"Code Hangar has been fantastic to work with from design to development. They are organized, knowledgeable and great at communicating. On top of that, Code Hangar’s work output is top notch."
-David Nicol, Founder and CEO of Career Fair Plus
When it comes to developing the best mobile applications, it's vital that they work across any device, browser, or form-factor. User needs are changing, and native iOS and Android apps aren’t always enough.
That’s why when we were approached by Career Fair Plus to develop their native mobile apps into a fully-optimized, responsive web app, we were ready. Here at Code Hangar, we specialize in creating web-enabled apps to help our clients succeed. On one hand that means cutting-edge technical skills and experience, on the other, it means developing close, collaborative partnerships with our clients.
We developed this case study to show how we work with organizations like yours to open up the development process, involve you every step of the way, and make sure you get a finished app that will delight you and your users.
We’re here to take the mystery out of application development. We know finding the right agency to work with can be tough — it’s why we pride ourselves on putting you and your needs first, then developing an awesome application to help you meet them.
Read on to see how we worked with Career Fair Plus, and how we could work with you.
The Client — Career Fair Plus
Career Fair Plus is a mobile app designed to connect University students with businesses interested in hiring them. It does this by allowing students to research companies, navigate job fairs, and get event alerts from their mobile device.
The app is successful with over 700,000 students signed up, 700 career fairs listed, and over 17,000,000 search queries to companies. The app is used by students from prestigious universities worldwide including Stanford, Tufts, NYU, the University of Oxford, and universities from across the US and around the world.
Their business model relies on providing exposure for the employers listed in the app, so that part of the experience needed to be seamless and friction-free.
The Challenge — Transforming a Native Smartphone App into a Fully Responsive Web App
Career Fair Plus decided to develop a responsive web version of their native smartphone apps for several reasons:
Greater reach — Career Fair Plus wanted to reach more students through increasing their “device footprint” — the easiest way to do that was to develop their native mobile apps into a fully responsive web app.
Speed to market — deployment for responsive web apps is instantaneous. New functionality and features can be added immediately and the app doesn’t have to go through a lengthy approval process each time it's updated on the Apple or Google Play app stores.
Scalability — adding capacity and features to responsive web apps is fast and easy.
Responsiveness — responsive web apps work across all devices, formats, screen sizes, and form factors; they do not need to be specially configured for individual devices.
User experience — redevelopment into a web app allowed us to offer students an expanded desktop experience they were previously missing in the native iOS and Android apps.
The Requirements — Enhancing the Form, Functionality, and Features of the App
Career Fair Plus expected an optimized, easy-to-use app that delighted end users. That included:
Beautiful design — the web-optimized app needed to look perfect across every device.
Effortless navigation — the app should be intuitive and easy to use.
Built for speed — getting information into and out of the app should be friction-free.
Easy to maintain — further development, support, and maintenance should be effortless.
The Relationship — Working Together with Career Fair Plus
Naturally, when a business trusts us to develop their web application, it’s vital to nurture that relationship and ensure they get exactly what they need. We did that in several ways:
Using a collaborative development process — we worked closely alongside the team at Career Fair Plus and gave them complete insight into our transparent development process.
Proactively communicating — communication is at the heart of trust. That's why we actively communicated throughout the process so Career Fair Plus knew exactly what was going on.
Expert project management — developing an application is a complex task — concept, requirements gathering, development, client approval, testing, and deployment. Our expert project managers worked hand-in-hand with Career Fair Plus to deliver to their exact needs.
Integration with their team, business, and infrastructure — working with us is like working with a trusted internal development team. That means complete integration with business processes, team members, stakeholders, and existing infrastructure.
The Development Process — Building, Testing, and Deploying the Career Fair Plus App
Here’s how we worked together with Career Fair Plus to deliver the perfect responsive web app.
In 2015, Career Fair Plus decided to expand their reach by redeveloping their successful iOS and Android app into a new, fully-responsive web app. They hired us to replicate and enhance their existing user experience and tailor it for the web.
