Case study of MyTradie - an iOS/Android app developed by Electric Flamingo, a leading Auckland based mobile app development company behind some of the most successful iPhone, iPad & Android Apps in New Zealand.

Connecting Tradies and Customers

One of the advantages of being in a digital age is the infinite availability of applications which enable you to achieve almost anything. Every process that was traditionally offline or was powered by desktop/web apps is moving towards mobile.

Tania and Chad has approached us in late December 2018 with their vision of new mobile app to connect Tradies in New Zealand (and eventually, worldwide) with customers. They work in Trade for more than X years, and saw the need for a new app on the market, as the existing solutions wasn't covering their needs.
A quote from client regarding the start of the project, few lines of text to fill this placeholder but not too many, just two or three lines long enough to fit into this box.
The core idea of new app was to focus on availability of Tradies (as market in NZ is still booming with construction and handyman work), make the app as easy to use as possible and let tradies-managers schedule their jobs and their employees calendars through the app.

Approaching the design of the app, together with client we decided to stick to native iOS and Android look, and to develop two separate designs for two platforms - that increased the design time, but in tradeoff, would cut development time and our users will be familiar with the interface from the start - as many Tradies are not very tech-savy.
Early prototypes for iOS and Android, variations of logo and the final logo
In Electric Flamingo we do follow Human-Centered Design principles in development pipeline process. We believe that we can create more meaningful and successful products by using this methodology.

Here are some benefits of this approach:

  • User Experience design cuts down development costs
  • Every interface we create is based on a series of decisions
  • Research let us move quickly and confidently in a product direction that is proven
  • We are building experiences for people who are not like us, we can never assume we understand what they need without engaging them
  • If a product isn't usable, it creates obstacles for users trying to complete their goals
  • "A good user experience doesn't guarantee success, but a bad one nearly always leads quickly to failure."

Our development process
First stage of starting any project in Electric Flamingo is a competitive analysis from the User Experience point of view. We build a Competitive Analysis Matrix by analysing the features of each app, market positioning, subscriptions/charging model. We look in-depth to AppStore/Play Store reviews for user feedback to learn about pain points and frustrations that we should avoid in our design.

Through that process we came across a lot of pain points for existing customer-tradie solutions, most of which was related to the complexity of use and frustration with feedback management by the platforms.

Client had a clear vision what kind of product they wanted to develop, and it was a great case study for us - to mix extensive expertise of Electric Flamingo in creating mobile apps and client experience in Trade to build a potentially future market leader app.
Following Apple Human Interface Guidelines and Android Material Design we have developed two different versions of the app for iOS and Android platforms
One of the main difference points between MyTradie and other apps on the market is that client wanted to keep as much communication between customer and Tradie away from digital platforms, as most Tradies prefer to make calls instead of filling forms and chatting with clients inside the app (however, messaging feature is available in MyTradie). Customers on other platforms were frustrated with low reply rates and Tradies were spending too much time on online communication trying to land actual jobs. Making sure customer can easily call a Tradie will remove this pain points, so we focused on making this process as smooth and easy as possible.

Customers use the MyTradie app as a database of tradies with their contact details, availability and rating/reviews, all the details about upcoming job can be sorted on the phone, saving time for both. In case of landing the job, both parties can rate and leave a review for each other.

Using native UI components for iOS and Android platforms helped us to speed up the development speed and kept the app familiar to users.

We try to build prototypes early, so after few weeks of start of development we were able to showcase client a fully functional prototype of the app. In our experiences, the earlier we have a functioning MVP (minimum viable product) or prototype - the better feedback we can get from client or user testing.
Before the design is implemented, we can user test the prototype, making sure the navigation, main features and the concept of the app are clear for the participants. Prototypes are also used by developers, cutting development time as they can be used to illustrate functionality in a way that screen specifications cannot. For example, if developers need to understand how a specific widget or control is intended to work, they can use the prototype to answer functionality questions.
The end is only the beginning

MyTradie is a great product with a grand mission to connect Tradies with Customers. To achieve this, we have tried to make user journey as smooth and familiar as possible, and minimise amount of actions required to connect them. It's packed with powerful planning tools for Tradies to plan their work and assign tasks to their employees or subcontractors, so they can use MyTradie not only as a constant stream of new customers, but as a daily task management tool.

This app has lot of potential, the design is already clean and easy to use and customers can easily browse Tradies looking for the one that is available when they need it, has good reviews and can do the job well.