Case Study: App For Volunteers Assisting Fire Brigades In The Field
PreCom is a mobile app for skilled volunteers who are willing to help fire brigades at work. Such activities are practised across the Netherlands, where this mobile product doesn't have any competitors. It's a serious job, and it requires certain expertise from PreCom volunteer applicants. You may be either a driver, a medic, a firefighter, or even be registered as a person who has all of these skills - as long as you are ready to help, PreCom welcomes you.
PreCom already had a working website with all the required backend. There were beepers that alerted volunteers of incidents. Yet a substantial thing lacking was coordination and scheduling. Volunteers needed a convenient means of organizing in teams and scheduling availability. Whenever a volunteer is marked as available, they receive a notification about an incident and where it happened to quickly respond. Meanwhile other volunteers must receive up-to-date information about all activities.
The best solution was creating a mobile app that would work across all major platforms (since there's nothing better than applying BYOD policy in this case). This had to be an app as reliable and effective as the fire brigade itself.
The app naturally has a wide range of encompassed platforms and devices: iOS 7 and later; Android 2.6 and later; and Windows Phone 8. The app was tested on countless devices – designed for smartphones in the first place, it can easily run on tablets, even though there were no special adjustments.
- • The user has to have an account in order to sign in, check and manage the agenda, set the status, and manage the schedule.
- • There is a calendar which shows the user's availability, and it's shared with other members of the network.
- • The user can schedule their availability in groups divided by their occupation (usually one group per person, yet someone can have equally great skills of medic and driver, then there may be more groups).
- • PhoneGap
- • RAD.js
- • HTML5, CSS3
- • Apache Cordova
RESULTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
As was mentioned above, the Client provided us with the backend and its API. As often happens in these cases, there were certain complications along the way – yet nothing that our team couldn't handle in a while. For example, proper displaying of team schedules required subtle adjustments on the backend side. After the Client dealt with those adjustments, the problems were quickly fixed.
Other extra adjustments were of UI/UX design nature. The Client had suggestions as for design, yet they had contradictions with the scheduling feature and time pickers. Our UX specialists made major alterations of design to ensure high intuitivity and clarity of user's actions.
We also made plenty of minor functional suggestions, which were accepted by the Client, and all of them worked for the overall improvement of the product. Android and iOS versions took off first, then the Client observed the success in the usage and returned for a Windows Phone version, which was also successfully created and launched. The whole business, from sketching to deployment for all three platforms, took less than 6 months. Currently PreCom app is a great example of high-quality multiplatform product, which dispels the myth that truly great apps can be developed only by native means.