand over to the Artlivemedia testing team who then test the functions are working in multiple browsers and document any issues found.  The development team then update any changes that need to be made.

Staging and User Beta Testing

We deploy the application to a staging location which one of your business representatives can log into and double check all tests we have conducted on our end to ensure the system is working as you would expect it. We may also include other end users at this stage to pick up any key usability or functional issues.

Deliver

Training and Handover

Staff training documentation is written and key, on-site or remote training planned.  All training is accompanied by a recording of the training for later use and a supporting manual for key functions.

Technical and Admin Handover

Here we hand over all key items including login credentials, analytics and webmaster verifications, code repositories, web service functionality, documentation supporting key technical features, security and hosting.  We also provide the option of managing the application for you once live.

Why We Stack Up

The divide between strategy, technology and communications is the gap our team is able to close.  A great app development company helps you deliver a technically great app.  Our team allows you to deliver a technically great app that meets and exceeds the needs and expectations of your users.

We reverse engineer the development process and put the user at the centre.  Because our team excels at strategy as well as development, we can ensure you focus your investment in the right area and prioritise the right features for your end users.

What Our Customers Say

TRACKBITS

Trackbits is a Melbourne-based organisation providing project management solutions to the international audio industry.

Project Overview

  • Ability for users to create their own process flow for each new project
  • Ability for administrators to assign complex user roles and permissions to access each stage of each project, files within that stage and more.
  • Interactive notes tracking for audio tracks
  • Client sign off process creation, task lists, budgets, resources and more
  • Create and store large multi-gigabyte projects in the cloud
  • Stream audio and video (next phase will include ability to add notes interactively along an audio or video timeline)

“I have been so impressed with the Artlivemedia team. I feel as if they are an extension of my team and that level of service ultimately has enabled Trackbits to begin to forge a name for itself as the go-to product for audio production management in the industry.” 

Simon Moro, Founder