Apps for Good - How Netguru Helped Increase the Educational Impact of a Registered Charity

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Bartek Ciszewski

May 19, 2017 • 4 min read

Apps for Good (AfG) is a registered charity that partners with educators to deliver its app development course to young people between 8 and 18 years of age.

Netguru is responsible for developing a platform that allows cooperation between teachers, students, and experts to facilitate technology teaching.

The idea is spot on because schoolchildren are natural consumers of tech products and empowering them to create their own software is the right thing to do.

Since 2010, the Apps for Good course has been delivered to more than 75,000 students in over 1,500 schools across the UK. Students learn idea generation, problem solving, team work, market research, business planning, and programming.

Apps for Good courses are available to teachers online through a dedicated elearning platform. Having started their expansion to other countries (the US, Spain, Portugal, and Poland), the organization’s leadership decided to revamp Apps for Good’s core software. This is where Netguru stepped in.

There's Only One Way for a True "User First" Approach

The project was quite challenging, because the AfG platform was complex, and it had operated on a large scale since 2012. On top of that, it had been developed and maintained by several different teams. Netguru is by no means new to this sort of situation. We were able to provide a full stack dev team, which made things much simpler, as the designers, frontend devs and backend devs belonged to one team.

AfG strived to create an exceptional interface and a UX appealing to different groups of users (teachers, students, and the expert community). We knew we needed to apply a "user first" approach. This can be achieved only if each member of the team fully understands not only the specifications, but also the overall idea behind the product.

Fortunately, around six months into the project, AfG began organizing events in Poland. Our engineers came up with an idea that they should join one of those events. They attended an event in Gdańsk to see how students learn to code, in an attempt at understanding the platform and its users better. "That's a level of involvement I haven't seen before", Ruairí Doyle told us, Head of Product at Apps for Good, who has had over ten years of experience with software development projects in different companies, including Google.

Repeating Efficient Procedures

We started the project in December 2015. It was a continuous development process that could be divided into three stages. Each one involved a core platform module: one for students, one for educators and one for the expert community. Each stage consisted of overlapping phases: design, build and release.

We implemented a full-transparency and open-door policy. Apps for Good managers had full access to the project and the code. Each member of the Netguru team was available to answer questions on Slack.

The updated version of the platform’s first module dedicated to educators was released on time and within budget in mid-August 2016. The upgrade was substantial. The Apps for Good team are able to monitor all activities on the platform and use new metrics to measure the impact of their programmes.

At the moment, the module for students has already gone live, and we are finishing the expert module. After improving the original educator module, Apps for Good and Netguru have collaborated to upgrade the user’s journey and functionality for other key user groups, including students and experts. What's crucial to us is the client's satisfaction.

"The design phase was excellent. From the start, we applied user centered thinking. Netguru’s designers understood our user needs perfectly and their developers were passionate, skilled and conscientious about the work and project goals. Total partner engagement!", said Ruairi.

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Bartek Ciszewski

Business Developer at Netguru. Writes about the practical application of our exceptional software....

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