Two months from a business problem to the Text to Speech app solution
It is not rare for startups to seek funding. But in order to get investment, they have to present their solution to investors. This was the main reason why a young American startup approached us to help them develop a comprehensive solution for the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing population. Since this startup isn’t familiar with software engineering, they were looking for a partner that could produce MVP of mobile and web applications in a short time.
They needed a partner to develop a solution, a Digital Accessibility Platform (DAP), that would improve social integration, simplify daily tasks and enable participation in cultural, religious, and political activities of the hard-of-hearing population.
This case study explores our approach to this project where in a short period of time we had to develop an MVP for a software solution from scratch, while the only input was a described business problem.
The client requested the development of a mobile application exclusively for end users on Android and Apple devices.
The client had a vision and knew what this specific software solution should be able to do, but nothing about how it would be developed; they needed an MVP of the application.
The second main requirement was time — they needed it fast. Within just two months they needed to have an application that could be installed and used i.e., presented to investors.
This mobile application had to be able to translate text to speech and vice versa in five of the most widely spoken world languages. In other words, they had an idea to develop a solution that will be used worldwide, which means that the application has to handle a lot of data and end users. We are talking about a few million users, which bring us to the point that software solution has to handle a lot of data and have a fast response. Of course, it had to be user-friendly and simple, while looking nice. In addition, each app end user had to be able to have their own set of phrases according to their individual needs.
Technologies and Methodologies
An agile methodology following the Scrum framework was employed throughout the project.
The mobile application was built from scratch. Since the client needed an MVP, the development team decided to start with Android development first. The idea was to build two separate mobile applications using native technologies. One of them was Kotlin, and the platform was Android Studio. During the development phase, team used predefined designs to build the user interface. The most important thing was the communication of mobile application and FIYU via API calls. Most of the data needed for the mobile application was served with FIYU API’s. The rest of the performance-critical data was stored on an internal database on the mobile unit.
FIYU, a PaaS solution that is scalable and modular comprehensive solution, along with ready Amazon Web Services infrastructure enabled very fast development. For this specific case, it provided an out-of-the-box solution for web application development. Pre-installed modules and an environment ready for further development enabled fast and high-quality development since the back-end part was developed in Java and based on the principles of reactive programming. Angular framework and Angular itself were used for the front-end development of web application. The design was customized according to the client requirements. Also, according to this project specifics, a new module was developed on FIYU intended for question administration — adding new questions, adding additional languages, etc.
Since the main input to our Project Manager was business problems, we approached this case study from the very beginning, starting with business analysis. Two weeks later we had a Project Scope Statement together with defined technologies and a dedicated development team.
Based on the defined deadline, we knew that with FIYU PaaS we could achieve it, so we leveraged it.
Simultaneously, we were developing an Android application for end users and a web application from where the data will be pulled and stored. A web application that will serve as a database to support the mobile application.
Based on use-case analysis, we implemented various question categories in the Android application. Besides that, we created a web application that handles user registration and an admin module for adding new questions and answers with real-time Android app synchronization. In addition, usage statistics tracking for detailed analyses was developed in web app.
The Scrum team counted six professionals assigned to this project, covering the entire business analyses and requirements analysis, together with consulting, mobile app developer, tester, Tech Lead for web application development, and front-end and back-end developer.
This project serves as a testament to the potential of technology to address pressing social issues and improve the lives of marginalized communities. By leveraging FIYU PaaS, we were able to rapidly develop mobile and web applications tailored to the client’s requirements. Our agile approach to development allowed us to adapt quickly and deliver a solution that met the client’s objectives. Utilizing technology to enhance the quality of life for such an important demographic was both challenging and rewarding.
“This is one of my favourite projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on during my career. What particularly motivated me was that it involved the use of technology in a project with a broader social purpose, giving us the opportunity to show ourselves how fast we can deliver the requested software solution.”, Edita Glas Vidović, Project Manager