Case Study: R3ciprocity
One of our main tasks is to understand the goals of our clients and help them with forming the single optimal solution. This is how it became possible to develop and deliver a high-quality proofreading platform on a tight budget. It's called Reciprocity (stylized as R3ciprocity), and our today's story will cover its creation, starting with product requirements made from scratch—and up to successful deployment.
When the client, a university Assistant Professor, addressed us, he had the idea of creating a Web-based platform that would allow students to submit their essays for proofreading and involve competent editors that would be paid for their services.
Our task was to form and create a minimum viable product that would be true to its name, bringing both categories of users together. Proofreading is quite a large niche, so we had to build a product that would stand out against competitors, first and foremost, in terms of convenience.
Initially, we had a single page demo that was provided by the client and showed the general idea. First, we spent some time on elaboration of requirements, and they were formed into a minimal specification. The decision was to embrace minimalism in UI design, cover as many user scenarios as we can, and make the most of the budget in order to build a great product.
From the very beginning, the client was actively involved in the process, while we were bringing ideas to the table as well. At the UI/UX design stage, we shared results with the client once a week and discussed them.
Our designer did a tremendous job, offering a number of ideas that would make the experience appealing to end users. Our basic use cases— such as "As a user, I want to submit my text for proofreading, in order to get a high-quality text"—grew into 10-15 variations. Our goal was to consider all possible situations so that users would always get what they were expecting.
For example, the platform introduced an internal currency called R3ciprocity Credits, which could be bought by users, converted into real money and transferred to bank cards by editors. A single registered user would be able to perform both roles—student and editor—so we wanted to lead them to correct scenarios. Therefore, instead of simply leading the user to the credit purchase screen, we added a parallel option of requesting a job. When the user has two options, the purchase no longer seems obligatory and is less likely to repel them.
There were lots of other ideas that we contributed to the product. We agreed that the app would be tablet-optimized, made an overhaul of the logo, changed the initial logic of submitting and receiving proofreading requests, and designed informative tiles of different colors that showed relevant information about submitted texts.
When the UI/UX design and the list of features were approved, we started planning the work according to the available budget. As a result, then-existing need to cut testing costs was eliminated.
The backend was fully created, set up, and tested by our team. The client had 4 domains, and we made the system available for all of them.
During the implementation, we paid special attention to management of feedbacks and ratings, submission logic, calculation of credits according to the overall rating, and formulas that evaluate readability.
• Submissions of texts for reviewing
• Job requests for proofreading
• Feedbacks on editors
• Editor ratings (1-5 stars)
• Job status
• Purchase/withdrawal of R3ciprocity Credits
• Boosting jobs in a queue
• Assigning jobs to best editors
• Rewards for sharing on social networks
• Yii2 Framework
• Amazon S3
Over the entire course of development, we were on the same page with the client. We shared the same vision, and our solutions were highly appreciated. We could simultaneously offer the same idea to each other, and it was the best proof that the idea was worthy.
This made both parties happy not only with the resulting product, but also with the process, the way we created it. The client is currently gathering feedback from real users as a basis for further updates, and we'll be happy to resume our active participation in the evolution of this product.
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