Role:

Co-founder, Concept lead, Product Manager, UX lead

UX Design:

Wireframing, Wireflows, UX research, UI design

Platforms:

iPhone, iPad, Android, Desktop

Tools:

Laravel, Azure, XCode, Eclipse, Invision, Balsamiq, Lucid charts

Initial concept and vision

Conceived a ‘Drag and drop’ app and website creation solution targeted at the hospitality, events and also retailers and more. The solution was designed so commonly used features could be dynamically added from a CMS and an app and website built in real time including the ability to skin and customise it to brand standards.  

market TRENDS and user research

Apps began getting more prominence in 2010. However, the costs for developing bespoke native apps for smaller businesses remained prohibitively expensive. We user tested a prototype of the concept with small businesses to see their feedback.The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  App La Carte was launched as a result and rolled out for clients in the hospitality and retail sector. The solution soon acquired over 200 paying clients including large retail brands like Wendys.

The solution architecture

The challenge was to make the solution easy enough for anyone to build their apps with drag and drop ease yet be powerful enough to use as a business solution. At the heart of the solution was an online Content management system (CMS) that controlled everything across all platforms. Features could be added to the app and website, content updated and branding updated all through a single CMS in the cloud.

Marketing

Being a unique concept, communicating the value proposition was a challenge. We built a website that illustrated the value proposition with customer case studies that demonstrated the market fit. These studies illustrated how easy it was to build a powerful app without needing any coding. 

USER RESEARCH

I spoke to the target market as well as wider markets to understand their pain points and understand the target market before we decided we had a saleable market to add a feature or make a feature more specialised for use. This gave us a bigger target market and allowed us to target more verticals.  

Strategy

With time, well-backed competitors with similar models began popping around the globe. We had decided strategically it would be an apt time to get off bootstrapping and accelerate opportunities to scale by seeking funding. This would allow new features to be developed on the platform that would allow the platform to expand from only native app through to desktops and the addition of more powerful mCommerce and integrations with third-party API integrations with external platforms.

This led the company to be acquired by Spark and rebranded to Putti apps. Putti apps subsequently launched different products that began as an addition to the platform before being spun into it’s own product including Putti forms. A powerful DIY forms product with a range of different applications.

Product design methods and approaches

Designing for Putti apps gave me the freedom to try different approaches and tools with our design team including the use of Design sprints, Value proposition canvas and a greater degree of exploration of different UX methodologies. We began user testing of our existing platform and making reports of the result of the usability tests to compile as reports that were pitched in design meetings.  Ideas were tested in just one week before any development effort was put in. We went from problem definition to a fully testable solution at the end of a week. Some of the ideas that were tested were the creation of a small business mall in an effort to reduce the friction for small businesses that struggled with technology to be easily onboarded without the need for domain names where they could experiment with the platform prior to creating their own store.

The outcome

The solution was accelerated  through investor funding and was acquired by Spark and rebranded to Putti apps. During this time, clone solutions that did something similar started to pop around the globe with varying reseller opportunities that created a flood of poor quality apps on the app store. Apple decided to crack down on build it yourself solutions and the apps found it increasingly difficult to get past scrutiny of Apple reviewers. The solution was then pivoted towards serving as an an intranet for the building industry.