This article shows how a marketing technology (MarTech) company UZE Mobility gained benefits from cooperation with Inspeerity – Agile Software Factory from Poland.
What do you need to know about UZE Mobility?
UZE Mobility is a marketing technology startup founded in 2018 by Dr Alexander N. Jablovski and Sebastian Thelen. They have created an AI-controlled marketplace for mobile digital outdoor advertising supported by geo-targeting, various IOT sensors and micro-targeting.
The company provides value for both those who seek advertising opportunities, and car owners, fleet managers, and public transport companies that earn money by selling geo-targeting data to advertisers in real-time.
The AI behind the application analyses all this data as well as information about traffic or weather, so that UZE’s customers get the most out of their advertisements. It all could work well in a longer period only with access to measures and campaign results analyses. UZE gives you all that.
One of the main challenges for the company was to make this super-complex system easy to use for clients, who are marketers and creative agencies, not programmers. This is why they called Inspeerity for support.
UZE has operated mainly on the German market but the company is now expanding and sourcing investors. In their 1st round, UZE raised €7.2M in funding.
What were the pain-points?
Once we joined the UZE Team, they already had been working on PoC (proof of concept). However, they knew that the interface wasn’t very attractive and badly affected users‘ experience. They also understood how important UI and front-end of their application are for market success. Both clients and investors judge the first impression based on UI and UX.
UZE bought an out-of-the-box theme for their UI, however it appeared not to be good enough. A decision was made to upgrade the front-end layer and UI and use it to convince customers to use the app, and investors to bring assets.
According to UZE’s experience with freelancers, they couldn’t schedule any long-term plans with independent developers. Company then decided to hire a dedicated team from Inspeerity, making use of a nearshoring model.
What are the benefits from this project?
We took the theme and replaced it with a dedicated design built from scratch. It let us implement virtually any kind of change and perfectly adjust the UI to the needs of UZE and their customers.
UZE gathered feedback and data from users and transformed them into guidelines for our team. However, it was on us to translate these guidelines into technological solutions and make them look as good as possible.
Besides the redesigning the UI to reflect the latest trends, colour schemas and high expectations of creative end-users, we also focused on the UX. We redesigned the main dashboard which is the first thing a user sees after logging into the system. It allowed the user to see all campaigns in one place, see their progress and results on easy to understand charts. We focused on making the screens simpler and very intuitive while preserving all possibilities of this complex solution. Earlier, all screens were overflown with many parameters, data that is not necessary for everyone, and thousands of various devices available. We built a new wizard that takes the end-user on a step-by-step journey through the booking process.
We also focused on assuring high performance and smooth flow even when the number of users and advertising devices grew – which was one of the most important requirements. The new interface works smoothly and animations never get stuck. Clear, intuitive UI looks nice with modern look, readable charts, and much better accessibility.
Last but not least – we rebuilt the PoC in such a way that it is easy to maintain and can be quickly extended by new features – which I would say is the most important thing for startups.
Seasoned investors appreciated this new UI which was partly responsible for €7.2M in funding.
What were the challenges?
UZE Mobility is a startup company, hence there are a lot of things and changes going on. For that, we needed to be agile and always ready to incorporate new ideas and solutions.
Yet another challenge was to ensure our developers and everybody on our side understand how UZE’s business works. Their business model is an innovative mix of traditional outdoor advertising and a modern online marketplace. We needed to thoroughly understand all the principles so that we could create technological solutions that correspond to the real way customers use the application. It was crucial to understand the users perspective as well.
Although there was so much know-how to discover, we also aimed to give UZE as much value as possible as soon as we could. To tackle this issue our designer prepared a few versions of each feature for UZE to accept. This approach leads us to quicker decision-making and better overall efficiency.
Application features were challenging too. There were many questions to answer regarding technical solutions. For example, if a user wants to display their advertisement 500 times, chooses particular locations, and then receives all ad formats available, they should be also able to decide how to divide 500 displays among all available screens. Some places will be better and more desired than others, and flexible choice is crucial from the user’s point of view.
