If the solution involves complexity – we strive for simplicity

Simplicity will drive a higher rate of user adoption and use of features. Our primary goal at GSPD is to keep things simple for users. An example of how we put this principle into action involves a project we did for Saratov24 TV channel.

In 6 weeks we developed a web-based content management system (CMS) including mobile applications for both iOS and Android. The mobile apps let you watch programs and shows on-demand. They also keep the user informed with the latest news, and the ability to share comments directly with Saratov24. Plus, users get sneak peeks of upcoming programming through push notifications. CMS is the command point that manages the content delivered to a mobile audience exceeding one million users.

In this article, I would like to speak about the importance of thinking holistically and beyond the walls of specifications and requirements, communicated through customers.

Originally, the requirement was articulated by the product owner in the following way -

"... we need a mobile app to reach out our audience on their smartphones. We need news, programs, push notifications and feedback in place. Also, we need "About Channel" screen with our contacts ..." Many development agencies would just do it straight - design and code the mobile apps, then develop the CMS in the usual way making it complicated and hard to learn. For this project, full-fledged CMS would have an adverse impact on the customer’s budget. Typically, resources would get allocated, and everything would work, but the result would cause the CMS system to consume additional man-days every week.

Our challenge involved finding the best alignment with the customer’s current processes. We wanted to minimize any additional work required by Saratov24 content managers. In fact, our goal was to make their job much easier and to simplify tasks. To achieve this, we worked closely with the customer in their office and analyzed how they deliver content through all the tiers of their business. We rapidly developed and shared visual prototypes of the mobile apps and web CMS while simulating the content management process.

Early stage engagement helped the customer clarify their vision, and to verify what the customer wanted. Another critical process we use is the discussion of what is “Yes" and what is "No". We place a high value on the word “No” because it produces a vivid reaction and reveals valuable feedback. It is important to find requirements that may be hiding or overlooked until a software build is released.

The information gathered during these sessions helped us architect a solution that organically fits the media publishing culture and business processes at Saratov24 TV. We did not build “just another redundant system”, but instead, our product naturally compliments the existing infrastructure and process. We assisted the customer to publish the apps to the App Store and Google Play, plus we trained content managers so they could immediately utilize all key benefits of the solution.

After one hour of training, the lead content manager at Saratov24 TV stated -

“Even a kid will be able to use this system.”

Read more about this case study on our website.