From Go to Wow!

[A mobile ready website and App in just 3 months.]

The Brief.

After the success of their booklet Safe Around Me, SEWACS [South East Women and Children’s Services] were looking for an appealing new way for their clients to access support services and provide safety planning, one they could easily access 24/7. A smartphone App seemed like the perfect solution, always close by and also able to provide a location aware directory. As with many community organisations there was a fixed, tight budget for the project. Having already developed a great working relationship with 2pi Software during their migration to Cloud computing, SEWACS presented the concept to them.

The team at 2pi Software were tasked with creating a mobile ready multi platform App, with a location aware directory of services, that was appealing to users, and easy to navigate. All within a constrained budget and timeframe.

SEWACS takes control of content.

Having already written the Safe Around Me booklet SEWACS had ready access to the content required for the App, but the cost of translating that to mobile ready data would swallow most of the budget. The solution was a clever one. The staff at SEWACS were already familiar with the open source WordPress interface, so 2pi Software utilized that experience, and set up a theme with foundation classes that meant the HTML and CSS generated by WordPress, was mobile ready. By doing this they ring fenced the content costs, making big savings on the App’s development. The theme also emulated the mobile layout on a regular screen, helping SEWACS configure the content correctly.

As well as getting a mobile ready site that could translate easily into an App, SEWACS had also created a new fresh looking website for their clients.

2pi Software gets it to the small screen.

After a content cycle of 4-6 weeks the developers were ready to turn to the small screen. Keeping the budget requirements in mind, 2pi Software looked to other free open source tools once the SEWACS content was ready to go mobile.

Using Cordova allowed a smartphone App to be created with just HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework of jQuery libraries and it’s set of device APIs, Cordova gave 2pi Software access to native device functions and also provided a platform that was both iOS and Android compatible in one pass.

While using open source software helped with budget savings, it also has solid backup via a huge depth of readily available online knowledge, making problem solving and de-bugging a much easier, and less time consuming task.

Once the wrap step had been completed using Cordova, the created App was now ready for uploading. With a faster approval time, it first went into the Google Play store where 2pi Software could distribute and test the app within the company to ensure a stable product was released. After that it was submitted to the iTunes store where approval can sometimes take up to 4 weeks.

The result. On time, on budget.

The resulting App is now live on both iOS and Android stores and has been well received by the initial users. It’s simple layout allows quick access to emergency services, a map or list view of nearby service providers for women and children, as well as information on recognising domestic violence and planning for safety. A bookmark function allows users to store shortcuts to their favorite content inside the App.

The use of open source software and using collaborative content creation with SEWACS, helped 2pi Software bring the project in both on time and on budget.

“On budget and on time, a real pleasure to work with. They’re accessible, friendly, efficient and good value for money. What more can you want?”

Cheryl Nelson, Chief Executive, South East Women‘s and Children’s Services