To give you an idea of the app development process, we’ve put together this ‘case study’ on ‘enVoi’, an app we recently developed for one of our customers. Sam (an Ophthalmologist) got in touch with us regarding his idea to revolutionise the cataract referral process. With a long waiting list of patients, and a clunky referral process – he was convinced there was a quicker and more efficient way to get his patients the surgery they needed by streamlining the process with a mobile app. Thus was born ‘enVoi’.
The first step of making a great app, is defining the requirements. In the early days we met with Sam a few times over video call, to get pen to paper and define the functional specifications of the system (how a product will work entirely from the user’s perspective).
Native Development Vs Flutter.
We are able to create native Android and iOS apps using the Kotlin and Swift languages respectively. Native apps have the advantage of a more robust architecture and the fullest support for the UX for each platform.
Flutter is Google’s cross platform language, allowing us to use one code base to generate the apps for both Android and iOS. This project is well suited for Flutter given that it uses mostly common UI constructs and no interaction with external hardware (other than server APIs). There is around a 20% cost saving by using Flutter compared to two native apps. We can recommend to you which solution we believe best suits your app, however the final decision it ultimately up to you.
This project required two apps, a ‘Pro’ version where a professional would be able to login and review and update a list of referrals, and invite Patients to complete a questionnaire. And a ‘Patient’ version, where a user would be able to sign in, complete the questionnaire, and view the status of their referral.
The design process flows out of the discovery stage. Once we know the requirements of the system, we can start to think about the UI/UX and how everything fits together visually.
We started by sketching out some wireframes – to visualise the flow and navigation, understanding what each screen does, and how one page connects to the next. Everything not caught in the production of the specification becomes obvious during this phase. Inconsistencies in navigation, missing sections of the app or counterintuitive flows are brought forth, discussed and refined.
We kept in regular contact with Sam throughout the design process, obtaining feedback on key features, and also allowing Sam early exposure of what the final product could look like. There’s nothing more exciting than an early glimpse of your idea coming to life. This helps to ensure the design is intuitive and functional before resources are spent on code development.
We designed our prototype using a ‘wireframing’ app called Figma. The allows us to generate screen designs together with navigation flows so you can see what the final app will look and feel like before we start coding. Check out the wireframes, for the ‘Patient’ version of the app below.
Development & Testing
The development phase moves the functions and features moulded during design into a real, live app. At Bearded Hen, we are committed to working with you through at all stages of the development process. Once development is under way we can provide you with regular updates in the form of interim runnable releases that you can install, play with and consequently gain confidence that we are delivering the app you want.
Testing is a vital stage of software development. In this stage we deliberately set out to try and break the app. Finding any faults, flaws or errors in the system before they become an issue.
For enVoi with it’s strict requirements for security and system availability we have developed a number of automated tests which are run prior to each app deployment. We can tailor testing requirements to your particular needs.
The entire development process leads up to the exciting moment of deploying your app. The process to get the app into users’ hands varies depending on the project. Apps geared for public distribution (vs an app designed for internal company use) will be deployed via the Apple App Store or Google Play, and we’ll be able to help you navigate those waters. This project required the delivery of two apps. A ‘Patient’ version which would be publicly available on the App Store and Google Play Store. The second app, for use by Surgeons and Optometrists, would only be available on Apple and Google’s business stores enabling us to strictly control who has access to this app.