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Case Study

RVA311

We partnered with AvePoint Public Sector to relaunch the City of Richmond's city services mobile app.

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Overview & Process

AvePoint had previously developed a custom backend system and web portal that enables municipalities to manage city services for its citizens. The mobile app was out of date and needed to be modernized. We worked with AvePoint as they managed the redesign and rebuilding of the public and internal web portals. We followed the style guide and branding created for the citizen portal to completely redesign and redevelop the mobile application. After an initial round of designs, we leveraged usability testing sessions to refine the UX and make sure users were able to complete the tasks available in the application. We built the app in React Native, and incorporated features including account creation, push notifications, geolocation, and third party login.
Our Challenges

Partnership for Success

This mobile app was designed and built within the constraints of AvePoint's existing API framework and web portal to provide a cohesive and comprehensive solution for the client.

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Precision Mapping

Precise location is essential for this app to work properly. We integrated with the city's Geographic Information System and Google Maps to provide an optimal user experience.

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Follow the Leader

We studied the existing API documentation to make sure we were able to achieve the client's needs, then worked with AvePoint to make changes and improvements where necessary.

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Fully Loaded

The app required several adjustments during agile development to accommodate the high volume of requests that load on a zoomed out map view.

Our Solutions

Putting Citizens' Needs First

There were four real stakeholders in this project, and three of us working together toward the shared goal of launching a great product that serves the citizens of Richmond, Virginia.

Stakeholder: City of Richmond

The City's needs were a major focal point for the project. RVA needed to provide an easy-to use service for its citizens while balancing its own internal requirements. Duplicate service requests were a problem we needed to help solve. Upvoting was one way we proposed to address duplicate requests, as well as both map and list views of nearby existing requests. We worked with AvePoint during the agile development phase to find the best presentation of similar requests nearby, and to encourage citizens to use the app in ways that would streamline responses from city workers. The city's GIS integration was necessary because requests could only be made within the city limits and needed to correspond with street addresses the city workers could find, even if the user's pinned location was somewhere like a park.

Stakeholder: ClearSummit

While we worked to accommodate the needs of the other stakeholders, we also needed AvePoint to accommodate our needs. There were components set up in the legacy system, such as HTML formatting in alerts, that were not compatible with the mobile app's requirements. We also needed to make sure that the mobile app could handle rendering the iconography returned from the backend, and had to work to adjust the designs so that the mobile performance could be optimized.

Stakeholder: RVA Citizens

Of course, we also had to keep in mind the needs of the end users of the mobile app. We set up usability testing to get direct feedback from users, and made sure our QA process included testing in real-world scenarios, including areas of the city with reduced cell coverage and places that required the city GIS to match user location with proper addresses. Users need to be able to easily find the service types they are looking for, and complete the request submission process in as few steps as possible without sacrificing informational completeness. The city wanted to encourage account creation, but allow users to also submit anonymously so that they felt comfortable making requests their neighbors might see.

Stakeholder: AvePoint Public Sector

AvePoint spent years developing a city services portal system to address common needs of municipalities. The city admin side of the system needed to allow admins to create a multitude of request types, with different custom configurations, conditional fields, references to relevant FAQs, and internal reporting requirements. They needed to make sure the mobile and web apps would accommodate their backend system's architecture, and that the changes made in the backend wouldn't break the dual front ends. We were in constant communication with each other to make sure we worked in lockstep towards our shared goals.

The Launch

Coordinated PR and Marketing

The city coordinated a PR and marketing plan to raise awareness about the new system. Mayor Stoney recorded a walkthrough to demo the features. Immediately after launch, we worked together to plan a roadmap for improvements.

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