All the way from problem finding to software development, you are a few paragraphs away from knowing everything about our project.

In my previous article “Why did I participate in a web development boot camp” I wrote about how I went to a web development bootcamp to develop my own tech product and how I was able to build a team to achieve this goal. We are determined to win the challenge of developing the best product for the Tortuga Coders competition!

What problems are we addressing ?

Beauty salons, medical practices, consultants, health and wellness centres, as well as lawyers, accountants, personal trainers, and photographers, all offer services that are sold by allocating time slots. They waste time scheduling appointments with their clients over the phone and lose money when clients don’t show up. They are also unable to communicate directly with potential customers who visit their website.

Being a service provider myself, I tried to integrate a solution into my website that would allow me to automate the appointment process, accept online payments and if necessary communicate directly with my audience / customers. After testing several solutions (SaaS, widgets or WordPress plugins) the results were obvious: they did not fully meet my needs. That’s when I decided to develop my own solution and thus the #Platboo project was born.

So what exactly is our product?

We are developing a software as a service (SaaS). It’s an easy to integrate widget that service providers can add to their website or CMS (Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, etc) allowing customers to:

  • view availability and schedule appointments;
  • pay their bill online;
  • chat live with the merchant.

While giving the service provider a full schedule management system where they can keep track of bookings and all their customers. Implementing the widget is as easy as copying a line of code and pasting in on their website.

The advantages for the seller

  • Appointments are paid in advance and therefore avoiding last-minute cancellations
  • Managing the schedule in a simplified way
  • Staying connected to the business, anywhere, anytime
  • Optimised time management
  • Consolidating the brand image and offering an excellent customer experience
  • Obtaining accurate statistics about their clientele
  • Receiving feedback from customers
  • Adapting to changing consumption patterns
  • Being proactive with potential customers
  • Having extra time to complete other tasks

The advantages for customers

Enjoying an excellent user experience

  • 24/7 online booking, no need to call during business hours
  • Easily paying for services online and maintaining control over reservations

The initial version of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is intended for self-employed people who work alone or for small companies that have offer one service at a time at a given time of the day. Later, we’ll integrate the ability to manage several employees and simultaneous services.

Gael Spieler & Krisztina Baranyai

Prepwork

The project was divided into 4 one-week sprints. But before starting, it was necessary to adjust the vision and business plan. Then, once we knew clearly in which direction we were going, we created models and documented each interaction with users through flow charts. Following to the Scrum project management method, we created our Personas, wrote the User Stories and acceptance criteria, then Krisztina Baranyai as Scrum Master, assisted by Susanna Pezzini, was in charge of determining the backlogs and tasks.

3, 2, 1, Go!

The 1st sprint: “front end”. This is where we developed the user interface, both from the point of view of the service provider and the user. For this, we used HTML and CSS (Sass).

The 2nd sprint: “back end”. This is the step during which we implemented a server that allows us to ensure the security of the app and its overall logic with Node.js and MongoDB, by first writing the Unit Tests. Meanwhile, we had to set up the algorithms (bits of logic on the server) that allow us to determine what the screen should display to the user, using Javascript.

The 3rd sprint: “front-end framework”. To run the user interface, we used 2 frameworks: React for the widget itself and Angular 7 for the admin panel. First we took care of the interface: for example, what happens when the “services” button is clicked. Then we connected the interface to the REST API we built on the server and displayed real data coming from MongoDB.

The 4th sprint: “App testing and launch”. This is when the software enters the final phase of its development cycle, undoubtedly the most exciting part of our journey. In short, everything should work, but not everything does! During this phase, we thoroughly tested all the program’s features. When all the test criteria have been met, the product is sent to a selected group of merchants and customers to gain user feedback. Once all bugs are fixed, we are ready to present our product to the jury!

via GIPHY

The challenge is almost complete!

As time runs out, we only have a few more days to hand over our MVP and win this competition. Apart from the technical and functional aspect of the product, the “likes” accumulated on posts are very important! Support our projects by clicking on the like button below. We’d also really appreciate it if you could have a look at our other articles that can be found here! Thank you o)

Next time, I’ll tell you all about our results for this competition and present a complete demo of our product. Stay tuned!

(Originally posted on Medium.com - 310 claps)