Furthermore, how to make sure users can choose precisely where and when their advertisement should be displayed (including single streets or parts of them)?
Yet another challenge is effective communication with users. As their orders are processed, conditions may change (e.g. 1 out of 10 ordered devices is unavailable). In such situations, proper and instant communication is the key.
Schedule and deadline always are challenges in software development. In this project, time had an even greater impact. Unless we delivered on time, UZE couldn’t show their upgraded product to the investors.
How we did it?
UZE received a dedicated team of frontend engineers working full-time on their project under the close supervision of the Delivery Director from our side. We were responsible for the final effect both in terms of UI/UX design and technology. Part of our goal was to keep the client cool despite the upcoming deadline and investors meeting.
Working with backend developers on the client-side was incredibly fruitful. Often, together we would work out better solutions, than working without such cooperation. As a result, we changed features and flow in such a way that it is now easy to understand for almost anyone, regardless of their technical background.
To make sure all the deliverables meet the highest standards, we drew from our experience in agile software development. Our process was divided into two-weeks periods. Every two weeks we would evaluate and define our priorities. Then we would meet on daily stand-ups to make sure we’re on the same page and know what to do.
Technologies used in the project
UZE had a working application and we didn’t want to revolutionize their tech stack, especially soon before their meeting with investors. The most important technologies that we used are:
In the front-end layer:
- Angular 11,
- Angular Material
In the back-end layer:
As you can see, for this project we used only proven and tested technologies. Thanks to that we’re sure that everything will work correctly and will be easy to maintain.
Due to COVID-19 and safety procedures, we needed to limit physical meetings and replace them with remote equivalents. We’re glad that we managed to run effective remote meetings, which was a big contribution to the overall success.
Thanks to the commitment of our team and state of the art process we managed to deliver the product within 60% of the planned budget. Moreover, all the works covering UI design, business flow, and development of the first (and the most important) refreshed release took us only 1,5 month, leading to a successful sourcing presentation.
But wait, there’s more
It occurred that UZE needed new software to manage devices (screens) it uses to display ads and have remote control over the process. To make it possible the device has plenty of sensors to adjust the advertisement and the way it is displayed to current conditions.
- Localization is delivered via the GPS, but in case of lost signal, a mobile network is used. If that doesn’t work, we use the IP address of the device, and if even that fails, which is rare, the last localization is used (up to 4 hours back). Apart from other uses, this feature can be used to switch off the device outside of the city – a German requirement.
- Light sensors enable brightness adjustments according to the time of the day.
- The position sensor tells whether the monitor is in a vertical or horizontal position.
- Voltage sensor – mainly for safety reasons
- Network access monitoring – the main bottleneck; without Internet access, we cannot control the device. It’s crucial because with the remote control we can update displayed ads without physical access to the device.
All the data from sensors is gathered and sent to the web container and then to the backend layer. There all the information is analysed according to the business logic. Finally, the system decides what ad and in what configuration should be displayed.
We aimed to work out a solution that would be simple and reliable and less prone to malfunction. This is why we used mainly Java and Java FX. Verified technology that doesn’t cause problems.
To make it even more malfunction-proof UZE decided to use a simplified Linux image adjusted specially for UZE’s devices. Devoid of unnecessary functions, it’s light and more reliable.
The whole system has already been tested on the streets of Hamburg, Germany. Soon it will be available for all UZE’s customers.
Until now we’ve mainly focused on the customer side of the application. The future will bring changes and improvements in the administration panel.
Our plans include:
- supporting stationary advertisements
- campaign calendar redesign
- administration panel to work with third-party partners
- new sign-up and log-in options
- redesign the media choice flow that involves client and administrator
The UZE Mobility system is growing and we’ll add more functionalities, improve the flow, and bring users even more value. This journey doesn’t end here.
Stay tuned for more information about UZE Mobility and Inspeerity. And if you want to learn more about how Inspeerity can improve your business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re eager to provide you with a completely free Project consultation.