The first step in our process was to work with the Career Fair Plus team to prioritize which features from their native mobile apps were critical for launch and which could be developed post-launch.
Planning the Application and Product Roadmap
We worked closely with their leadership team to create a complete product development plan and charted a roadmap of essential features. We put together a concept for a “minimum viable product” (MVP) so their team and stakeholders had something tangible to look at. We wanted to optimize speed-to-market and get them access to a working beta as quickly as possible.
After agreeing the core set of features and requirements for the MVP, we put together a roadmap of Features, testing, and initial release target dates.
We worked very closely with their development lead using an “Agile” project management method. That allowed us to deliver a bare-bones application and then iteratively build on it based on their feedback. At every stage we knew our deliveries were aligned with their requirements. This gives us the flexibility to integrate new requests and respond to changes in the priorities of Career Fairs Plus.
During planning meetings we collectively reviewed and modified the roadmap and adjusted to changing priorities. This allowed us to incorporate feedback gathered from the internal team of Career Fair Plus and selected external customers. It also lets us ensure we consistently complete each milestone on time.
User Experience and User Interface Design
Whether users are interacting with a web application through their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop monitor, the user experience (UX) is key. The user interface (UI) has to look and feel “right” and flow flawlessly from screen to screen.
In our initial design phase, we focused primarily on the desktop experience to optimize the app for the extra screen space that laptop and desktop screens provide. We used Google's Material Design Principles to build an app layout that organizes everything into one cohesive, robust, intuitive user experience.
Employer List, Details, and Filters — Desktop View
This is the heart of the application and shows the benefits of having a full desktop view. It allows students to select their filtering options, watch the employer list filter down in real-time, and view the details for a specific employer without having to perform any navigation to separate screens.
Responsive Web Development
Desktop interfaces don’t work well on tablets and smartphones — there’s just not enough screen real estate. Rather than try to break down and replicate the desktop interface, we completely redesigned the UI to optimize it for mobile. This means we feature each panel in its own separate mobile view, which is a much better UX. We achieved this by using a development framework to dynamically change page styles, functionality, navigation, and user flows depending upon the screen size.
Employer List, Details, and Filters — Mobile View
Choosing the Right Development Framework
There are several good options when it comes to front-end web development framework. Among our considerations for the best choice was a framework that Career Fair Plus already had experience with that would also let us convert the existing native mobile application into a responsive web app. The framework should also support Material Design, for a better UX.
We shared information comparing three popular frameworks with Career Fair Plus. Our proposal covered various areas including: overall popularity, render speed, associated tooling, server-side rendering, Material Design integration, and native mobile compatibility. Ultimately, the “React” framework was chosen.
Quality Assurance, Browser, and Device Optimization
Although development is the most essential part of delivering a great application, quality assurance (QA), user testing, and device optimization are vital. Towards the end of the build process we focused strongly on QA, testing, and browser / device bug fixes. We carried out rigorous and thorough testing including unique use cases, automated testing, unit testing, integrations, and more.
Delivery and Deployment
The most critical part of any development process is deployment. We worked closely with Career Fair Plus to deliver the app seamlessly, resulting in a smooth transition for all users — students, employers, and people promoting job fairs.
Ongoing Development, Maintenance, and Support
One principle we use is to always produce beautiful, optimized code. We always write the best, most readable code we can. This makes ongoing maintenance, development, and support much easier. Our developers and coders from other organizations can easily figure out what the code does to make further enhancements fast and easy.
Working with the Career Fair Plus team was a delight and we are honored to have earned their trust and friendship.
We know that hiring an application development team can be daunting. That’s why we always focus on understanding our clients first, and developing awesome applications second. We believe that through close collaboration with you, we can learn about your business and needs and deliver amazing, beautiful applications that will delight your users and help your business thrive.
Ready to delight your users with an amazing web application?
Book a free 1 hour consultation with us and see what we can build for you.Talk to us
About Author: Cassandra Wilcox