Case study: Viewbid.ca

The Problem

Viewbid, an online auction house based in Nova Scotia.

Our client needed a mobile app for their existing online auction platform to better serve the needs of their customers and put the platform in their hands. We were tasked with building this experience for their users.

We had a number of challenges to overcome. One was that the existing auction solution did not have a useful REST API that we could use, which meant that we had to add APIs to the existing auction platform code in an easily maintainable way. This was code that was largely out of our control, that we could only add to, and not modify.

The existing solution also had some fairly severe performance challenges that added considerably to the client’s workload when setting up and running auctions. We needed to ensure that the addition of a mobile client to the system wouldn’t make things worse. We decided to implement a “shim server” that could sit between the existing back end and our mobile app, and do as much of the heavy lifting as it could to minimize the load. This included ensuring that real time listing updates worked well, along with adding new features such as mobile push notifications.

The Solution

From the outset, it was vital for the app to match the functionality of the current web platform and provide an improved experience on mobile devices that still felt familiar and recognizable to existing users. 

We implemented a Node.js server running on Google Cloud to interface with the existing Azure back end. This enabled us to build a robust system that could handle the requirements of the mobile app, while minimizing and even reducing the load on the existing system.

The mobile app that we built features a clean, modern UI using the Flutter SDK. We focused on creating a polished user experience that achieves functional parity with the existing website, but also enhances usability by observing modern UX best practices. We did this by first wire-framing the ui to ensure that we’d catered for all of the required information while breaking the bidding process down to its bare bones. 

Once we were happy that all the business requirements were catered for, we built a high-fidelity prototype that encompassed all the required information and features, and we began to work on the experience of the product. How did it feel to place a bid? How can we make it better? 

Through an iterative process of constant enhancement, testing and validation we arrived at the desired result.

The Result

The result is an app which features a slick user flow that is comfortable and intuitive. It incorporates a visual language that is familiar to users of the website but provides a superior experience on a mobile device.

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